2 Gary Clark, Jr., Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience
Hailed as the future of the blues after his 2012 breakout album Blak and Blu, the Austin-based guitarist lives up to the hype in fiery live performances. He struts and stalks the stage, rips and thrashes through solos, and sings a mean Delta blues but can also do sweet soul. The Zac Brown Band gets top billing on the Labor Day fest’s closing day, but Clark is a safe bet to steal the show. jazzaspensnowmass.org, 970-920-4996
14 Brad Reed Nelson, The Art Base
The Carbondale-based furniture maker gets the gallery treatment in this exhibition (through Oct 5) of his functional, quirky wood pieces. With his playful take on useful things, Nelson has produced Ping-Pong tables of finished wood, transformed tree stumps into tables, and made oversized pots that double as barstools. theartbase.org, 970-927-4123
19 California Honeydrops, Belly Up Aspen
Touring in support of the new double album Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2, the Bay Area band plays a funky, brassy, dance-friendly mix of R&B and soul (with a dash of swampy Southern washboard percussion). Bonnie Raitt tapped the Honeydrops to open for her on a recent North American tour. And if they’re up to her standards, well, you’d better check them out when they come through town. bellyupaspen.com, 970-544-9800
25–30 Aspen Filmfest, Wheeler Opera House
The surest way to get a head start on seeing the movies most likely to be talked about come awards season? Hang out at Filmfest, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Last year, Aspen Film’s noncompetitive festival screened Oscar nominees Lady Bird, Call Me by Your Name, and The Florida Project a couple of months before they played elsewhere, along with a thoughtfully curated mix of other independent, foreign, and documentary features.