Real music, new sound

Singer Alicia Keys will be performing at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans this July. (credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons ) Singer Alicia Keys will be performing at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans this July. (credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons )

It has been a great year in music so far. Many of the award shows gave us something to talk about and something to look forward to for next year, a few artists released comeback albums, and several people did some wild and crazy antics that may have either boosted their popularity or sent them to the bottom of the charts. In either case, the year is far from over, and the changes in music and weather have many anticipating the music scene for the summer months. Summer music is what you hear most — what people play in the car with the windows down, what is blasting from the boom box or headphones as they lay out on the beach, or what is playing from their iHome as they just hang out on the patio.

This summer, we can look forward to more album releases from various artists: American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken, Christina Aguilera, The Cringe, Hanson, Lil Jon, The Roots, Teenage Fanclub, Villagers, Ozzy Osbourne, Eminem, M.I.A., T.I., Stars, American Hi-Fi, Sarah McLachlan, and many others. CDs are released every Tuesday, so check when your favorite artists are releasing albums. Many haven’t had an album in a while, and others are steadily producing. In any case, there will be a plethora of music to listen to this summer.

If you are not the CD-buying type and more of the concert-going type, there are a bunch of music festivals across the country to take part in. Some are pretty costly and others are free. If you happen to be in the Chillicothe, Ill. area around the end of May, you can celebrate Memorial Day weekend at the Summer Camp Music Festival. Artists such as STS9, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Steel Pulse, Family Groove, Backyard Fire Tire, The New Mastersounds, Dumpstaphunk, and many others are scheduled to be in attendance. The three-day pass costs $150, a pre-party pass is $20, and there are VIP upgrades of various values. You can partake in a bunch of different workshops, and there is even a Kids’ Camp for the younger attendees — or maybe the older ones with a young spirit.

In Quincy, Wash., visit the Gorge from May 29 to May 31 for the Sasquatch Music Festival. Not only is the Gorge a beautiful place to visit with amazing scenery right on a lake, but the music festival gives you another reason to be around. Artists such as My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene, Public Enemy, MGMT, The Mountain Goats, Massive Attack, and more are listed to perform. Single tickets are $70 per day, but there are other options available for the big spender.

If those didn’t get your blood flowing, take a trip a little further south and head to Manchester, Tenn. from June 10 to June 13. Bonnaroo is sure to be an event that leaves the partygoers wanting more. You can expect to see Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Wonder, John Fogerty, Jay-Z, She & Him, Jeff Beck, The Flaming Lips performing “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, and many others. Ticket prices are $249 plus taxes and fees, but there are also yoga classes and a light show to accompany.

Another of the summer’s big festivals is the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans from July 2 to July 4. To be co-hosted by Steve Harvey and Nephew Tommy, this festival has scheduled some of the greatest names to take the stage. The three-day event takes place in the Superdome, and you can expect performances from Mary J. Blige; Alicia Keys; Janet Jackson; Jill Scott; Trey Songz; Charlie Wilson; Keri Hilson; Gladys Knight; Earth, Wind & Fire; Monica; LL Cool J; and so many others. And if that doesn’t get you going, there are empowerment seminars scheduled by Sheryl Lee Ralph, Rev. Al Sharpton, Steve Harvey, Hill Harper, and Tom Joyner, to name a few.

Many things happen in music every day, but the summer of 2010 is looking promising. Many artists have come out of hiding and are bringing back a sound we haven’t heard in a while or have never heard before. Take a chance and open your ears; get out and listen to the sounds of summer music.