1) Pretty blonde women singing country music is nothing out of the ordinary, but brazen songstress Elizabeth Cook is not your standard-issue Nashville starlet.
Cook started making music at a young age, but was nearly 30 when she made her Grand Ole Opry debut and in her mid-30s when her breakout tune, Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman, placed her front and center.
She has a brand-new record, Gospel Plow, and she and her band are touring in support, including a Saturday, July 7, stop at the Rumba Cafe.
2) Intricate and layered, powerful and vast, gentle and moving – the music of Led Zeppelin is a treasure trove of material that lends itself to adaptation/arrangement for symphony orchestra.
Brent Havens, music director for “The Music of Led Zeppelin,” knows it, and adroitly transferred all of the rockers’ pomp and circumstance to the orchestra.
Havens brings a troupe of rockers, highlighted by singer Randy Jackson (from Zebra, not American Idol) to join the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at its Picnic with the Pops concert Saturday, July 7. Havens assures audiences, “This is a rock show.”
Tickets are $23 in advance, $25 at the gate for adults; and $8 for children age 3-14. Visit picnicwiththepops.com
3) Reel Big Fish made its name by fully embracing the ethic of playing ska-punk with all the straight-faced seriousness it is due. Which is to say, none at all.
The high-energy rock-and-horns act is probably best-known for the rollicking Sell Out, the band’s reputation as relentlessly silly, boisterous and, yes, juvenile, was well-earned.
Original singer and songwriter Aaron Barrett still fronts the outfit, and the group is on tour advancing a new record, Candy Coated Fury, due out later this month.
Reel Big Fish, with openers Big D and the Kids Table, Suburban Legends and The Maxies, will play the Newport Music Hall Sunday, July 8. Tickets are $20/$22. Visit promowestlive.com.
4) Lifestyle Communities Pavilion will host a ’90s party when the first-ever Summerland Tour hits town Tuesday, July 10.
The tour is co-headlined by founders Everclear and Sugar Ray – that alone guaranteeing at least two different takes on 90s post-grunge power-pop.
Toss in like-minded Lit and Marcy Playground and you’ll feel like it’s the summer of ’96 all over again.
And The Beat is especially happy to know that jangle-pop masters Gin Blossoms are also on the tour – we’re prepared to sing Hey Jealousy word-for-word.
5) A slate of shimmering light classics, brilliantly performed, with a backdrop of the John F. Wolfe Palm House at the Franklin Park Conservatory.
Seems like an idea whose time has come, and a good excuse for folks whose summertime brain has kicked in with a voice from their childhood – their parents telling them to “Go outside!”
Now comes ProMusica Chamber Orchestra to the rescue, as the first of such concerts will be held Thursday, July 12.
The program includes the music of Rossini, Beethoven, Mozart, Vaughan Williams and Sousa, among others.