Labor Day concert at Deer Valley
September 4, 2009
The 2009 St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concert series comes to a close with the seasoned, funny, poignant and "alternative" music of three singer-songwriters: Robert Earl Keen, Jill Sobule and John Doe. The back-to-back-to-back sets, presented by the Park City Performing Arts Foundation (PCPAF), will fill Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater on Monday, Sept. 7 (Labor Day). Gates open at 4:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6:00.
"Our mantra for the past few months has been ‘Yes, we KEEN.’ It took a grassroots effort to get these three incredible storytellers who also happen to be adept at getting a good party started onto the Deer Valley Resort stage and we have to thank the community for making it happen," says PCPAF executive director Teri Orr. "Robert Earl Keen, Jill Sobule and John Doe are the perfect combination of talent, individuality and pure fun to mark the end of another summer season of music in the mountains."
Headlining the show, country-folk, fan-favorite Robert Earl Keen lends humor to rollicking and introspective tunes. The Texas-bred musician has been writing, recording and touring for decades just like his Texas A&M buddy, Lyle Lovett, with whom he penned "The Old Porch." Keen’s first album came out in 1988 and he’s regaled fans with a spectrum of tales about everything from dip (tobacco) to traveling the Southwest since then. He has a gift for capturing images as well as putting on a full-throttle, fun-lovin’ show. His most popular songs, "The Road Goes on Forever" and "Farm Fresh Onions," have earned him die-hard followers.
As Rolling Stone puts it "[Keen is] a writer with a novelist’s eye for character and narrative detail comparable to forerunners like John Prine, Guy Clark, and Kris Kristofferson. He’s got an equally sharp ear for catchy melodies and first-class backing musicians " His pen-wielding finesse aside, Robert Earl Keen is an entertainer. "The Texas singer-songwriter thrilled the downtown crowd with a set that roared out of the gate, turned a bit more contemplative in the middle section, and then partied its way into the night," writes Iowa City’s The Gazette. Keen’s newest album, "The Rose Hotel," is slated for release in late September.
Contrasting Keen’s country-rock style, the witty Jill Sobule delivers some serious, social commentary in a folk-flavored, pop package. With a knack for storytelling, Sobule first launched to the top of the charts in the ’90s with the hit "I Kissed a Girl," which was followed by another tongue-and-cheek tune, "Supermodel." Her music covers everything from climate change to anti-Semitism, but she’s not one to hammer audiences over the head with preaching. The messages are there, but the music is fun and catchy. According to The New York Times, "Jill Sobule can claim her place among the stellar New York singer-songwriters of the last decade. Topical, funny and more than a little poignant [it’s] grown-up music for an adolescent age." Sobule recently released a fourth album funded entirely by her fans to the tune of $85,000.
The third piece of the song-writing pie is John Doe (née John Nommensen Duchac). The founding member of the Los Angeles punk band X departed from punk in the ’90s to launch a solo career, although he still plays with his former group. His rootsy, country-rock direction led to several acclaimed albums, including "Meet John Doe," "Dim Stars, Bright Sky" and "Forever Hasn’t Happened Yet." A bass player, poet and actor his roles span a range of flicks from "Road House" to "Great Balls of Fire!" John Doe’s most recent endeavor is a new album with Canadian indie group, The Sadies. His worn-leather voice (Paste magazine) has covered the gamut of musical genres, from 1970s punk to rockabilly. Like his Labor Day show colleagues, he, too, can spin a tale and pull out all the stops in terms of showmanship. As Entertainment Weekly puts it, his music is "rip-roarin’ and warm-hearted."
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Robert Earl Keen, Jill Sobule and John Doe perform for one night only in Park City. Though the stage will heat up from 6 p.m. into the night, be sure to bring a sweater. Coolers are permitted and a nine-inch chair height restriction is enforced. Cameras or recordings of any kind are strictly prohibited. Concerts will be held rain or shine unless inclement weather threatens public safety (tickets are non-refundable).
Tickets are $31 for general admission lawn seating and $56 for reserved seating (discounts are available for seniors and children 12 and under). Tickets are available at the Box Office (Main Street Mall street level 333 Main Street) and Deer Valley Signatures or Etc. stores (located on Main Street and at Deer Valley Resort please call 649-1000 for store hours). To order tickets by phone, please call 655-3114. Online ticket purchases may be made at http://www.ecclescenter.org.