Summer Arts preview: Critic’s picks

Greg Klee /Globe Staff


ARTIST, REBEL, DANDY: MEN OF FASHION A bold, all-embracing survey of the figure of the dandy over 200 years, from Oscar Wilde to Sebastian Horsley. The show includes clothing, photographs, paintings, and caricatures. Through Aug. 18. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. 401-454-6500,

MATRYOSHKA: THE RUSSIAN NESTING DOLL Eighty-three sets of beautifully painted wooden nesting dolls from the Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. May 18-July 20. Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton. 978-598-5000,

POSTER-MANIA! LEISURE, ROMANCE AND ADVENTURE IN 1890S AMERICA Bold, artful, and witty posters from a golden age of poster production.
May 24-Sept. 2. Currier Museum of Art, Manchester. 603-669-6144,


TONY FEHER The first in-depth career overview of this US sculptor, who for 25 years has been using plastic bottles, colored water, Styrofoam, paper cups and packing materials to make poignant, witty, and always surprising work. May 24-Sept. 15. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781-259-8355,

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JASON MIDDLEBROOK Examples of the large, hardwood planks painted with abstract patterns that have made this US sculptor a rising star of contemporary art over the past decade. Middlebrook’s patterns make use of the wood’s grain and are rich with other allusions. May 26-April 7, 2014. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams. 413-662-2111,

IN CONVERSATION: MODERN AFRICAN AMERICAN ART A survey of paintings, sculpture, and photographs by 43 leading African-American artists. The show will bring important art to light as it traverses a great deal of sociopolitical terrain. June 1-Sept. 2. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 978-745-9500,

COLBY COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART Marking this acclaimed museum’s bicentenary, Colby College will open a new, 26,000-square-foot addition, the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, and a raft of exciting new shows, including works from the Lunder Collection, more than 500 works recently donated to Colby. July 13-June 8, 2014. Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville. 207-859-5600,

SACRED PAGES: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE QU’RAN Twenty-five pages, or double-pages, from Qu’rans, dating from the 8th to the 20th centuries, in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts. Art historical commentary on the exquisite calligraphy and decorations will be complemented by more personal contributions from members of Boston’s Islamic community. July 13-Feb. 23. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,


HIPPIE CHIC About 50 fashion ensembles from the ’60s and ’70s celebrating counterculture fashion and its ongoing influence. Think crushed velvet, tie-dye, beads, and fringe. July 16-Nov. 11. Museum of Fine Arts.

R.O. BLECHMAN: THE INQUIRING LINE Illustrations, advertisements, and more by the popular artist whose work has been published in The New Yorker, the Huffington Post, and many books. May 11-June 30. Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge.



RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN Playwright Gina Gionfriddo and director Peter DuBois, longtime collaborators who worked together on “Becky Shaw,’’ team up again for Gionfriddo’s comedy of ambivalence about life choices, built on the reunion between a best-selling, media-savvy academic (think Camille Paglia) and a friend who is married to the academic’s old flame. May 24-June 22. Huntington Theatre Company. At Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800,

VITAL Five writers — Miranda Craigwell, Jonathan Russell Clark, Tyler Monroe, April Ranger, and Carissa Halston — were asked to craft first-person narratives inspired by a quotation from mythologist Joseph Campbell: “We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.’’ From their five works comes an ensemble-created theater piece, directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. June 14-30. Whistler in the Dark Theatre. At Charlestown Working Theater. 866-811-4111,


THE LION IN WINTER Verbal skirmishing and political maneuvering abound in James Goldman’s 1966 drama about a showdown between King Henry II, portrayed by Treat Williams, and Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom Henry has imprisoned for a decade, played by Jayne Atkinson. June 25-July 13. Berkshire Theatre Group. At Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Stockbridge. 413-997-4444,

Associated Press
Tony winner Joanna Gleason (pictured performing in New York) will take center stage in “Bloom” at the Art House in Provincetown June 28-29.

