Summer is almost over, which means it’s time for the fall tours to begin! Below are a few Boston-area concerts I am looking forward to in the upcoming months. This is a curated guide and by no means exhaustive. It features touring musicians whose albums I haven’t been able to stop playing this year, as well as Boston artists producing exceptional work of their own, and even a new festival. All of them belong on your fall calendar.
Gabriel Kahane | Sept. 16 | City Winery
I fell in love with Gabriel Kahane in 2014, when he released “The Ambassador,” a love letter to Los Angeles that seemed possessed by the ghosts of the city’s fraught and colorful history. Now, the composer and singer tackles the polarized American condition in “Book of Travelers,” a song cycle based on a cross-country Amtrak trip in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, and the conversations with strangers that unfolded there.
RISE Series | Sept. 27, Oct. 25 and Nov. 29 | Calderwood Pavilion
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's fall RISE concert series is its most exciting season yet. The series kicks off with the drummer (and Medford native) Terri Lyne Carrington, whose 2011 all-female project “Mosaic” earned her a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album and cemented her as a leading light in jazz. Next up is a split bill with two of the area's best emcees, Oompa and Dutch ReBelle, who — with the help of the Philadelphia singer Res — will bring Boston's happening hip-hop scene to the august setting of the Gardner’s Calderwood Pavilion. The inventive neo-soul singer Bilal rounds out the season.
BU Global Music Festival | Oct. 5 - 6 | Boston University
The inaugural BU Global Music Festival is shaping up to be something pretty special. (Full disclosure: WBUR is a sponsor.) The free event brings together top-notch musicians from all over the world, from the Boston-based Malian balafon player Balla Kouyaté to the Hawaiian singer Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole, whose music draws from hula practice and ancestral narratives.
Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers with Lucy Dacus | Nov. 8 | Orpheum Theatre
Though the singer-songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus possess distinct styles, they share a certain sensibility, writing deadly hooks with searing insights. Baker and Bridgers co-headline while Dacus supports, but expect to see the trio bust out some material from their upcoming EP as the indie rock supergroup Boygenius.
Kamasi Washington | Nov. 8 | Royale
The saxophonist Kamasi Washington is at the top of his game right now, as he tours on the heels of his critically-acclaimed album “Heaven and Earth,” which takes jazz to psychedelic, futuristic heights.
Billy Wylder | Nov. 9 | Oberon
Billy Wylder is the brainchild of Boston musician Avi Salloway, a former sideman for the Tuareg musician Bombino. You can hear the Nigerian guitarist’s jangly, polyrhythmic influence on Salloway’s rock songs, which draw on the protest traditions of both North American and West African music. Billy Wylder celebrates the release of its new album "Strike the Match."
Soccer Mommy | Dec. 7 | Brighton Music Hall
Soccer Mommy is the alias of Sophie Allison, a preternaturally gifted indie rocker from Nashville whose moody breakup songs flicker with acerbic wit. I’ve had her poignant, lacerating studio debut, “Clean,” on repeat all summer.
Jorja Smith | Dec. 16 | House of Blues
R&B is having a particularly fertile moment, with talented, forward-thinking artists like Solange, SZA and Frank Ocean leading the charge. The 21-year-old British singer Jorja Smith is perhaps the most talented vocalist in her cohort, possessed of a rhythmic inflection and supple tone.