MUSIC PALOOZA: Bands from Vermont, Boston, and New York converge for the 2013 Salem Jazz and Soul Festival on Saturday and next Sunday.
The two-day, free festival at Salem Willows includes a music education tent, a kids tent, a 21-plus beer pavilion, and more than 30 artists selling handmade goods.
The Salem High School
Jazz Band opens Saturday’s concert, followed by Tough Love Trio; Qwill and the Soul Review Project; Eric Reardon and Noe Socha; and Aruda Wakening.
Dwight & Nicole, featuring Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson — a recent contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” — headline Saturday.
Sunday opens with the North Shore Jazz Project All-Stars, followed by The Soul
of a Man; Tough Tenors: Mike Tucker and Gordon Beadle; Greg Luttrell; and Diane Blue nd Toni Lynn Washington.
Turkuaz, a 10-piece funk band out of Brooklyn, headlines Sunday.
Disc jockey Radio Scotvoid spins between sets. Brian Gordon is the emcee, along with festival cofounder Henley Douglas Jr.
Salem Trolley, a festival sponsor, offers an inexpensive shuttle to the festival every 30 minutes from several locations including the commuter rail station, National Park Service Visitors Center, and Salem Ferry Landing.
Organizers encourage audience members to walk, ride bicycles, or take the trolley to Salem Willows, as parking is limited.
The festival runs from 11:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.
Salem Jazz and Soul is a nonprofit dedicated to producing free concerts and donating to local music education programs.
NORTH COUNTRY: Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jess Leary makes her debut performance at the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport on Saturday.
A Hingham native, Leary was a fixture on Boston’s folk, rock, and country scenes in the early 1980s. As regional winner of the “Wrangler Country Star Search,” she was flown to Nashville to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.
She decided to embark on a new chapter in her life and moved to Nashville in 1985.
After five years with little recognition or employment, she gained a deal with Reba McEntire’s publishing company, Starstruck Writers Group. Later, McEntire hired her as a backup vocalist and guitarist for her 1992 tour.
During the following years, Leary became a busy backup singer and musician, touring with both Garth Brooks and Faith Hill.
She performed at the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, and on various television shows with Pam Tillis, Deana Carter, and Martina McBride, and occasionally joined folk singer Melanie Safka and the Indigo Girls on stage.
Leary’s songwriting credits include two number one songs, “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life),” co-written and performed by Tillis, and Tim McGraw’s “Where the Green Grass Grows.”
The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22; $20 for Firehouse members. Call 978-462-7336 or visit firehouse.org.
IN LOCAL GALLERIES: An exhibit of work by Barbara Rafferty is at the Gallery at Grosvenor Park in Salem through Sept. 5. Her paintings include watercolor and mixed-media pieces. Bold and colorful abstract paintings show her interest in exploring light and form, while she uses natural objects and ink sketching to enhance her paintings. She has nine grown children and many grandchildren, and is retired from Salem State University. . . . “Fields,” a solo exhibition of work by Maria Malatesta, opens at Chameleon in Newburyport with a reception from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Her paintings are experiential interpretations of landscapes. Malatesta teaches at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly. . . . A solo show of watercolors, photography, and mixed media by Karen S. Fitzgerald of North Andover is at the Newburyport Art Association Aug. 21 through 26. An opening reception is at 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 22. She presents a watercolor demonstration at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 24, and talks about her black and white darkroom enlarged pieces at 2 p.m. Aug. 25. Fitzgerald teaches art and photography at Methuen High School.