BLOOM In this one-act comedy by
Michael Patrick King (“Sex and the City’’), Tony Award-winning actress Joanna Gleason plays a no-nonsense spiritual being who runs a seminar in heaven for new souls about to be born, preparing them for life on earth. June 28-29. The Art House, Provincetown. 800-838-3006,

EXTREMITIES William Mastrosimone’s drama about a woman who thwarts an attempted rape, then exacts a protracted revenge on her assailant. Directed by Karen Allen, who played the lead role in a 1980s off-Broadway production. July 11-27. Berkshire Theatre Group. At Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge. 413-997-4444,

THE BILLINGSGATE PROJECT Brenda Withers has proved she is a writer to watch — first with “Matt & Ben’’ (coauthored with Mindy Kaling), then with “The Ding Dings, or What Is the Penalty in Portugal?’’ Her new play, which coincides with Wellfleet’s 250th-anniversary celebration, explores the challenges faced by a group of amateur historians as they wrestle with a major event: the destruction by erosion of Billingsgate Island, which once sat at the entrance to Wellfleet Harbor. July 18-Aug. 10. Harbor Stage Company, Wellfleet. 508-514-1763,

MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN After portraying Shakespeare’s (renamed) magician Prospera in last summer’s production of “The Tempest,’’ Olympia Dukakis returns as Brecht’s canny war profiteer. July 26-Aug. 25. Shakespeare & Company,
Tina Packer Playhouse, Lenox. 413-637-3353,

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY First it was a mega-selling novel by Robert James Waller, then a movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Now it’s a musical, with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (“The Last Five Years’’) and a book by Marsha Norman (“ ’night, Mother’’). Directed by Bartlett Sher, this world-premiere production stars Elena Shaddow as Francesca Johnson and Steven Pasquale as Robert Kincaid. Aug. 1-18. Williamstown Theatre Festival, Main Stage, Williamstown. 413-597-3400,

THIS IS OUR YOUTH Kenneth Lonergan’s study of youthful ennui and dissolution on the Upper West Side during the early 1980s stars Alex Pollock (“Aliens’’), Jimi Stanton, and Amanda Collins. Directed by Lewis D. Wheeler. Aug. 8-25. Gloucester Stage Company. 978-281-4433,

ROOMS: A ROCK ROMANCE Monica, a striving singer-songwriter played by Ashley Korolewski, teams up with Ian, an introverted rock musician portrayed by Michael Leveseque. They travel a bumpy professional and personal path from Glasgow to London to New York. Directed by Daniel Morris. With music and lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman, and a book by Goodman and Miriam Gordon. Aug. 10-25. Bad Habit Productions. At Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,


Paul B. Goode
Paul Taylor Dance Company will present six works, including “Perpetual Dawn,” in Great Barrington on Memorial Day weekend


PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY Now 82, dance legend Paul Taylor no longer makes annual visits to Boston with his company, but they usually do spend Memorial Day weekend in Great Barrington. This year the company will be performing six works: Taylor’s latest, “Perpetual Dawn,” plus “Last Look,” “Cascade,” “Kith and Kin,” “Lost, Found and Lost,” and “Offenbach Overtures.” May 24-26. $25-$75. Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington. 413-528-0100,

NAVARASA DANCE THEATER Founded in Mysore, India, in 1991, and reconstituted in Boston in 1996, Navarasa Dance Theater combines song, dance, original music, and kalarippayattu (an Indian martial-art form) to create its multilingual works. As part of its residency at the Boston Center for the Arts, the company will present a new piece inspired by the stories of immigrants in North America. May 31–June 1. $12-$15. Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,

DANCE FOR WORLD COMMUNITY FESTIVAL José Mateo Ballet Theatre’s fifth annual Harvard Square festival will open with “Talk About Dance” Friday evening and follow that with a day of outdoor performances by local dance troupes. Saturday evening the company will host a fund-raising dance party, and Sunday afternoon it will offer free introductory classes. June 7-9. Free. Old Cambridge Baptist Church and Cambridge Common, Cambridge. 617-354-7467,

KELLEY DONOVAN & DANCERS Back in 2009, The New York Times described Kelley Donovan’s “Borrowed Bones” as “a pure dance work that’s actually full of dance” and concluded, “Ms. Donovan should come to New York again, soon.” This year Donovan’s company is in residence at the Boston Center for the Arts, where it will present two new works. June 27-29. $12-$15. Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,

