Arts & Culture, Summer

Local KDPI DJs Weigh In on Sun Valley’s Summer Music Lineup

Live music abounds in Sun Valley in the summer, from big-ticket shows at River Run to smaller ticketed shows at the Liberty Theater and Whiskeys to the lengthy slate of free weekly music, like Wicked Wednesdays at the Wicked Spud, Ketch’em Alive at Forest Service Park, and Hailey Rocks at Hop Porter Park. This summer is no different, with an excellent lineup of concerts from the Sun Valley Museum of Art (SVMOA), the Arygros, Sun Valley, and more. To give you the inside scoop, Visit Sun Valley chatted with some radio DJs from local station KDPI—trust us, these guys know music.

Joining us were Sheila Moriarty, Brett Macubre, and Logan Frederickson from Mountain Music Menagerie (a weekly themed show curated by a group of friends on Thursdays from 7–9pm) and Caleb Horowitz (aka DJ Klondike) of The Good Show, described as “good music for good and bad people” (Wednesdays from 8–10pm).

Sun Valley Museum of Art: Old Crow Medicine Show and Lake Street Dive

The SVMOA summer concert series is always a season highlight, with past performances by artists like Wilco, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and more. Playing at the Sun Valley Pavilion on June 19 is folk band Old Crow Medicine Show, with bluegrass opener Molly Tuttle (described by many as one of the best six-string players on the planet) and her band Golden Highway. Old Crow has been playing folk/bluegrass for over twenty years, winning Grammys, being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, and going double platinum for their ubiquitous campfire singalong “Wagon Wheel.”

Sheila: I just saw something about Molly Tuttle, and she lived with Billy Strings [a fellow great guitar player] and his wife and [musician] Lindsay Lou lived across the street and they were all living together and having concerts at each other’s house, and that’s how she just kind of blew up in the last year. She was learning from the legends. And she was at Whiskeys last year.

Has anyone seen Old Crow?

Caleb: No, but I’ve heard that they’re great, and I think there’s a certain novelty factor for seeing “Wagon Wheel” done by the OG guys. They’ve been ridin’ that “Wagon Wheel” high for two decades.

Sheila: It’s gonna be like Coolio all over again—

Brett: He played “Gangster’s Paradise” at least three times.

SVMOA’s second concert of the season is Lake Street Dive, on their Good Together tour, performing July 30 at River Run. This acclaimed pop/soul group will perform from their discography of seven celebrated albums, including the just released Good Together. The members of this five-piece ensemble formed while attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, making them not only masters of their chosen crafts (vocals, bass, drums, keyboard, guitar) but also real-life friends, adding to the legitimate party feel of each of their live shows.

Caleb: Excited to see that one.
Brett: So excited.
Sheila: I saw them here like, eight years ago.
Logan: They have a great horn section touring with them this go around. The horn section is a band in and of itself.
Sheila: Brass makes everything better. I listened to a podcast with Rachael Price [of Lake Street Dive] and Andy Frasco, and she recorded an album with some jazz legend and was basically doing this residency in Manhattan and studying the history of jazz and being this badass beautiful singer. That made me respect her so much more, because she’s such a soul singer but she has an entire other genre of music that she does on the side.
Logan: I haven’t met anyone not excited about Lake Street Dive.
Sheila: That’s a show anyone can enjoy. Also, River Run is the best venue in Ketchum.
Logan: Riding a mountain bike up River Run while they’re sound-checking is pretty special.

Lake Street Dive – photo courtesy of SVMOA
Old Crow Medicine Show – photo courtesy of SVMOA

The Argyros: Paco Versailles, Lyle Lovett, and the Beach Boys

While the Argyros has numerous events this summer (from cover bands to a drag show to dance group BODYTRAFFIC), the heavy hitters that are a must-see for anyone are Paco Versailles, Lyle Lovett and the Beach Boys. Paco Versailles is making a return performance on July 6 after the duo rocked the house last year with their mix of flamenco guitar and disco-influenced electronic production—a genre they call “Dancemenco” (complete with an on-stage flamenco dancer).

Brett: They put on a great show last year; they had a flamenco dancer and then the best part of the show was the main guy’s DJ set in the small room upstairs after, which hopefully they do again. The lead singer is also from Capital Cities.

Another returning artist, and one who needs little introduction, is singer and composer Lyle Lovett, whose career spans numerous decades and 14 studio albums. Performing at the Argyros on July 11 with his Large Band, the country hit-maker has won four Grammys and numerous accolades in the span of his lengthy career.

Logan: Hell yeah! Went and saw him and his large band at River Run last year.
Sheila: So Argyros will probably be pretty special, being in a smaller space. And it sold out at River Run, so . . .
Logan: I think it’s probably pretty unique for him to play that small a venue, especially with his large band.

Also performing this summer are the Beach Boys, on August 19. Though they, too, need little introduction, the Beach Boys, who celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in 2012, are still going strong. With a discography of almost thirty albums and countless hits, there’s a tune for everyone from this band that forever changed the musical landscape. 

