Would you like some beach music? Well, that means different things to different people. In the Carolinas, it means 1960s and 1970s R&B. To others, it is the Beach Boys, the Ventures, Jan & Dean, the Safaris and anything else that emanated from the California coast in the mid-1960s. I believe any of this week’s big four shows would make great headphone music at the Jersey shore, even though they cover country, rock, soul and jazz-rock.
For many, it wouldn’t be summer without Jimmy Buffett and his laid-back folk/rock/country style, which he perfected after busking for a living in the 1970s. Now 71, Buffett records infrequently — his last album was 2013’s “Songs From St. Elsewhere” — but cashes in each summer, usually before sold out crowds. If tickets are no longer available for Buffett’s show Thursday night at the , at 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, there are lots for sale on the resale market.
Although the band won’t acknowledge it directly, the Coral Reefers has eight or nine must-play songs in every set, including “Fins,” “Margaritaville,” “A Pirate Looks at 40,” “Come Monday” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” For this show, fans also can expect to hear a handful of cover tunes by the likes of Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles, Bob Marley and Mac McAnally plus tunes from 13 of Buffett’s 24 studio albums.
On the surface, Buffett’s life seems carefree and easy, but a closer look shows him to be the author of children’s and adult’s books, a Broadway producer, an actor on “Hawaii Five-O” and “Jurassic World” and a restaurateur (with the food chains Margaritaville Café and Cheeseburger in Paradise).
Show time is 8. Tickets are $36-$146. Call 856-338-9000.
What did Arthur Conley sing/ask? “Do you like good music, sweet soul music?” Then you should be heading to the Dell Music Center, at Ridge Avenue and Huntingdon Drive, Philadelphia, Thursday night for the Kem, Tamar Braxton and Damien Escobar concert.
Kem (real name Kim Owens) burst upon the music scene after Motown Records released his independent album “Kemistry” in 2001 and saw it move 500,000 copies. The single “Love Calls” was big back when people still bought singles.
In 2005, Kem’s follow-up CD “Album II” also sold more than 500,000 copies, behind the single “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” The stars aligned for a time, but it was a long road for him to 2014’s “Promise to Love” album and this tour. Concertgoers Thursday should expect to hear an overview of Kem’s songs.
In the middle of this soul bill is Tamar Braxton, who got her start in 1996 with her sisters in the Braxtons, but whose 2000 self-titled CD bombed. Her appearance on the reality show “Braxton Family Values” has boosted her cache, so she is back on tour supporting the album “Bluebird of Happiness” and its singles “Blind,” “Pick Me Up,” “My Man” and “Bluebird of Happiness.”
You may not think you know Damien Escobar, but you might. The violinist was the youngest student ever admitted to Julliard at age 10. He graduated at 13 and joined his brother in the violin duo Nuttin’ but Stringz, which you may have seen take third place on “America’s Got Talent” in 2008. Now a solo act, Escobar has released the album “Boundless” (2017) with the songs “Phoenix,” “Night Drive,” “Power” and “Awaken.”
Show time is 7. Tickets are $25. Call 215-685-9566.
STEELY DAN/DOOBIE BROTHERS
Chances are, if you like Jimmy Buffett’s laid-back beach sound, you will also find Steely Dan’s smooth, jazz-rock style appealing. For the length of the band’s career, Steely Dan was the duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, backed by the best session men available at the time. That changed last September, when Becker passed away.
Fagen wanted to continue playing the duo’s music, but under another band name. He was advised against it, for commercial reasons, so Steely Dan is coming to the BB&T Pavilion Wednesday night (and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel Friday). Oddly, the band will not be performing any songs from the last two studio albums “Two Against Nature” and “Everything Must Go.”
Instead, fans will get an 18-song set featuring the long-time favorites “Aja,” “Peg,” “Hey Nineteen,” “Dirty Work” and “Reeling in the Years.” Two Fagen solo songs have been on recent set lists, but no Becker solo pieces. Perhaps the addition of some traditional jazz tunes is Fagen’s way of honoring his late partner.
Opening the show with some good old rock and roll is the Doobie Brothers. This lineup features Tom Johnstone on lead vocals, which means concertgoers will not hear any Michael McDonald compositions like “What a Fool Believes.” (Interesting fact: McDonald backed Steely Dan in the early days, before becoming the Doobies’ lead singer in 1975.)
That said, the group will offer up the hits “China Grove,” “Black Water,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “Jesus is Just Alright” and “The Doctor” during its 15-song set. For those who haven’t kept up with the band’s new albums, the Doobie Brothers issued “Southbound” in 2014, re-imagining the hits with the help of country stars Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Sara Evans, Vince Gill, Zac Brown Band and Toby Keith.
Show time at BB&T is 7:30. Tickets are $25-$199.50.
Show time at PNC Bank Arts Center is 7:30. Tickets are $29.50-$129.50. Call 732-203-2500.
She may not be as well known for her summer concerts as Kenny Chesney or Toby Keith, but Kellie Pickler’s show Friday night at the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, at 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, will put you in a great mood.
Whether she is singing her signature tune “Red High Heels” for its woman-empowering idealism or rocking out on the anthemic “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” Pickler will have you hanging on every word. She also can evoke Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline on “Stop Cheatin’ On Me” or tug at your heartstrings with the what-if song “I Wonder.” And let’s not forget her reality TV show theme song “No Cure for Crazy,” with which any audience can identify.
Some of you may only know Pickler from “American Idol” (she finished sixth) or from winning “Dancing With the Stars” in 2013. She also co-hosts the morning show “Pickler & Ben” on the CMT network and had her own reality showl, “I Love Kellie Pickler,” which drew huge ratings.
An avid supporter of the military, Pickler has done numerous USO shows. Her debut album “Small Town Girl” sold 900,000 albums, pushing her to release three more, including the latest — 2013’s “The Woman I Am.” Among her newest songs are “Little Bit Gypsy,” “Someone Somewhere Tonight,” “Selma Drye” and “Bonnie and Clyde.”
Show time is 8. Tickets are $20. Call 609-441-0007.
ALSO APPEARING THIS WEEK
Thursday: Third Eye Blind, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 8, 45-$75; Jag Panzer, Sellersville Theater, 8, $21.50; Byrne & Kelly, World Café Live, 8, $38-$40.
Friday: Barry Manilow, Borgata Casino Event Center, 8, $109-$249; Theory of a Dead Man, Harrah’s Atlantic City Casino, 8, $27-$37; Joe Grushecky, Sellersville, 8, $21.50-$29.50; Rebelution, Stone Pony, 5, $34.50-$39.50; Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Tropicana Casino, 9, $49.
Saturday: Foo Fighters, Struts, BB&T Pavilion, sold out; Barry Manilow, Borgata Casino Event Center, 8, $109-$249; Mercer County Jazz Festival with the Baylor Project, Cure Insurance Arena, 1 p.m., $20; Rebolution, Festival Pier, 7:30, $37.50; Dick Fox’s Golden Boys (Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell), Golden Nugget Casino, 9, $9, $55; Puddle of Mudd, Saving Abel, Sponge, Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino, 8, $27.50-$44.99; Da-Bangg (Bollywood show), Prudential Center, 8, $64-$505; Southside Johnny, Stone Pony, 5, $36.50-$50; Dan Montgomery, World Café Live Upstairs, 8:30, $10.
Sunday: Eric Steckel, Sellersville, 7:30, $19.50-$29.50; Theory of a Dead Man, Stone Pony, 7, $18.
Tuesday: Chuck Prophet, Sellersville, 8, $21.50-$29.50; