Ravinia’s 2014 season: 5 can’t-miss acts

Ravinia Festival unveiled its 2014 season schedule today, Feb. 27, with a lineup of 130 acts taking the stage June 5 through Sept. 14 at the Highland Park venue. Tickets go on sale March 5. Among a loaded summer schedule at Ravinia are a series of golden shows that would make any music fan excited. Here are five that are essential to an exciting summer on the North Shore:

 

1. July 12Willie Nelson and Family, with Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas and Jason Isbell. Of all the country-esque billings floating through Ravinia each year, Nelson and his entourage provide the most welcome respite from Nashville gloss and a humility that spreads much-needed salt to the local earth. Krauss’ traditional down-home country and the folky rock flirtings of Isbell, a former member of indie-country-rock pioneers Drive-By Truckers, will nicely complement each other.

 

2. Aug. 19Buddy Guy with special guest to be announced April 19. George Thorogood & The Destroyers joined Guy at Ravinia last year, but even without knowing his support act, classic rock and Chicago blues fans know this show should not be missed. As Guy climbs in age and outlives virtually all of his contemporaries, he remains a living connection to the city’s rich musical history and to the influence he spread to Eric Clapton and countless others who borrowed his power and style.

 

3. Aug. 28ZZ Top with Jeff Beck. Neither of these artists alone would be enough to keep the musically adventurous occupied for a full evening, but together they frame a bill that combines shrewd pop sensibility with masterful technique — of which both artists, surprisingly, are capable within the right composition. In other words, this unique combination of performers will entertain any rock fan who may want to hear some classic hits, but still wants to be challenged by expertise and nuance.

 

4. Aug. 31 — Dwight Yoakam with Bob Weir & Rat Dog. Like the Aug. 28 billing, this may seem like an unlikely combination, in particular to purists who eschew Weir’s former incarnation in jam-band founders The Grateful Dead. But like ZZ Top and Jeff Beck, Yoakam’s smooth country and Weir’s ethereal rock nicely complement each other. If Weir gets too stiff or jammy, remember Yoakam is up next. And if Yoakam gets a little too slick or poppy, remember you just heard Bob Weir.

 

5. Sept. 12Poi Dog Pondering. A Ravinia staple and Chicago treasure, Poi Dog somehow combines virtually every rock style with no need for backup. Their recent mini-album, “Audio Love Letter,” is a perfect illustration of their diverse catalog and musical gumbo, with covers of Van Morrison, The The and David Bowie. With a little luck, they will dabble into these new gems. Either way, no other band at Ravinia or elsewhere can embody the spirit of, say, The Grateful Dead and New Order in the same song.

0 Comments




Modal