SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Arts Festival on Wednesday announced its opening-night music lineup with a triple threat of acts that range from rocking Americana and soul music to classic reggae.
The trio includes James McMurtry and his band, soul shouter Mike Farris and his Roseland Rhythm Review, and Jamaican legends Third World, playing at 8:30 p.m. June 21 at Library Square, 400 South 200 East. The festival runs through June 24.
Texan McMurtry is highly regarded in the music world for unvarnished lyrics that comment mostly on the darker side of the American psyche, and his creative guitar breakdowns. McMurtry has produced 10 albums and won two Americana Music Awards in 2006 for best album, ("Childish Things") and best song ("We Can't Make It Here").
Tennessee-based Farris' redolent voice and dance-driven stage energy taps into the black gospel tradition with horn-and-rhythm-fueled songs of salvation. Formerly a vocalist for The Screaming Cheetah Wheelies and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan's band, Double Trouble, Farris left pop behind to fight his own personal addictions. He burst back on the scene in 2007 with a new album and blues-inspired gospel band.
Third World came to be in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1973, making it one of reggae's most enduring acts. The band's sound is based in roots reggae, but the musicians are not afraid to mix in elements such as rap, dancehall, R&B, funk and pop.
Additional musical acts will be announced in coming days. All concerts are included with fair admission, which runs $10 at the gate or $7 in advance. Children 12 and under are admitted for free. Seniors 65 and older pay $5. Reduced adult admission, available from noon to 3 pm on Thursday and Friday of the festival, is $5.
For more information or for advance tickets, go utahartsfestival.org.