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Brantley Gilbert

spotlight show • This 28-year-old singer-songwriter opens the show for Tim McGraw, along with Love and Theft. In his short career, Gilbert has charted two No. 1 country songs, "Country Must Be Country Wide" and "You Don't Know Her Like I Do." He also wrote the chart-toppers "My Kinda Party" and "Dirt Road Anthem" (along with Colt Ford) for fellow Georgian Jason Aldean. Growing up in the small town of Jefferson, Gilbert said he hunted, fished and rode dirt bikes. Then he picked up the guitar. "It was always therapeutic for me," he said during a recent interview. Plus, "it helped with the ladies." When not opening for McGraw this summer, Gilbert will be in the studio recording his third album with the help of veteran producer Dann Huff — who played guitar on Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." Gilbert wrote every song on the album. "All my stories are real life," he said. "I never sit down to write hit songs." They just happen.

When • Friday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

Where • Usana Amphitheatre, 5150 S. 6055 West, West Valley City

Tickets • $30.50-$70.25 at

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

spotlight show • Jon Spencer, leader of the rock bank Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, first visited Utah as a child. His family was moving from the East Coast to Palo Alto, Calif., so his father could teach a class at Stanford University. Unfortunately, the family car was wrecked as they approached Salt Lake City. They stayed in the city for a week and spent most of their time skiing. Spencer said what could have been a traumatic experience actually became a fond Utah memory. The band released "Meat + Bone" late last year, the first album of all-new material since 2004. "There was a fire inside us," said Spencer, a New Hampshire native and Brown University alum. "It wasn't a contractual obligation. We did because we're in love with this music." Before forming this band — the name inspired by the way Jerry Lee Lewis speaks — Spencer was in the short-lived but influential rock group Pussy Galore. He prefers his current band because "we're a product of the three individuals in the group." While his name is in the group's moniker, "Make no mistake," he said. "It's a collaboration." Red Bennies open.

When • Friday, June 14, at 9 p.m.

Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $15 at

Rachael Yamagata

SPOTLIGHT SHOW • Renowned singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata will bring her Dealbreaker Heart Tour to Salt Lake City. Yamagata's soulful, smoky voice and vulnerable lyrics are tailor-made for a post-breakup crying session, but they also lend themselves to an incredible live show. The Virginia native is a natural performer, blending melancholy piano work and raw, emotional vocals. Yamagata said she also tries to mix in some light-hearted chatter between songs to soften the blow of her music. "That sort of alleviates the energy after you dive into a crazy dark song," she said in a recent telephone interview. "It's easy for me to jump back and forth, but I find I have to watch the energy of the room, because if I'm not feeling sort of joyful onstage then it becomes a very dark experience for everybody." While her songs are often somber, Yamagata describes herself as an eternal optimist. She said she writes sad music because she is fascinated by suffering and the methods used to overcome it."Sometimes I think of it like I'm a doctor doing research on a disease or something. They're sort of obsessed with the disease, but the point is to cure it," Yamagata said. "So sometimes I feel like I approach heartbreaking subject matter in the same way. It's a passion for me, but I don't feel like I have to live in a dark place at all." Yamagata, who has collaborated with Ray LaMontagne and Jason Mraz, has released three studio albums and a handful of EPs. Friday, she will perform about four tracks off her latest release, "Heavyweight EP." The show will stream live at One-man folk band Sanders Bohlke will open.

When • Friday, June 14, at 9

Where • The State Room, 638 S. State St., Salt Lake City and online at

Tickets • $17 at

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

spotlight show • Last summer, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals opened for the blockbuster Tim McGraw-Kenny Chesney stadium tour. The Vermont-born experimental roots band only played about 30 minutes each night, which meant lead guitarist Scott Tournet had some extra time. The result is a new album, "Ver la Luz," which was released last month. It helped him recover from a personal breakdown he had in September 2011, when a crumbling relationship, nagging depression and years of life came to a head, he said in a phone interview. "I had been through a lot," said Tournet, a founding member of the band. "I was coming out on the other side. The songs were therapy for me. … For me, my church may be songwriting." The resulting record isn't what you would expect from a lead guitarist of a rock band. "This was more song-oriented," Tournet said, noting that epic guitar solos weren't part of the agenda. After headlining Red Butte Garden, the band will open a string of shows for Robert Plant. Tournet looks forward to working with the Led Zeppelin frontman. "It's nice when you get that giddy feeling," he said.

