You guys are hip to the Britt Music Festival in Jacksonville (just northwest of Ashland, Ore.), aren’t you?
If you’re not, here’s a quick overview: killer outdoor amphitheater just two and a half hours drive north to the historic town of Jacksonville, Ore. It’s an excellent place to escape to for a concert in a gorgeous setting. The shows are held throughout the summer and into the early fall.
The festival just announced its summer 2010 season, and, as always, there are some gems in there.
Overall, I view the lineup like this — quality, despite lacking some of the major star power it’s had in the past. That suits me just fine, because the types of artists I see in this summer’s lineup — though maybe not superstars — are extremely dynamic and viable.
For a full look at the lineup, click here. Here’s a bit of commentary on the acts in the lineup that I know something about. I’m leaving out some of the shows that don’t interest me (or artists I don’t know much about).
• Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers on June 20. This is a hot bluegrass act right now and you just can’t believe how good a banjo player Steve Martin (yes, the comedian) is.
They were just on the Jefferson Public Radio program “World Cafe.” Martin blows my mind — amazing comedian, actor, playwright, author. He wrote almost every song on the group’s new album and they’re killer! What can this man not do?
• Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussian and Edgar Meyer/Brubeck Brothers on June 24. In terms of pure prowess on instruments, an argument can be made that Bela Fleck (banjo) and Edgar Meyer (bass) are the best in the world. I don’t know much about Hussian, but if he’s playing with those two …
• Pink Martini on June 25. Those who saw their recent show at the Cascade witnessed what a fun and dynamic group this is. Good showcase for them at Britt.
• Jewel on June 26. I know she’s a star and I’m not really against her. I just haven’t made the connection with her yet I guess.
• Brandi Carlile on June 27. I HAVE made the connection with this amazing singer-songwriter. (FYI, this is not the Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle.) If you haven’t heard her 2007 album “The Story,” you need to check it out.
She has a huge voice and her songs are outstanding. There’s an almost screaming vocal moment 2 minutes and 53 seconds into the tune “The Story” that sends an absolute shiver up my spine.
• Steve Earle/the Carolina Chocolate Drops/Allison Moorer on July 1. Steve Earle’s amazing and I’ve seen him a ton of times, but I’m interested in the African American folk/bluegrass outfit, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which I just heard on “World Cafe.”
• The Black Crowes on July 2. I’ve always loved this crunchy rock band and I’d love to see this show.
• The Court Yard Hounds on July 8. It looks like two of the three Dixie Chicks are in this group. Might be interesting.
• Michael Franti and Spearhead/Brett Dennen on July 15. I would always go see the big man “Yell Fire!” It’s about time we got a dose of Franti and Spearhead in Redding!
• Barenaked Ladies on July 16. Maybe you’ve heard of this group, but if you’re from Canada, you absolutely know about this group. I don’t know their music that well, but this would be the concert I’d roll the dice and see regardless.
• The New Pornographers/The Dodos/Imaad Wasif on July 17.
The New Pornographers
The fabulous Neko Case is just a part of the New Pornographers.
• Jimmy Cliff on July 22. Reggae legend and there’s a opening act TBA.
• Jamie Cullum on July 23. Full-of-energy young Brit reinvents the Sinatra path.
• Jackson Browne and David Lindley on July 26. Now here’s some star power! How could this not be a great evening?
• Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion’s Summer Love Tour on Aug. 26. Oak Run’s Bruce Calin (who used to play bass on the show) should go up there and play a one-off.
• Tommy Emmanuel on Sept. 3. After you watch this Australian play acoustic guitar, you’ll probably consider giving up playing guitar.
Jim Dyar is a news, arts and entertainment journalist for A News Cafe and the former arts and entertainment editor for the Record Searchlight’s D.A.T.E. section. Jim is also a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding. E-mail him at email@example.com.