Need a surer sign than the start of college football to know fall is right around the corner? Drive to Park City on I-80 and look around once you top Parleys Summit—the trees are already ablaze with red and orange. This week’s concert calendar still looks very summer-like, however, with top-notch shows each night at the venue of your choice.
On Tuesday, Sept. 4, genre-defying instrumental group Jon Stickley Trio brings its progressive acoustic music to The Urban Lounge with local support from Pixie & the Partygrass Boys. Stickley’s deft flatpicking guitar, Lyndsay Pruett’s sensuous violin, and Hunter Deacon’s jazz-influenced drums combine for a cinematic, textural sound journey that Guitar Player Magazine recently described as “not your father’s acoustic-guitar music—instead, Stickley’s Martin churns out a mixture of bluegrass, Chuck Berry, metal, prog, grunge and assorted other genres.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 5, Americana veteran Boz Scaggs will perform highlights from his new chart-topping album, Out of the Blues, alongside deep cuts spanning his six-decade career at Layton’s Kenley Amphitheater. This Texas native has done it all: joined the Steve Miller Band, cut classic albums at Alabama’s famed Muscle Shoals studio, founded an esteemed San Francisco nightclub, toured with Steely Dan and dug into everything from jazz standards to Stax soul to Delta blues. "Music has been a constant companion and I'm feeling more free with it than ever," Scaggs says. "I feel like I've found my voice through all these years, and I've gotten closer to where I want to be with my approach."
Want to relive the heyday of British New Wave and ‘80s synth-pop? UK icons Midge Ure and Paul Young will oblige on Sept. 5 at The Commonwealth Room. Ure has been recruited into countless pop-rock acts over the years (Slik, The Rich Kids, Thin Lizzy, Visage and Ultravox). But his biggest claim to fame comes from a co-songwriting contribution to the 1984 single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, which, recorded by the mega-supergroup Band Aid, raised nearly $10 million for Ethiopian famine relief and kicked off the long-running Live Aid global concert series. Since then, Midge Ure has released dozens of critically acclaimed albums and directed concert productions for Paul McCartney, Elton John and even the Queen of England.
If more modern music is your jam, don’t miss rising Los Angeles MC RJ at The Complex on The Grind Don’t Stop Tour with Underground Ambitionz and Jare & Joey on Thursday, Sept. 6. While fresh rappers fall all over themselves trying to build the biggest social media presence, Rajon “RJ” Durant spends his time crafting original cadences and articulate lyrical flows. After escaping the mean streets of L.A. for America’s rap capital of Atlanta, RJ learned the hip-hop hustle, recording breakout singles like “Get Rich” with choice guests on his way to building up a career. “I approach the game with a player’s mind and a lover’s heart,” RJ says, “making music for my family first, then friends and fans.”
If you need a little consciousness raising—and who doesn’t in these turbulent political times—slam poetry star Olivia Gatwood delivers on Thursday, Sept. 6 in a seated performance at Kilby Court with support from Joaquina Mertz. Gatwood has received national recognition for her poetry, writing workshops and role as a Title IX Compliant educator in sexual assault prevention and recovery. Performing and teaching about gender equality, sexuality and social justice at colleges and high schools, Gatwood also published the book New American Best Friend reflecting on her childhood in both New Mexico and Trinidad, “navigating girlhood, puberty, relationships and period underwear.” “Ode to My Bitch Face” should be required viewing for anyone who’s ever used the derogatory term.
Finally, pioneering reggae band Black Uhuru bring their classic dub vibes to The State Room on Thursday, Sept. 6. Founded in Kingston, Jamaica in 1972 by Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, the original Uhuru (a Swahili word for freedom) lineup shifted rapidly before settling into a steady groove. In 1985, Black Uhuru even won the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, proving it could appeal to roots rock purists and mainstream listeners alike. The futuristic instrumentation of “Sinsemilla” still shocks and awes to this day.
Now for some other quick hits:
• Texas swing storms into town on Thursday, Sept. 6 when Lone Star legend Lyle Lovett & His Large Band touch down at Eccles Theater.
• Mimicking Birds dive deep into their intricate indie pop on Friday, Sept. 7 at Rye Diner & Drinks with support from locals Lantern by the Sea.