BATES DANCE FESTIVAL This Maine institution enters its fourth decade with a season that includes Nejla Yatkin/NY2Dance in “Oasis” (July 12-13), Doug Varone and Dancers in “Mouths Above Water” (July 18 and 20), Bebe Miller Company’s “A History” (July 26-27), and Bridgman | Packer Dance’s multimedia “Voyeur” (Aug. 2-3). There will also be free “Show & Tell” evenings with the choreographers. July 1-Aug. 10. $6-$25. Schaeffer Theatre, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. 207-786-6381,

ROMANCE STUDY #1 Choreographer Rashaun Mitchell, singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt, and visual artist Ali Naschke-Messing are collaborating on a Richard Avedon-inspired new work, “The Romance Studies,” that’ll premiere at the Institute of Contemporary Art next January. “Romance Study #1” is a work-in-progress sneak peek, part of Co Lab: Process + Performance, a series from the ICA and Summer Stages Dance at Concord Academy. July 19. $15-$25. Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. 617-478-3103,

DORRANCE DANCE/NEW YORK The 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, whose past recipients have included Merce Cunningham and Bill T. Jones, goes to tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance, who has toured with “STOMP” and performed with Savion Glover. She’s premiering her company’s new work, “The Blues Project,” at the Pillow, accompanied by a live band led by BIGLovely’s Toshi Reagon. July 24-28. $22-$38. Jacob’s Pillow, Becket. 413-243-0745,

CAPE DANCE FESTIVAL This inaugural event, which benefits the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, will feature Paul Taylor Dance Company, Project Moves Dance Company, CorbinDances, Lady Luck Burlesque, Lorraine Chapman the Company, and Yesid Lopez performing outdoors, with ocean and dunes as their backdrop. Highlighting the program will be Paul Taylor’s senior male soloists in the men’s quartet from Taylor’s “Cloven Kingdom,” Patrick Corbin’s “Sea of My Soul,” and a new work from Lorraine Chapman. July 27. $25-

$100. Province Lands Amphitheater, Provincetown. 646-734-6338,

MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP AND TMC OPERA This 1989 dance adaptation of Henry Purcell’s 1689 opera “Dido and Aeneas” is one of Morris’s most celebrated works, and though he’s no longer performing in it, the piece has been revived for a new generation of dancers. To round out the evening, the Tanglewood Music Center Fellows will perform Benjamin Britten’s first church parable, “Curlew River.” July 31–Aug. 1. $20-$99. Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood Music Festival, Lenox. 888-266-1200,

MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY Paying tribute to the centenary of “Le sacre du printemps,” the company presents Graham’s 1984 version of the ballet, “The Rite of Spring,” which until this year hadn’t been seen since 1993. Accompanying it on the program will be “Lamentation Variations,” a set of dances based on Graham’s famous solo, and a new work by Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato. Aug. 21-25. $45-$75. Jacob’s Pillow, Becket. 413-243-0745,


Hilary Scott
the Boston Symphony Orchestra will perform the Verdi Requiem, led by its new music director, Andris Nelsons, on July 27 at Tanglewood.


TANGLEWOOD: BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Surely the most keenly anticipated BSO concert of the summer will be Andris Nelsons’s performance of the Verdi Requiem (July 27), his first appearance with the orchestra since being named as its music director. Also of note will be Vladimir Jurowski’s program leading Liszt, Wagner, and Beethoven (July 19). And Wagner fans will no doubt want to be there July 20, when Lothar Koenigs leads the third act of “Die Walküre,” with a cast that includes Metropolitan Opera stars Katarina Dalayman as Brünnhilde and Bryn Terfel as Wotan. Lenox, 617-266-1200,

TANGLEWOOD: OZAWA HALL AND THE TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER Promising events in Ozawa Hall include conductor Ryan Turner and performers from Emmanuel Music reprising John Harbison’s “Great Gatsby” on July 11; Mark Morris Dance Group and TMC Fellows joining forces for a fully staged double bill featuring Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” and Britten’s “Curlew River” (July 31-Aug 1); Daniel Harding bringing the Mahler Chamber Orchestra for a performance with the British pianist Paul Lewis (July 24); and the Festival of Contemporary Music (Aug. 8-12) directed by French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, with the US premiere of George Benjamin’s opera “Written On Skin.” Lenox,

