The next few days in Utah are the beginning of a seriously, joyfully, glutted part of the summer concert season. Some of the pioneers of American pop music are coming through Utah before the end of the weekend, and we also have a visit from one of our quirkier adopted sons.

BAND OF HORSES, PIONEER PARK, Thursday, 7 p.m., $5

When Band of Horses’ 2006 debut Everything All the Time was released and the Seattle group arrived for a gig at Club Sound, I decided to check them out mainly due to the fact the album includes a song called “The Great Salt Lake.” Fortuitous decision, because several years and album releases later, I’m still a fan of Ben Bridwell and Co.’s sound and songs–especially that one. The two albums released since then, Cease to Begin and Infinite Arms, both built on that bedrock Band of Horses approach of expansive, lyrically vivid tunes with a touch of twang. Mirage Rock, the band’s fourth album, arrives in September, and here’s hoping we get to hear a few of the new tunes at this week’s Twilight Concert Series show. The Lower Dens opens the show.

AL GREEN, RED BUTTE GARDEN, Friday, 7:30 p.m., $53

Not much needs to be said about Al Green; the good reverend is a gospel and soul legend with a catalog of hits that are part of America’s pop-music fabric: “Love & Happiness,” “Let’s Stay Together,” “I’m Still in Love With You,” among many, many more. But Green doesn’t simply rely on his old hits to mesmerize a crowd. His 2008 album produced by the Roots’ Questlove, Lay It Down, was one of the best R&B releases in years, and songs like the title track fit easily in a set alongside Green’s standards. Last time Green performed at Red Butte Garden, the frenzy of women trying to reach Green on stage was one of the stranger sights I’ve ever witnessed at a show. Understandable, but strange. Expect a repeat of that spectacle–and that stellar show–this time around.


Most of the world knows Crispin Glover (if they know Cripsin Glover) as the man who played George McFly, Michael J. Fox’s dad in Back to the Future. The actor is a little more well known in these parts because Glover is a big fan of Utah, and the star of one of local filmmaker Trent Harris’ best flicks, Rubin & Ed. Glover is also a multi-faceted artist with a perspective that is probably closer to that of one of Glover’s other former directors, David Lynch, than anyone. He’s an author, filmmaker, musician, photographer and monologuist, and he’s coming to the Tower Theatre for two nights of art that will include screenings of his two feature films–It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE on Sunday and What Is It?  on Saturday–a slide show and Q&A. Suffice to say, it will be a night of offbeat art worth experiencing.

DWIGHT YOAKAM, DEER VALLEY, Sunday, 7 p.m., $40-$75

It’s a cruel twist by the summer scheduling gods that Dwight Yoakam’s headlining show at Deer Valley is the same night as the Los Lobos/Steve Earle gig at Red Butte Garden. I’d go see any of those three on any given night, and I have to CHOOSE!?! Bummer. Here’s the argument for Yoakam: the trad-country crooner has one of the best voices in the biz, a deep catalog of rootsy tunes that bound between old-school twang and popperific covers of bands like Queen and Cheap Trick. And the lanky Yoakam still looks great in a pair of jeans, am I right? He doesn’t come to Utah as often as I’d like (or as often as Los Lobos and Earle), so Sunday night’s show is a rare treat.


The reason I’ll be at the Los Lobos/Steve Earle and the Dukes show instead of Yoakam’s show? Simple math. At this one, you get two groups who have written some of the best American rock ‘n’ roll of the past quarter-century, together on one stage for one night. Los Lobos are regular Utah visitors, and in singer/guitarists David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, they have two top-notch frontmen to lead a live party. Steve Earle is a folk-rock icon cut from the pattern of Woody Guthrie,  Bob Dylan and his hero Townes Van Zandt. At this show, Earle’s wife Allison Moorer is part of the band, and she’s a headlining-quality artist herself. Bonus!