Director’s Chair: Vilar offers master of American music
Editors note: Directors Chair is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.The Vilar Performing Arts Center closes out the 2008 summer concert series next week with two terrific shows. On Monday, musical legend Al Green will perform for a very fortunate 550 people. Green rose to prominence in the 70s with his incomparable voice, full of falsetto swoops and nuanced turns of phrase. One of the most gifted purveyors of soul music, Green has sold more than 20 million records. During 1972 and 1973, he placed six consecutive singles in the top 10. A recent review by Bob Gendron in the Chicago Tribune had this to say about the concert tour: Somebody say Amen!… soulful deliverance came in the form of the Rev. Al Green, who raised spirits with a rousing concert steeped in classic R&B, gospel devotion and supreme showmanship. For Mondays concert Green will be backed up by a 15-piece ensemble including his daughter on backup vocals, 12 R&B musicians and two dancers. His latest album, Lay It Down, was released in May of 2008 and includes tracks featuring John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae and Anthony Hamilton. I think this album is as good as anything Green has recorded, and thats saying a lot. You can hear several tracks from the new record on his MySpace page. The entire album holds a special place on my iPod, and I look forward to hearing him perform them live along with his biggest hits. On Sept. 5, John Hiatt, a true master of American music, returns to the Vilar Performing Arts Center along with his new band The Ageless Beauties. An extraordinary songwriter, Hiatt has been honing his craft for over 30 years, and the expanse and breadth of his music is awe-inspiring. Even if you havent followed his career as a performer, you will know his songs. Theyve been covered successfully by renowned artists including Bonnie Raitt (A Thing Called Love), Suzy Bogguss (Drive South), Rosanne Cash (The Way We Mend a Broken Heart), Jeff Healey (Angel Eyes) and Aaron Neville (Feels Like Rain). Other artists who have used Hiatts songwriting skills include Ronnie Milsap, Eric Clapton, BB King, Iggy Pop, Three Dog Night and Bob Dylan. His 20th album, Same Old Man, was released in May and it finds Hiatt reflecting on a long career of songwriting, touring and recording. Critics have praised the album, writing Hiatt is a master storyteller and Same Old Man is clearly a milestone record a songwriter at the top of his game taking stock of where hes been and where hes going. We are pleased to welcome him back for this encore performance, which is sure to feature music from this latest album along with his greatest hits. The evening will open with special guest star Joan Osborne and her band. Osborne gained widespread popularity with the hit single One of Us. Her audience grew significantly with her appearance at Lilith Fair, which placed her in the same school of female singer-songwriters as Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan. Her performance in the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown showed an uncanny ability to cover and interpret Soul and R&B with her sultry, bluesy vocals. Her latest album, Breakfast in Bed, features unforgettable interpretations of timeless R&B classics like Aint No Sunshine, Midnight Train to Georgia, Kiss and Say Goodbye and Natural High, along with six of her own new songs. I hope to see you at the theatre for this, an impressive conclusion to the banner summer 2008 concert series.