Busy with a lot of news -- good and bad -- right here in Lowell and beyond, so let's get right to it.
First, the bad news.
The Royalty of Doo-Wopp and Superstars of Motown show that was scheduled for Saturday night at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium has been postponed to November 8, according to show promoter Harvey Robbins.
The show was set to feature the original Vandellas ("Heat Wave," "Dancing in the Street" and "Jimmy Mack"), the Contours ("Do You Love Me?"), the Diamonds' original lead singer Dave Somerville, who made more appearances on American Bandstand than any other artist, The Marcels ("Blue Moon") and Tony Funches, former lead singer of Herb Reed's Platters ("Only You," "The Great Pretender" and "Twilight Time").
Enough bad news, let's get to the good news.
After a weekend that featured great weather for season-opening shows from Ziggy Marley, Delta Rae and Amos Lee, a pair of dynamic female singer-songwriters come to Boarding House Park this weekend as part of the Lowell Summer Music Series.
Lucinda Williams comes to town on Friday night and Neko Case follows one night later. Here's a quick look at each performer and what to expect at their show.
Williams is a three-time Grammy Award winner, having won the 1993 Grammy for Best Country Song for "Passionate Kisses," as performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter since the song award is given to the writer of the song. She also won the 1999 Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album for Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and the 2002 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Get Right With God." Those awards give her the rare distinction of someone who has thrived on the rock, folk and country charts.
I saw Williams in concert years ago on her tour for 2003's World Without Tears album and she's fantastic. Expect ace guitar playing, whimsical lyrics and more power than you might expect from a singer-songwriter who blends folk, rock and country.
Case is a critical darling who has simultaneous careers as a solo act (which she'll be doing in Lowell) and a member of the Canadian indie rock group The New Pornographers, who come to Boston later this year.
Case incorporates many different genres into her music, thus making it hard to classify her easily. She's covered Aretha Franklin and Sarah Vaughan, been asked to pose naked for Playboy (she declined), appeared on the animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and been a guest on "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" on NPR.
Her singles haven't done much on the charts, but her last two albums -- 2009's Middle Cyclone and last year's The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You -- have been top 15 albums on the Billboard album charts.
I've never seen Case live, but I did see her at Coachella on AXS TV earlier this year. She's very charismatic, yet you can tell she's into the quality of her performance as well. She's not going to mail it in, so definitely make it a weekend in Lowell.
Lucinda Williams plays at Boarding House Park on Friday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m., with special guest Kenneth Brian Band. Tickets are $38 in advance, $45 day of concert. Neko Case plays there on Saturday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m. with special guest Laura Veirs. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of concert. Tickets to both shows can be purchased at lowellsummermusic.org.
- Boston welcomes Ginger Baker
Finally, the weekend closes with legendary drummer Ginger Baker, known best for his work with Cream and Blind Faith, playing a jazz show with his Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion show on Sunday night at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston.
Baker has been pounding the skins for a half century, first working with the Graham Bond Organization in the early 1960s, touring with The Who, The Troggs, The Moody Blues and Chuck Berry.
He hooked up with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce to form Cream in the mid-1960s and then worked with Steve Winwood in Blind Faith in the late 1960s. He's been a much sought-after drummer in the four decades since, working with Paul McCartney and Wings, Fela Kuti and many others. He doesn't tour much these days, and the Boston show is the next-to-last date on an 11-show U.S. tour so definitely check it out.