MARLBORO MUSIC Pianists Richard Goode and Mitsuko Uchida return as artistic directors of this venerable chamber music festival and retreat. Krzysztof Penderecki is this summer’s composer-in-residence. Weekly concert programs are not announced with much lead time, but it’s safe to just choose a weekend and go — one rarely leaves Marlboro disappointed.
July 13-Aug. 11. Marlboro, Vt. 802-254-2394,

ROCKPORT CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL With music dating from both the 12th and the 21st century, this year’s Rockport program casts a wide net and opens on June 7 with pianists
Peter Serkin and David Deveau performing two Double Concertos by Bach, joined by A Far Cry. June 7-
July 14. Rockport. 978-546-7391,

MONADNOCK MUSIC Under Gil Rose’s artistic direction, this summer offers contemporary opera (Ned Rorem’s “Our Town,” Aug. 11), a handsome sampler of 20th-century classics, and plenty of traditional fare. The all-Mozart opening night concert on July 14 will feature male soprano Michael Maniaci. Through Aug. 25. 800-868-9613,

ASTON MAGNA FESTIVAL The country’s oldest early music festival kicks off June 13 with a program titled “The Art of the Chalumeau,” featuring clarinetist Eric Hoeprich. Festival concerts (through July 13) take place in Wal-tham (Brandeis University), Great Barrington, and Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. 800-875-7156,

BOSTON LANDMARKS ORCHESTRA Led by music director Christopher Wilkins, the Landmarks Orchestra returns with its popular series of free Wednesday night concerts at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, starting July 17 at 7 p.m. with a program featuring the premiere of “At the River” by Anthony De Ritis alongside Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony. Runs through Aug. 28. 617-987-2000,

CAPE COD CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL This multi-venue festival dispersed across the Cape will feature performances by the Borromeo String Quartet, the American String Quartet, Trio Solisti, and many others. July 30-Aug. 23, 508-247-9400,

NORFOLK CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL This year at Norfolk, the Emerson, Brentano and Keller Quartets are all on the schedule, but the festival’s highest-profile concert will be the July 6 appearance of the Tokyo String Quartet, its final performance before the group disbands. June 22-Aug. 17. Norfolk. 203-432-1966,

YELLOW BARN This small, adventurous Vermont summer festival offers its typical wide slate of repertoire, from Brahms to Berio, Schubert to Arlene Sierra, who is this summer’s composer in residence. July 5-Aug. 3, Putney, Vt., 800-639-3819 or



EARTH, WIND & FIRE Match a breezy summer’s eve by the harbor with the vintage R&B and pop band boasting a peerless catalog — “September,” “After the Love Has Gone,” “Let’s Groove,” “Reasons,” “Shining Star,” “Fantasy,” “Boogie Wonderland” and many more — and all of the elements are in play for a great night. June 1, Bank of America Pavilion. 800-745-3000,

KINGS OF THE MIC TOUR: LL COOL J, ICE CUBE, PUBLIC ENEMY, DE LA SOUL LL Cool J is coming back from Cali — and his hit show “NCIS: LA” — for this old-school hip-hop tour. Hopefully with the constellation of MCs on hand we’ll see some matchups; but together or solo, this is a lot of diverse firepower for one night. June 19, Bank of America Pavilion. 800-745-3000,

DAWES Fresh off opening dates on Bob Dylan’s never-ending tour, the thoughtful California indie folkies — and Adam Braverman’s favorite band — hit the road in support of their solid new album, “Stories Don’t End.” Expect a night of smart and incisive lyrics set to mellifluous melodies and topped with lush harmonies that conjure vintage Laurel Canyon good times. June 21, Royale. 800-745-3000,

SOLID SOUND FESTIVAL Wilco return to Mass MoCA in North Adams to stage their music, art, and comedy extravaganza. In addition to headlining sets by the Chicago rockers, this year’s model will include music by flame-tressed firebrand Neko Case, indie-rock darlings Yo La Tengo, and the intriguing pairing of virtuoso guitarist Marc Ribot and Los Lobos’s David Hidalgo. Among those supplying the yuks will be Reggie Watts and Jen Kirkman. June 21-23, Mass MoCA.

