Cedar Outdoors presents FREE music on the patio!

It’s officially summer, and time once again for free music on The Cedar’s patio. This is the third year of Cedar Outdoors, and this year we’ve expanded it and are drawing from even more national touring acts. I’m actually really excited about the great line-up we’ve been able to put together, so I thought I’d give you the blow-by-blow, complete with video previews.

This year we’ve gone away from a specific evening. Instead, beginning this coming week, we’ll have one per week but on varied nights of the week. We decided to be more concerned about which nights the bands we wanted were routing through, rather than try to slot everything in to Thursday nights (last year’s designated evening), for example.

As it turns out, the first one is coming on Thursday, June 30, with the Chicago-based bluegrass quartet The Henhouse Prowlers. The Prowlers stick largely to a traditional bluegrass approach, with banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass, and those classic three-part harmonies. I saw them last year at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, where they were finalists in the new band competition, and was duly impressed. Expect something like this, without the hot tubs!

Next up, on July 5, are our friends Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings. If you have not seen this trio of guitar, rope bass and washboard, you really need to check them out live. Their very American roots blues is a lot of fun. Check out this Brass Kings classic, and I dare you to listen it without tapping your foot!

We’ll stay in the trio vain for July 10, but this time three women who met at Bennington College in Vermont and found a common passion for acoustic vocal music. You’ll find roots in folk and Americana, but sometimes I’m also reminded of sister bands like The Roches when I hear these three sing. This is Mountain Man:

That takes us in the direction of “acoustic folk indie,” and this next quintet epitomizes this major music movement happening worldwide. Acoustic but upbeat, with a “collective” approach to music-making and fan involvement, many of these bands cultivate an enthusiastic commitment from their fan-base (complete with full-on audience sing-alongs), which is nothing short of infectious. One such band is the Colorado-based Dovekins, who hit the patio on July 21:


Typhoon, from Portland, OR, starts with this idea and makes every part of it bigger. Bigger band (12-piece), wider range of instruments (electric plus brass and strings), and epic songs. But in the end it’s still about everybody joining in and getting into the spirit of feeling so, so good. Hey, it will be worth it just to see how they all will fit on our patio on July 25!

We’re back to the local well when we present a staff favorite from this past winter’s 416 Club Commissions series. Saltee brings together cellist Jacqueline Ultan with local guitar guy Bill Mike, and rapper/beat-boxer Carnage. An unlikely trio, one that puts seemingly disparate parts together into something that really works. On August 5.

And finally, here’s a late addition for Tuesday, August 9. Amy LaVere is a gorgeous singer and stand-up bassist who combines a variety of American styles. Her new album (“Stranger Me”) is already getting some attention and will be streaming on NPR’s First Listen in mid-July. She’s one of those artists on the way up that you may well be marveling at how you saw her on the intimate Cedar Patio back in 2011!

There you have it, seven great free patio shows to get y’all through the summer. And don’t forget, we’re still having quite a few regular shows inside over the summer months as well. Peruse the schedule here!

(a repost of The Patio Life blog post by Main Figurehead).