News Column

Powerhouses play Interlochen

July 12, 2013


July 12--INTERLOCHEN -- What do jazz singer Harry Connick Jr., the Steve Miller Band and rock star singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge have in common?

All three pop music powerhouses will perform at Interlochen's Kresge Auditorium in separate piggy-back concerts at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.

It wasn't planned that way, said Christopher Gruits, the new executive director of Interlochen Presents, which handles all of Interlochen Center for the Arts' entertainment scheduling year-round -- about 600 events, most of them student-faculty concerts. He said guest artist bookings for the Summer Arts Festival depend on performer availability and Midwest touring schedules.

Connick will perform on Tuesday evening, Steve Miller Band on Wednesday and Etheridge on Thursday.

Steve Miller Band, founded in 1967 in San Francisco and managed by Miller, is known for 1960s-1980s classic rock hit singles like "Space Cowboy," "Fly Like an Eagle," "The Joker" and "Abracadabra" and for several award-winning albums.

Miller, a prodigy who played with early Chicago blues musicians, was considered by some as a daring experimenter on the 1960s San Francisco music scene.

"I was so lucky to learn from Les Paul and T Bone Walker about musicianship and technology," he said last month, in response to a glowing review posted on the band's website.

This is the group's second appearance at Interlochen. The first was in 2009.

Connick made headlines earlier this year when he appeared as a mentor on "American Idol" amid rumors that he might be considered as a judge. He received both criticism and praise when he interrupted four Idol finalists for mangling Great American Songbook classics.

The multi-talented performer -- a singer, conductor, pianist, actor and composer -- has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. His Interlochen debut is part of a tour with his band in support of his new album release, "Every Man Should Know."

Etheridge last performed at Interlochen in 2002. The popular rock singer-songwriter and activist has released 11 studio albums, 33 singles and 29 music videos on Island Records. Included among her many awards is an Oscar for "Best Original Song" in 2007 for her song, "I Need to Wake Up," from the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

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