Here’s another sampling of summer concert riches, a bounty of country, pop, rock and roots-inspired shows playing here and in the region this weekend and in the week ahead.
When Lady Antebellum played Rupp Arena in fall 2015, the country-pop vocal trio of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood was about to take its first extended break in a career that had chalked up hit after hit (“I Run to You,” “Need You Now,” “We Owned the Night” and more) for close to a decade.
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A month ago, Lady Antebellum was back to active road duty full-time, with a tour promoting the group’s seventh studio album, “Heart Break,” released in January. It has already scored the radio hit “You Look Good.”
Kelsea Ballerini, 23, who was nominated for best new artist at this year’s Grammy Awards (she lost to Chance the Rapper) and Brett Young of “In Case You Don’t Know” fame will open.
Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers
Known mostly for a smattering of late-1980s and early-’90s radio hits (“The Way It Is,” “Mandolin Rain,” “The Valley Road”), Bruce Hornsby has had an extensive career that has since boasted an alliance with the Grateful Dead (including its career finale concerts dates in 2015), projects involving jazz giants (Christian McBride, Jack DeJohnette) and bluegrass (Ricky Skaggs) and his current band, the Noisemakers (which blends virtuosic technical skill and improvisational prowess). Hornsby discusses all of this in Sunday’s Living section in preparation for his return to Lexington on Tuesday.
On the surface, the pairing of warhorse arena-rock troupes Journey and Asia would seem a surefooted nostalgia bill. Patrons more concerned with the music itself rather than the artists making it would probably agree. But looks at the rosters of both bands reveal an astonishing change in personnel from their commercial heydays, and an even more surprising shift to the ways things were.
Amazingly, Journey again boasts the same lineup (guitarist Neil Schon, keyboardist Jonathan Cain, bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith) that sent songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Open Arms” and “Separate Ways” to the top of charts beginning in 1981.
There is one key exception, though. Steve Perry, the operatic-level singer who defined Journey’s biggest hits, has been gone since 1998. Even though he appeared with his mates when Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, he didn’t perform. Fronting the band since 2007 has been Filipino singer Arnel Pineda.
Coinciding with Journey’s commercial zenith was the chart-topping peak of prog pop vets Asia. Successive decades brought continually shifting personnel until the original lineup — vocalist and bassist John Wetton, keyboardist Geoff Downes, guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Carl Palmer — reteamed in 2006.
The juggling got intense after that. Howe left again in 2013 to continue his long-running membership in Yes, which by this point included Downes (who was briefly a member in 1980). Wetton died in January from colon cancer and was replaced by Billy Sherwood, his onetime collaborator and, weirdly enough, a veteran of Yes, who was called back into action after the death of Yes co-founder Chris Squire in 2015.
Got all that?
Those are the lives, times and departures of the musicians responsible for the hits you will hear Wednesday at KFC Yum Center.
Opening: Robyn Hitchcock, Carly Johnson. 6 p.m. June 28 at the Big Four Lawn of Waterfront Park in Louisville for WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays. Free. Wfpk.org/2017/waterfront-wednesday-faq.
Everytime Pokey LaFarge brings his roots-inclined rock, swing, country blues and more to the region, he has become a bigger deal to the pop mainstream.
Initially, the Illinois-born, Missouri-bred song stylist was a club sensation around Central Kentucky when indie albums “Riverboat Soul” (2010), “Middle of Nowhere” (2011) and “Pokey LaFarge” (2013) got the word out on his dapper-dressed, retro-savvy songs.
In Louisville, the awareness was heightened with a Saturday afternoon appearance at the 2016 Forecastle festival, where his set boasted the clarinet-moaning, castanet-clicking groove of “Goodbye, Barcelona” and the intriguing border-town cantina feel of the Warren Zevon chestnut “Carmelita.”
LeFarge returns to Louisville’s Waterfront Park on June 28 for the latest in the long-running “Waterfront Wednesday” series of free outdoor concerts, sponsored by WFPK-FM. The performance features another regional favorite, British pop surrealist Robyn Hitchcock, who has played Louisville since opening for R.E.M. in 1989. Louisville-based Carly Johnson completes the bill.