Though the temperature has been steadily rising and some considerable time has passed since Ketchum’s last major snowfall, summer still feels a long way off. That said, it’s never too early to begin planning for summer concerts, as a great number of bands and artists get ready to pass through the valley on tour.
Central to the summer concert schedule is the Sun Valley Museum of Art’s annual summer series. Each year in June, July and August, the museum brings in top-class performers to venues in the valley.
A couple of weeks ago, the museum announced that legendary American rock group the Steve Miller Band will perform at the Sun Valley Pavilion in July, helping the museum celebrate its momentous 50th anniversary.
The series officially begins a month prior, though, on Saturday, June 27, with a concert at River Run Lodge by Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals and closes in August with Gregory Alan Isakov.
“Every summer, SVMoA brings the community together through these concerts, and we’re thrilled to announce this stellar lineup,” said museum Director of Performing Arts Kristine Bretall, whose lofty task it is to book all these groups each year.
“Kicking off the series is the legendary Ben Harper. July brings the return of longtime resident and local favorite Steve Miller, and wrapping up the season is Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov. There is literally something for everyone in this series,” Bretall continued.
Harper has amassed a devoted following since releasing his debut album, “Welcome to the Cruel World,” in 1994. His approach to music foregrounds technical prowess and artistic ingenuity; simply put, he plays what sounds and feels right, and defies any easy genre classification.
That’s concisely exemplified by the fact that his three Grammy Awards were all in three very different categories: Best Pop Instrumental Performance (in 2005 for “11th Commandment”); Best Traditional Gospel Album (also in 2005 for “There Will Be a Light”); and Best Blues Album (in 2014 for “Get Up!”).
His music dances merrily through styles, drawing together elements of blues, folk, soul, reggae and rock. No matter what he plays, though, it always translates into an electrifying, energetic, exciting live show.
Then comes the Steve Miller Band, plus Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and Gary Mule Deer. With all three in one night, the concert at the pavilion promises to mark the museum’s auspicious golden anniversary in style.
“We are ecstatic to have Steve Miller back in the town he called home for so long,” Bretall said.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer hung his hat in Sun Valley for years, so while the multi-platinum, bestselling rock star does not exactly need an introduction anywhere he plays, he is especially well known here.
The Steve Miller Band will take to the pavilion on Wednesday, July 15, performing such smash hits as “Take the Money and Run,” “Jet Airliner,” “Rock ’n’ Me” and “The Joker.”
Fast-forward a month and the concert series will wind to a close with a far mellower—but no less talented—headlining artist: Gregory Alan Isakov.
The Colorado-based South Africa-born folk musician is a true self-made star. Isakov self-released his debut album, “Rust Colored Stones,” in 2003. He did the same for his 2005 follow-up “songs for October” (which is indeed capitalized that way).
Then, in 2007, his third self-released album, “That Sea, the Gambler,” saw him reach new heights of both artistry and popularity. He has since founded his own record label and continues to tour and record widely, while maintaining a farm in his home state. His latest release, 2018’s “Evening Machines,” finally saw the singer-songwriter nominated for his first Grammy.
“We’re thrilled that in addition to touring with The Lumineers, Zac Brown Band and Nathaniel Rateliff this spring and summer, Gregory is going to make a stop here in Ketchum with Daniel Rodriguez to open the final concert of the season,” Bretall said.
Rodriguez has spent nearly a decade and a half as a founding member and lead songwriter for folk group Elephant Revival, so he’s no stranger to the American touring circuit.
Assembling all these artists into one concert series is no small feat, but is one of the museum’s defining points of pride.
“SVMoA loves to bring these wonderful concerts to share with our community,” Bretall said. “Gathering to hear music outdoors here is one of the highlights of the year, and with this lineup, we couldn’t be more excited.”
It recently emerged that some websites have been claiming to sell tickets to the Steve Miller Band concert in July. These are counterfeit tickets and any purchase made of them is illegitimate. SVMoA would like to advise patrons to be wary of such scams.
Only SVMoA will be selling tickets for this season, and they will not be available to purchase until April. Further details can be found at svmoa.org or by calling 208-726-9491.