When • Sunday, June 16, at 7 p.m.

Where • Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $37 for garden members, $42 for general public, at

Parquet Courts

spotlight show • In 2011, the Brooklyn-based "Americana punk" band Parquet Courts released its first album on cassette only. "The label that put it out knew we were a new band," said frontman Andrew Savage. "A tape costs 25 cents to manufacture." The next year, the quartet's second album, the 33-minute, 15-song "Light Up Gold," was released, and critics across the nation became apoplectic, with Rolling Stone saying the band made "near-perfect post-college rock." "It's an honor to have that review," Savage said. "Rolling Stone is an institution." All four band members grew up in Texas, but met after moving to New York City. Savage initially worked at a home-appliance store before quitting to focus on music full time. "A lot of people like to call us slacker-rock," Savage said. "I take offense to that, because I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it. We're industrious rock." Savage has been in Salt Lake City before. On tour as a member of the Texas-based indie-rock band Teenage Cool Kids, he remembers sleeping in a cold motel room, eating days-old focaccia bread out of a dumpster, and walking around the city in several feet of snow after a storm. He especially remembers the LDS Temple. "I was awed by its grandeur," he said. "It was so snowy that it looked like an ice castle. It looked the White Witch's castle in the Chronicles of Narnia." He's didn't mean that as an insult, honest. Koala Temple and Pentagraham Crackers open.

When • Tuesday, June 18, at 8 p.m.

Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $8 at


spotlight show • The stage name for indie-pop craftsman Jordan Jeffares might seem like a play on the words "Snowed In." Nope. The Atlanta-raised musician is more cerebral than that. The name is a reference to a key character in Joseph Heller's classic Catch-22. Snowden does say that his ideal place for writing songs is in "the middle of nowhere." His second album, "No One in Control," was released in May, his first album since his stunning debut "Anti-Anti" in 2006. "With this record, you never know if this one is the last one," he said. "I wanted one that I could listen to on my headphones." The album has more chamber-pop than the first, but Jeffares doesn't believe he made a huge swerve — the album is still rhythmic and isn't driven by riffs. "All the elements are still here — just in a different way," he said. Notably, he explored writing "mushy" love songs for the first time. But most fans won't recognize them as such. "I'm paranoid about writing a pop love song," he said. Even though he writes alone, Jeffares said he bounces ideas off friends and his brother. That comes with a price. "My brother is rarely impressed," he said. "I can't count on his ears perking up."

When • Wednesday, June 19, at 8 p.m.

Where • Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $12 at


This indie band's upcoming studio album, "Ownerless," will be released later this month. The L.A. rockers will perform. King Niko opens.

When • Friday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

Where • Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $10 at

EC Twins

The EDM duo headlined the one-year anniversary party for Live Nite Events. Special guests include Mysto and Pizzi. Timone and Dirty Dutch Bros. open.

When • Friday, June 14, at 9:30 p.m.

Where • The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $15 at

Authority Zero

This Los Angeles-based trio mixes punk and reggae. Ballyhoo and Versus The World will open.

When • Saturday, June 15, at 8 p.m.

Where • Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $14 at

Rhonda Vincent

The Grammy-nominated bluegrass artist is touring to promote her lastest release, "Sunday Mornin' Singin'."

When • Saturday, June 15, at 8 p.m.

Where • Sandy Amphitheater, 9400 S. 1300 East, Sandy

Tickets • $12-$18 at

Sarah Jarosz

Bluegrass musician Sarah Jarosz will perform.

When • Tuesday, June 18, at 8 p.m.

Where • State Room, 638 S. State St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $18 at

Jackson Browne

Since the early 1970s, Browne has been singing and writing hit songs for himself and other artists.

When • Wednesday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Where • Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $45-$60 at

Tony Bennett

The legendary crooner has been at it for more than six decades.

When • Thursday, June 20, at 8 p.m.

Where • Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $67-$72 at


The English indie synth-pop artist recently released his third studio album, "Between."

When • Thursday, June 20, at 7 p.m.

Where • Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $8 at

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