The summer season is winding down, but the concert line-up is just starting to heat up. To help cement autumn plans, we’ve compiled some of our must-see suggestions to keep music flowing.
The list is by no means exhaustive, and there are plenty more genres and groups to explore online at the venues’ websites. But these are a few that should be duly noted.
Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker (Sept. 2 at 7 p.m., Orpheum Theater). A great alt-rock show sure to be bristling with fun and charm is the duo-set of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. Singer-songwriter David Lowery has been a frontman for both, and is a key presence in the late 1980s and early 1990s alternative scene.
The first band out of the gate of the two was Camper Van Beethoven. They had a curious alternative hit with the cheeky, nonsensical song “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” which was later covered by Teenage Fanclub and featured in the Michael Moore documentary “Bowling for Columbine.”
Cracker arrived in the early 1990s and had some modern-rock hits, including “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” and “Low,” the later off their gold-selling album “Kerosene Hat.”
Both bands have been active off and on through the years, but Cracker notably released its first album in five years at the end of 2014. It’s called “Berkeley to Bakersfield,” and the double album has one rock side and one country side, as the band has been known to dip into some California country roots” Learn more at www.crackersoul.com.
Cassie and Maggie MacDonald (Sept. 16 at 7 p.m., Coconino Center for the Arts). Lovers of Celtic music are in for a major treat next month when Cassie and Maggie MacDonald take the stage at Coconino Center for the Arts. As shared on their website, the MacDonalds hold fast to their roots, but they have explored and tested the boundaries of traditional music. The sisters bring an irresistible energy to their live shows, and they often pick up new fans wherever they play.
Their accolades include Galaxie Radio Rising Star award winners, Canadian Folk Music Award nominees for Young Performers of the Year. East Coast Music Award nominees for Traditional Album and Music Nova Scotia Award nominees for New Artist and Roots Album of the year.
They have played globally, including on stages across Canada, U.S. France, Germany, Bermuda and the U.K. They have two albums, “Sterling Roads” and “Fresh Heirs,” the latter title playing off their interpretation of traditional music and themes. Learn more at www.cassieandmaggie.com.
Justin Townes Earle (Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m., Orpheum Theater). Justin Townes Earle, though separated at a young age, may have inherited a particularly note-driven gene from his father, Steve Earle. But at 32, this singer-songwriter has unique chops that have propelled him through the stratosphere as a self-made country man.
His decidedly alternative look, complete with full arm tattoos, speaks to his character as an individualist and musician fluctuating between folk, country, rockabilly and blues to master a style unique to his catalogue. \
Earle has endured life’s ups and downs, but channeled these experiences into ground-breaking tunes collected under Chicago’s notable Bloodshot Records, and continues with Vagrant Records. Most recently, Earle garnered acclaim with 2014’s album “Single Mothers,” which topped at number three on the U.S. Folk charts. He followed-up with “Absent Fathers,” his sixth studio release, earlier this year.
Recently married, and having ditched his love for alcohol, Earle is able to write from a place of maturity, while still clenching the raw honesty fans across the world have valued from the Nashville-based singer at all points in his career. Learn more at www.justintownesearle.com.
HoneyHoney (Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m., Coconino Center for the Arts). For only two band members, HoneyHoney assembles an incredible amount of sound that stirs the soul. This L.A-based alternative folk duo has wasted no time in the last nine years since discovering each other at a costume party.
They’ve garnered support for their acclaimed albums over four studio cuts, most recently with the simply titled “3,” released on Rounder Records in early June, 2015.
Benjamin Jaffe’s percussive acoustic string treatment combines sweetly with Suzanne Santo’s banjo and violin layered between her traveling vocal range reminiscent of Patsy Cline’s incandescent abilities. The duo winds both lyrically and musically through bluegrass, folk, country and alternative rock.
With a penchant for compiling as many back hills-type tunes as urban jams, they’ve formed a style that sets them apart from other similar musicians. And with that comes the ability to shred heartstrings with complementary harmonies that elevate the words in the spotlight of their songs. Learn more at www.honeyhoneyband.com.
Jason Michael Carroll (Oct. 9 at 7 p.m., Museum Club). For music lovers out there, the Museum Club, AKA the Zoo, is consistently voted one of Flag residents’ favorite places to cut a rug. That trend continues with the soulful vibrato of country artist Jason Michael Carroll.
To say the 37-year-old singer-songwriter is a perfectionist would be an understatement. One of his most popular songs to date, “Alyssa Lies,” from his 2006 debut, “Waitin’ in the Country,” reportedly took three years to pen and record as he struggled with the tune’s emotional weight.
For the North Carolina native now on his fourth studio recording with “What Color is Your Sky,” released in early May of this year, his perfectionist streak has paid off. Carroll continues to place well on the Billboard charts, even with his latest Kickstarter-funded release.
Fresh off an overseas tour where he performed for stationed troops, Carroll is hitting the road in support of his latest endeavor, which has sprouted singles like “God Only Knows”. Learn more at www.jasonmichaelcarroll.com.