Following the welcome trend of Utah festival organizers stepping up their game, Snowbird’s Renaissance Center debuts the first (hopefully annual) Mountain Music Festival, bringing one heck of a cool lineup to its new Peruvian Terrace. You can’t miss with any of the night’s lineups, but the obvious draws are Friday’s performers TR Richie, Justin Townes Earle and Cowboy Junkies who, like tour mates/co-headliners Son Volt (see Music) recently released a new album on Rounder Records. Trinity Revisted reinterprets their original standout Trinity Session with guests Ryan Adams, Vic Chestnutt and Natalie Merchant contributing to the continued legacy of the Americana greats. Saturday’s mustsee is the Old 97’s, whose group chemistry shows no signs of faltering on their seventh studio album. Ever-enchanting frontman Rhett Miller’s self-titled solo LP hit stores June 9. Also appearing Saturday are Alison Brown, The Seldom Scene, Bearfoot, The Bellville Outfit and Jim Lauderdale. Sunday wraps the festival with Darrell Scott, SteelDrivers and Greencards. The weekend also includes Bluegrass Camps for Kids, adult workshops, a band scramble, songwriting showcase and more. For complete details, visit SnowbirdRC.org.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, RA RA RIOT, ANDREW BIRD
We’re not suggesting that you hike up the hill behind Red Butte Garden to steal a listen to this sold-out show. But here is what you will be missing should you stay home: Death Cab are the main draw, returning to Salt Lake City where they once played Kilby Court as emo heavyweights on the rise. Sensitive and beautiful, their music is often the ideal soundtrack to breaking up and letting go. For many, seeing band leader Ben Gibbard onstage will be a welcome reprieve from his constant presence in music blog tabloids as Mr. Zooey Deschanel. Ra Ra Riot infuse in their music the same grace, beauty and lust for life that helped them deal with the death of their drummer, whose spirit is celebrated on The Rhumb Line. It’s hard not to think of him when listening to songs like “Dying Is Fine,” which toasts mortality with a cello-propelled intensity that’s fearless and fun. Last but not least, who can forget Andrew Bird, who just one year ago played the Twilight Concert Series? The golden-voiced singer/whistler/multi-instrumentalist will sound otherworldly in this lovely venue. It’s worth a hike. Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 7 p.m. All-ages.
The Black Keys, Human Highway (Gallivan Center, July 16); Doomtree (Kilby Court, July 16); Incubus, The Duke Spirit (Usana Amphitheater, July 16); Benny Benassi (Great Saltair, July 17); G. Love & Special Sauce (Harry O’s, July 17); Reverend Horton Heat (Depot, July 17); Weedeater (Club Vegas, July 18); The Wallflowers (Red Butte Garden, July 19); The Builders & The Butchers (Urban Lounge, July 20); Tori Amos (Abravanel Hall, July 20)