BRUNO MARS When the pop and soul sprite played the Agganis Arena in 2011, his high levels of energy, musical prowess, dance moves, and musical heft came as something of a surprise given the lightweight sensibility of his songs. Following the release of the dynamite “Unorthodox Jukebox” we expect Mars to be even more out of this world in 2013. Simpatico spirits Fitz and the Tantrums handle the warm up duties. June 26, TD Garden. 800-745-3000,

ROBERT PLANT After wandering with great results in the roots-rock thicket for the last few years with all-stars like Buddy Miller and Darrell Scott, Percy is heading out with a more expansive group he has dubbed “The Sensational Space Shifters.” Judging by clips from the group’s jaunt in South America, the roots elements linger but the amps have definitely been turned up and global grooves will be in play. July 25, Bank of America Pavilion. 800-745-3000,

JESSIE WARE Make way for another powerful diva from across the pond as Ware heads Stateside to spread the gospel about her stunning debut “Devotion.” Riding a wave of accolades from the British press, the album is chock-full of soulful vocalizing and languid grooves that fans of everyone from Sade to Portishead should appreciate. Aug. 5, Royale. 800-745-3000,

KELLY CLARKSON & MAROON 5 Two of the steadiest mainstays of pop radio for the last decade team up for a fizzy, fun night of hooks and harmonies. Since emerging as the inaugural victor of “American Idol,” Clarkson has become a seasoned but natural performer. Adam Levine takes a break from his swivel chair on “The Voice” to lead his band through their clutch of hits including tunes like “This Love,” “Payphone,” and “Moves Like Jagger.” Expect an epic night of singalongs. Aug. 9. Comcast Center. 800-745-3000,

Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake team up at Fenway Park Aug. 10-11.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE & JAY-Z The comeback kid and the former CEO team up for what should be two starry nights of sexy pop and sharp rhymes under the lights at the old ballyard. Given the depth of their respective musical benches, expect extra innings. Aug. 10-11, Fenway Park.

BLACK SABBATH For many diehard fans it’s not a true reunion without drummer Bill Ward, but doubtless many will show up to check out Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler — and fill in Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine — tear through proto-metal classics like “Iron Man” and “Paranoid” alongside tunes from their forthcoming album “13.” Aug. 12, Comcast Center. 800-745-3000,



Roy Haynes The Roxbury-born Haynes is now 88 and apparently invincible, still delivering drum clinics from the bandstand. (If you have doubts, check the YouTube clip of him from the 2012 Chicago Jazz Festival, replete with tap dancing.) He comes to Scullers with the latest edition of his Fountain of Youth band. May 23-24. Scullers, Boston. 617-562-4111,

Jeremy Udden + Robert Stillman Alto saxophonist Udden (a New England Conservatory grad and former member of Boston’s Either/Orchestra) and multi-instrumentalist Stillman are known for crossing jazz-like improvisation with all manner of folk, alt-rock, and experimental whatnots. They play in each other’s bands, Udden’s French Connection and Stillman’s Archaic Future Players, at Cambridge’s living-room-size Outpost 186. June 3. Outpost 186, Cambridge.

Tracy Love
Terri Lyne Carrington brings her Grammy-winning jazz to Scullers on June 13.

Terri Lyne Carrington   Grammy-winning Boston drummer-bandleader Carrington’s most recent CD, “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue” (Concord), is a tribute to a historic trio collaboration by Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach.
Carrington offers telling arrangements of the originals as well as some pointed commentary on the nation’s current economic woes.  June 13. Scullers, Boston. 617-562-4111,

Jussi Reijonen The Finnish guitarist and oud player released the CD “Jussi Reijonen: Un” as he was finishing up the masters program at New England Conservatory this spring. The core group is an acoustic quintet featuring piano, bass, and percussion playing a beguiling mix of Arabic music and jazz that recalls some of ECM’s world-music outings. June 14. Lily Pad, Cambridge.

