Labor Day weekend traditionally represents the end of summer. But before bemoaning the season's ceremonial passage, take heart that there is a three-day weekend at hand.
Not surprisingly, local concert events are taking full advantage of that fact. Outside of Friday night's much- recommended show at Buster's by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (see story on Page 4), three of the weekend's most prominent performances are happening Sunday, usually a night when most of us already are surrendering to Monday funk.
Here is what will be lighting up the region on Sunday:
■ The annual Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival hits its peak at Winchester's Lykins Park with performances by Jerrod Niemann and the JaneDear girls.
Niemann is a Kansas-born country traditionalist who made radio waves with recent hits like Lover Lover and What Do You Want, even though the 2006 indie single I Love Women (My Momma Can't Stand) cut closer to what seem to be some natural honky-tonk roots. Local country fans might remember the JaneDear girls (aka Susie Brown and Danelle Leverett) as the neo-traditionalist kickoff act to last March's sold-out concert by Jason Aldean at Rupp Arena. (5:30 p.m. $7, free for children 8 and younger. Call (859) 744-0556 or 1-800-298-9105. For a full schedule of festival events running all weekend long, go to Danielboonepioneerfestival.com.)
■ One of pop radio's more refreshing sounds during the early '90s post-grunge boom came from Sister Hazel. Though often lumped in with scores of alternative bands that hit the airwaves, the Florida group sported a heightened vocal sound that distinguished its 1997 hit All for You. The band still hits the road regularly with its original lineup intact and will perform at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester Street. Sister Hazel's newest album is the self-described 2010 "American road trip music" collection Heartland Highway. (8 p.m. $20 advance, $22 day of show. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.)
■ From Greg "G. Busy" Thomerson, the local blues entrepreneur who opened the summer with the Blues Between the Bridges Festival, comes the End of Summer Blues Festival at Riptide on the River, 9079 Old Richmond Road. The Sunday lineup boasts a hearty roster of local and regional blues favorites including Ronn Crowder, Trial & Error, Johnny Roy and the Rub Tones and the G. Busy Blues Revue. That will lead up to a headlining set by Larry Grisham and the Beat Daddys. Guitarist Grisham is a Southern Indiana native reared in Muhlenberg County who has released several electric albums on the respected blues label Malaco. (4 p.m. $10. (859) 263-3286.)
And on Monday ...
Never one to miss out on a grand finale for a holiday weekend, the folks at CD Central, 377 South Limestone, have another afternoon of fine, free Central Kentucky music on tap for Monday. Performing will be Ark Royals (noon), Onward Pilgrim (1 p.m.), The Greatest of These (2 p.m.) and Dunebuggy Attack Battalion (3 p.m.). (859) 233-3472. CDcentralmusic.com.
Especially noteworthy this holiday weekend isn't so much who will be playing but who won't: J.D. Crowe. The annual bluegrass festival bearing his name isn't taking place this year, as it usually does on Labor Day weekend at Ichthus Farm in Wilmore.
But Crowe fans need not worry. In just a few weeks, the Grammy-winning Central Kentucky banjoist will take his music to the great indoors. On Sept. 24, he will headline a bluegrass concert to benefit Bluegrass PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment) at UK's Memorial Hall. We'll have more on that event closer to show date. Until then, head to BGpride.org.