June 30-September 2: Maverick Concerts in Woodstock is the oldest continuous summer chamber music festival in America. Lest that sound too staid and venerable, Hervey White’s Maverick colony, of course, was an incubator of progressive thought in society and in all the arts. Maverick Concerts is White’s legacy, and the current curators honor that with an inclusive approach to programming and repertoire that is anything but pandering.
Saturday, June 16: The story concerns the rekindling-under-duress of a friendship between Julie and her gay ex-husband from long ago. Sardonic, wry and ceaselessly funny as it may be, My Ex-Life genuinely surprises as it progresses, accumulating tenderness, warmth and complexity.
Sunday, June 24: When John Bonham dropped that crazy foot of his 12 seconds into “Good Times, Bad Times” on Led Zeppelin’s 1969 self-titled debut, rock drumming changed instantly and forever. John’s son Jason Bonham can hardly be accused of cashing in on his father’s thing. But he hasn’t shied away from the family brand, either. He has recorded with Page and played with Zeppelin at several of their more significant one-offs over the years.
Saturday, June 9: As to the title Heddagabalus, I get the Ibsen reference, but I don’t even want to know what “gabalus” is; probably something to do with brain anatomy or a Roman general.
Friday-Sunday, June 15-17: Jack Johnson, Alt-J, Sturgill Simpson, George Clinton, Kurt Vile, the Decemberists and dozens more bands take to the hills. Compared to the urban polyglot favored on Roosevelt Island, the slopes of Hunter are a place where guitars still play.
Saturday-Sunday, June 16-17: More than any other established music festival, the Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival is directly associated with activism and the environmental movement via the imprimatur of its founder, Pete Seeger. This year’s performers include Jeff Tweedy, Rhiannon Giddens, Ani DiFranco, The Mavericks, Beth Orton and They Might Be Giants.
Thursday, June 14: Jazzstock, our region’s tireless collective of professional jazz players, promoters and preservers working now out of the Senate Garage, has made big-name jazz bookings routine. But even by their high standards, this is a huge get: Multiple-Grammy-winner Cassandra Wilson will perform with the Lonnie Plaxico group.
Younger players are, famously, all about renegotiating roles and identities, redistributing power arrangements and smashing the guitariarchy.
Saturday-Monday, May 26-28: The ukulele – once the pop-culture musical quarry of Don Ho and Tiny Tim, pretty much exclusively – has enjoyed a run of popularity in recent years that has reached the status of a genuine renaissance.
Saturday, May 19: New Folk trailblazers, massive hitmakers and ardent social activists, the Indigo Girls are synonymous with the lighter side of ’90s music – which is to say pretty darn dark themselves, but leavened with a fine sense of close harmony and with songs that sport at least glimmers of hope and redemption.