El Eco Argentine drummer-composer Guillermo Nojechowicz is as responsible as anyone for helping create Boston’s vibrant Latin jazz scene, having formed El Eco here in 1987. Countless key Pan-American Bostonians have been included in its ranks. Nojecho-wicz brings his distinctive fusion of Argentinean, Brazilian, and Afro- Cuban rhythms to Ryles. June 15, Ryles, Cambridge. 617-876-9330,

John McLaughlin & the 4th
The 71-year-old Englishman helped invent jazz-rock guitar with Miles Davis’s band back in the day, then sealed the deal with his Mahavishnu Orchestra. Though there have been spells of more meditative acoustic work, the 4th Dimension band (keyboardist Gary Husband, bassist Etienne M’Bappé, and drummer Ranjit Barot) finds him again in frenetic electric mode. June 22. Berklee Performance Center, Boston. 617-747-2261,

THE MAKANDA PROJECT The Boston group dedicated to extending the legacy of the late Boston-born saxophonist and composer Makanda Ken McIntyre, who died in 2001, begins its eighth year of free concerts in Roxbury’s Heritage Park. Pianist and arranger John Kordalewski leads a large ensemble that includes a hefty crew of Boston ringers: Arni Cheatham, Charlie Kohlhase, Bill Lowe, Kurtis Rivers, and more. July 6, Aug. 10, Sept. 14., Roxbury Heritage Park, Roxbury.

NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL The headlining 80th birthday tribute to Wayne Shorter with special guest Herbie Hancock is only a sliver of a weekend that covers a broad sampling of the jazz spectrum: Natalie Cole, Chick Corea, Roy Haynes, Esperanza Spalding, Eddie Palmieri, Jim Hall, Joshua Redman, Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Steve Coleman, Mary Halvorson, and more. Aug. 2-4. International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams State Park, Newport, R.I. 800-745-3000,

Julian Lage AND Chris Eldridge Lage emerged as a teenage phenom with the Gary Burton Quartet almost a decade ago and has been developing a genre-defying music with his own bands as well as collaborating with likeminded bluegrass fusionists such as Mark O’Connor and David Grisman. On this outing, he teams up with Punch Brothers guitarist Eldridge. Aug. 15. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 800-440-6975,

ROCKPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL This year’s concerts overlooking Rockport Harbor feature charismatic vocalist Roberta Gambarini, a cappella group the Four Freshmen, virtuoso singer Kurt Elling, violin genius Regina Carter, and the duo of saxman Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo.  Aug. 14-18. Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport. 978-546-7391,



DELLA MAE On “This World Oft Can Be,” its forthcoming album (and debut) on Rounder Records, this spirited, all-female string quintet cuts a rug across bluegrass, folk, and chamber pop. Recommended for fans of the Avett Brothers. (Della Mae will also be at Club Passim on June 3 and the Middle East Upstairs on June 4). June 1. Lizard Lounge. 617-547-0759,

SAM AMIDON Marking his debut on Nonesuch Records, Amidon’s “Bright Sunny South” finds the Vermont-bred folk musician pursuing a fuller sound with a band. As usual, Amidon masterfully navigates between traditional and modern sounds. June 19. T.T. the Bear’s Place. 617-492-2327,

THE HANDSOME FAMILY This cult alt-country band has a long history of exploring the dark side of Appalachian music. Its new album, “Wilderness,” is no exception. From the duo’s website: “You’ll hear everything from parlor ballads to overdriven guitars, trilling mandolin and clawhammer banjo, but also beautiful bells, intricate seven-part harmonies, pedal steel, and elemental rock ’n’ roll.” Sean Rowe, a magnetic presence himself, opens. June 20, Club Passim. 617-492-7679,

JOAN BAEZ & INDIGO GIRLS Returning to Tanglewood together for the first time since their 1990 performance there, the folk matriarch and folk-rock duo are one of the summer’s more inspired double bills. Baez, of course, embodies more than 50 years of music and activism, and the Indigo Girls are on the road behind their latest, 2011’s “Beauty Queen Sister.”  June 23, Tanglewood, Koussevitzky Music Shed, Lenox. 617-266-1200,

NEW BEDFORD FOLK FESTIVAL Formerly known as the New Bedford Summerfest, this venerable folk festival has a new name and one of its highest-profile lineups in years. Among the nearly 50 acts are Lori McKenna, Anaïs Mitchell, Ellis Paul, Cheryl Wheeler, John Gorka, and Antje Duvekot.  July 6-7, various showtimes and venues, downtown New Bedford.

