The sold-out Red, White and Boom fest at Whitaker Bank Ballpark is the holiday weekend's most visible concert event, but the sounds of the summer will spill over into much of the week ahead. Here are three of the highlights heading our way.
■ A late addition to the summer schedule of WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour is veteran country singer Lee Ann Womack, who will be giving Lexington a preview of a new and somewhat different album at the program's weekly taping Monday at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 East Third Street.
A Texas native with a taste for traditionalism, she teamed with new-generation country celeb Kacey Musgraves for a collaborative tribute honoring hit maker Alan Jackson at last month's CMT Music Awards in Nashville), Womack will release her first recording for the Americana/bluegrass label Sugar Hill on Sept. 23. Titled The Way I'm Livin', the record features songs by Neil Young, Buddy Miller, Mindy Smith, Hays Carll, Bruce Robison, the late country legend Roger Miller and Kentucky native Chris Knight. The Adam Wright-penned title tune was released as a single in May.
The Way I'm Livin' will be Womack's first new album in six years, and Monday's WoodSongs visits will be her first Lexington appearance since 2008. (6:45 p.m. $20. For reservations, call (859) 252-8888).
■ By now, what can possibly be viewed as new about the Dave Matthews Band?
Every summer, the veteran jam band visits Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, tears into a hefty catalog of groove tunes and makes what is often a sold-out crowd delirious for upwards of three hours.
Well, the DMB's return Wednesday comes with two new twists. The first is the idea of allowing Matthews and company to serve as their own opening act. Shows this summer feature acoustic sets that offer leaner arrangements of fan-favorites such as Crush, Typical Situation and, at times, even the breakthrough hit Ants Marching. The full force of the band's electric music fuels the rest of the show.
The second new thing about the DMB this summer actually is close to 20 years old. Last month marked the reissue of the band's debut album, Remember Two Things, originally released in November 1993, and its first-ever appearance on vinyl. The new edition comes with two bonus recordings of Pay for What You Get and Typical Situation.
(7 p.m. $37-$71.50. Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com).
■ Some acts just know how to make a big entrance. Take the A.J. Ghent Band, for instance. It made its Lexington debut in December at Rupp Arena as opener for a Saturday show by the Zac Brown Band. That's a pretty far cry from the Pentecostal church services that served as some of the first performance settings for lap steel guitarist Ghent.
Using a lap steel of his own design that grafts the instrument onto the body of a conventional electric guitar, Ghent has forged a sound built around "sacred steel" music but open enough to touch on elements of funk and soul. What Robert Randolph has done for the pedal steel guitar, Ghent is doing for the lap steel.
On Thursday, Ghent and his novel music will get a show of their own at Natasha's Bistro, 112 Esplanade. (8 p.m. $10. For reservations, call (859) 259-2754 or go to Beetnik.com.)