Paco Versaille – photo courtesy of The Argyros
Lyle Lovett – photo courtesy of The Argyros

Sawtooth Valley Gathering

While not in Ketchum proper, this multi-day music fest in Stanley on June 20–23 brings together over 30 local, regional, and national bands of varying genres, all playing unbelievable sets against the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains. In addition to headliners like Andy Frasco & the UN, the California Honeydrops, Kitchen Dwellers, ALO, and Donavon Frankenreiter, there are also food trucks, workshops, and arts and crafts vendors, as well as late-night sets to keep the party going.

Logan: Frasco will be late night, peak energy.
Sheila: ALO’s late show will be great; for them to be in that small a venue is a big deal. Andy Frasco used to play in town a bunch. I used to have no respect for him as a musician because he’d come to town and get sh*t-faced, which was cool, but you see it three times and that’s enough. But I love his podcast, where he just interviews other musicians [Andy Frasco’s World-Saving Podcast] and now I feel like we’re friends at this point and I know him so well; he has gotten objectively better as a musician after hanging out on the jam band scene and getting to know all the true musical legends and learning from them and applying that to what he does—he purely wants to entertain people and have a good time, while a lot of people want to play music and have a good time.
Logan: Now he has a hydraulic piano; it raises and it’s got a smoke machine in it. Nothing could be more Andy Frasco. He almost dies every time, I feel like. One misstep and he could be seriously injured; it’s exciting.
Caleb: Kitchen Dwellers are playing too.
Sheila: They’ve been on the slow up-and-up for a while.
Brett: Keller Williams is going to be there.
Sheila: An absolute legend; I’ve probably seen him 15 times. He’s awesome because he loops everything and will play like, 20 instruments himself.
Logan: He has some funny songs, silly lyrics.
Caleb: Steve Poltz is coming back.
Sheila: Is that the guy who’s always at High Sierra?
Caleb: Yeah, the guy with the long, silver hair. He’s pretty great. He’s got his gimmick.
Brett: Cassandra Lewis, out of Portland, is coming; she’s really cool.

Sun Valley Music Festival: Yo-Yo Ma

While each summer’s lineup of the classical music festival is spectacular, this year’s biggest draw is the 40th anniversary celebration with world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, performing August 5 at the Festival’s only fundraising concert. This will be Ma’s Sun Valley debut, where he will perform Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B Minor with Music Director Alasdair Neale leading the world-class Sun Valley Music Festival Orchestra.  

Logan: Who’s not going to that?!Sheila: He’s an absolute legend.
Caleb: He’s the GOAT.
Sheila: Did any of you guys listen to Goat Rodeo Sessions? It was him and three other classical musicians playing folky renditions.
Logan: It’ll be really special.
Brett: The level of classical musicians that we get here in Ketchum is insane.
Sheila: I really love going to the symphony and feeling far more sophisticated.
Logan: Argyros is great for that too, with their classical performances.

Baldy Bluebird Music Festival: Midland and Grace Potter

This summer, Sun Valley Resort and RJK Entertainment have teamed up to put on the first annual Baldy Bluebird Music Festival, on July 4 and 5 at River Run, with day one featuring performances by Midland, Charlie Worsham, Axel Diehl, and a special fourth of July fireworks display after the concert. Headliner Midland is a double Grammy-nominated country band, who will perform hits from their three studio albums as well as their latest single, “Old Fashioned Feeling.” Other July 4 performers are American country music singer and songwriter Charlie Worsham, a former member of Old Crow Medicine Show, and Sun Valley native Axel Diehl, playing songs inspired by the American West.

On day two of the festival, singer-songwriter and Grammy nominee and festival headliner Grace Potter takes the stage to perform songs from her latest release, Mother Road, inspired by a solo cross-country road trip Potter took in 2021. Also performing on July 5 are Americana/folk country singer-songwriter JD Clayton and local alternative country band The Pisten Bullys.

Brett: Grace Potter is amazing, she’s incredible live.
Logan: Grace Potter is great.
Brett: I would love to be her. I’m sad to miss it. JD Clayton is playing before her, which should also be great. The second day is more like blues rock vibes and the first day—Midland and their openers—are more like pop country.
Caleb: I’d say JD Clayton’s worth checking out, pretty good blues-rock country. My buddy played keys for him on his last tour.
Sheila: Grace Potter is like, blues power woman.
Brett: And legally blind! The first time I saw her, she closed with “War Pigs” [by Black Sabbath] and it’s like, it takes a lot to pull that off, and she did, and it was great.
Sheila: She’s got a song for every feeling.
Caleb: She’s got a pretty large catalog at this point; she’s been hot for quite a while.
Brett: Talk about also something for everyone; probably a little more rock than Lake Street Dive, but similar.
Sheila: It’s just modern bluesy rock.

Grace Potter – photo courtesy of Sun Valley Company
Midland – photo courtesy of Sun Valley Company

There’s truly no better way to enjoy summer in Sun Valley than listening to live music outdoors, among friends, with the beautiful Idaho mountains in the background. Whether you’ve already gotten tickets to every one of these surely memorable concerts (or need to—buy them now!) or have just one or two that you plan to slate into your summer lineup, Sun Valley’s summer music lineup promises to be one of its best yet. 

To get you in the mood for the summer music lineup, we’ve put together a Spotify playlist.

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