JESSICA PRATT Seemingly out of nowhere, this spare singer-songwriter emerged out of San Francisco last year with a self-titled debut that consisted largely of intimate home recordings. With little more than her guitar and a voice as slippery as mercury, Pratt cast a spell and courted comparisons to folk artists such as Sibylle Baier. For this show, Pratt will be opening for experimental singer Julia Holter. July 14, Church. 617-236-7600,

AMERICANARAMA FESTIVAL OF MUSIC An event with a lofty title like that better have the talent to back it up, and this one certainly does. Bob Dylan leads a heavy-hitting lineup that includes Wilco (whose Solid Sound festival takes place at Mass MoCA in North Adams, June 21-23), My Morning Jacket, and Ryan Bingham. July 20, Comcast Center, Mansfield. 800-745-3000,

Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Country star Keith Urban, taking a break from judging on “American Idol” to tour, plays Comcast Center Aug. 10.

LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL No other folk festival in New England is quite as diverse as Lowell’s long-running event. Its definition of the genre is vast, as seen on this year’s lineup: merengue (Joaquin Diaz), fado (Nathalie Pires), Western swing (Marshall Ford Swing Band), and bluegrass (Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice). Happening on the same weekend as the Newport Folk Festival (already sold out), the event is also family-friendly and has a vast choice of ethnic food. July 26-28, various venues and showtimes. Free. 978-970-5000,

JAMEY JOHNSON This country singer has amassed quite a following with his contemporary take on classic country, aligning himself with songwriters such as Kris Kristofferson. His latest album is a tribute to Hank Cochran. Johnson will fit right in at the Indian Ranch, a beloved haven for country fans.  Aug. 4, Indian Ranch, Webster. 508-943-3871,

KEITH URBAN  His profile has been higher than ever since joining “American Idol” on the judges’ panel. The summer concert season puts him back where he belongs, on the road, touring behind 2011’s “Get Closer.” He’s bringing guests Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch.  Aug. 10, Comcast Center. 800-745-3000,



ZONGO JUNCTION  They come from Brooklyn, N.Y., and they’re, well, white — but Zongo Junction doesn't let that get in the way of purveying some of the sharpest, most blistering Afrobeat on the scene today. June 14. Milky Way. 617-524-6060,

AMADOU AND MARIAM Now well-entrenched international stars, the blind husband-and-wife team from Mali are exquisite performers who instinctively locate the crossroads of roots and pop appeal. June 22. Paradise Rock Club. 617-876-4275,

LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO The venerable South African a cappella ensemble is a half-century old and if anything more profound and jubilatory than ever. July 1. Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport. 978-546-7391,

AFRICAN FESTIVAL OF BOSTON The immigrant-run festival has grown into one of the city’s great summer events and a showcase for the area’s rich African arts scene. This year’s lineup has pop, roots and dance acts from Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Cape Verde, Congo, Rwanda and more. July 6. City Hall Plaza. 857-249-3831,

MADAME MOUSTACHE Rowdy urban country music with punk-rock inclinations, sung in French by this woman-fronted Montreal crew, headlines the annual Bastille Day street party. Boston’s versatile North African funk act, Atlas Soul, completes the bill. July 12. Marlborough Street. 617-912-0400,

Angélique Kidjo The fierce singer from Bénin, long based in New York, is also a prominent activist for women’s and human rights, a relentless encourager of younger artists, and a warm, wisecracking, charismatic, performer. July 27. Copley Square Park.

Erin Patrice O'Brien
Red Baraat, a New York-based, New Orleans-style drum and brass band, performs at Copley Square Park on July 27.

RED BARAAT Punjabi wedding songs meet righteous jazz and conscious hip-hop as delivered by a New York-based, New Orleans-style drum and brass band. The mix more than works: it’s devastatingly funky. July 27, Copley Square Park.

AURELIO MARTINEZ Vibrant, soulful, and incidentally the first black member of the Honduran Parliament, Martinez, a protégé of the late Andy Palacio, is today’s leading ambassador of the roots revival in the Garifuna community of Honduras and Belize. July 27-28. Lowell Folk Festival. 978-970-5000,

NATHALIE PIRES A very pure fado singer, New Jersey-raised Pires is a young star on the East Coast Portuguese music scene, which is an unheralded but important feeder into the great fado sanctuaries of Lisbon. July 27-28. Lowell Folk Festival. 978-970-5000,

TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS The indefatigable roots reggae act, with leader Frederick “Toots” Hibbert nearing 70, still has plenty to teach young dreads in the art of stirring it up. Aug. 29. Lowell Summer Music Series. 978-970-5200,