Summer is the most bustling and lucrative season for the concert industry, and two national-caliber musicians will be in the Washington area Saturday.
First, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, jazz saxophonist Marion Meadows will be performing at the third annual Washington County Wine, Jazz and Pops Festival at North Strabane Township’s municipal park on Route 519. A native of West Virginia, Meadows gets regular spins on radio stations that play “smooth jazz” and has notched 13 albums in the 23 years since his 1990 debut. His most recent offering is “Whisper,” which was released in February. Meadows will be joined on keyboards by Will Brock, a Washington native who now resides in Philadelphia.
Sponsored by the county’s Mental Health Association, this is the first year the festival will be at the North Strabane Township location; the first two festivals were at the more remote Mingo Creek County Park in Nottingham Township. Other artists on the schedule during the two-day festival are the Washington Jazz Orchestra, the Washington Symphony Orchestra, Cello Fury and Bill Deasy.
Then, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the Mylan Classic golf tournament will wrap up with a concert by Ronnie Dunn at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, off Racetrack Road in North Strabane. The “Dunn” in Brooks and Dunn, the 60-year-old has been flying solo since he and Kix Brooks went their separate ways – apparently amicably – in 2010. Brooks and Dunn were easily the most successful duo popular music had produced since Simon and Garfunkel in the 1960s, selling 30 million discs and scoring 20 number one singles on Billboard magazine’s country chart.
Dunn’s first, self-titled solo disc, made it to No. 5 on Billboard’s pop chart when it appeared two years ago, and he will be following it with an as-yet untitled album in November.
With a can’t-miss-it tattoo that reads “Cowboy” running down his right forearm, which he got days before the final Brooks and Dunn concert, Dunn told Southern Living magazine that, whether he is solo or in a duo, “it’s always a challenge to stay relevant. Anyone in this business that preaches that he or she is in it ‘strictly for the art’ is trippin’ on their lemonade.”
The concert series built around the golf tournament started Thursday with a performance by regional nostalgia specialists Pure Gold, and will continue tonight at Southpointe Golf Club with Bon Journey, the combined Bon Jovi and Journey tribute group.
While the Dunn concert is taking place under the aegis of the Mylan Classic, it’s also part of The Meadows’ summer concert series, which has seen Weird Al Yankovic, the O’Jays and Gladys Knight making stops since June. Bill Cosby is scheduled for an Aug. 17 appearance.
The Ronnie Dunn show is “just one of the many artists The Meadows is able to attract as part of its concert series,” said Meadows spokesman Tom Meinert.
Information on the Washington County Wine, Jazz and Pops Festival is available online at www.mhwashco.org/wjp or by phone at 724-225-2061. Additional information on the Ronnie Dunn concert can be found at www.meadowsgaming.com or by calling 800-745-3000.