- Cameron Witting
- Repeat Grammy award winners The Blind Boys of Alabama will share their gospel at this year's Blues Under the Bridge on July 29.
While we still have a ways to go until it's officially summer, outdoor concert announcements are coming in thick and fast, which should help to dispel those last bits of winter chill.
The 2017 iteration of Blues Under the Bridge has only one name announced thus far for their July 29 date, but it's an impressive one — The Blind Boys of Alabama will be headlining the 11th edition of the local blues festival. Since 1939, the group has developed a reputation as one of the premiere gospel groups in America, winning five Grammy awards along the way. Impressively, while they've understandably seen lineup changes since their first LP was released in 1948, the group still features founding members Jimmy Carter and Clarence Fountain, with the latter touring as his health permits.
The Blind Boys of Alabama will also be performing later this year at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, which takes place Sept. 15-17 and features headliners Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood, The Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' Band, Anders Osborne and Benjamin Booker, among many others. The festival offers an additional point of interest to all local blues artists and aficionados: This year, before Aug. 1, unsigned solo blues musicians may submit two recorded songs to the 2017 Telluride Blues Challenge for the chance to win sets in the 2017 and 2018 festivals, along with a Martin guitar and a cash prize. Full info about the festival and competition is available at tellurideblues.com.
Meanwhile, the initial lineup announcements have also been made for Colorado College's annual music and arts festival, Llamapalooza, which will take place May 13. Attendees can look forward to catching two Chicago-based artists gracing the Llamapalooza stage: poet and emcee Noname and jazz/rock/hip-hop sextet Manwolves, with more acts to be announced soon. Although Noname only released her debut mixtape, Telefone, in July 2016, the release received considerable acclaim in outlets such as Pitchfork and The A.V. Club, and the young emcee also boasts an appearance on Chance the Rapper's 2013 mixtape, Acid Rap.
Then there's the 2017 Hudson Gardens concert series in Littleton, which has announced its own lineup featuring a little bit of everything. The proceedings kick off on June 4 with classic soul act the Four Tops, followed throughout the summer by helpings of Southern rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater Revisited), funk and R&B (Kool & The Gang, Gladys Knight), decidedly not funk (Donny & Marie Osmond), yacht rock (Michael McDonald), proto-hair metal (Loverboy & Survivor) and even an appearance of prog-rock in the form of the series-closing concert by Yes on Sept. 3, featuring canonical members Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman.
Also just in is the initial lineup for this year's Westword Music Showcase, which takes place on June 24. Main-stage acts include Shakey Graves, The Revivalists, Cut Copy, Bob Moses and COIN, who are joined by a familiar set of Colorado faces. Local riot grrrl-inspired punk act Cheap Perfume have just been announced to perform at the showcase, along with The Corner Girls, Gasoline Lollipops, iZCALLi, The Lollygags, and many other notable Denver and Fort Collins acts. Indeed, there are a few more familiar names on the showcase poll, which can be viewed and voted upon at 2017musicshowcasepoll.westword.com.
Finally, for the more southern side of events, don't forget about the upcoming Bands in the Backyard festival in Vineland, Colorado, from June 16 to 17. The weekend features the inescapable pop-country figures Billy Currington, Thomas Rhett and Kane Brown, along with Old Dominion, Sonny Mackenzi, Jackson Michelson, Tim Montana and the Shrednecks and Denver's Kory Brunson Band.
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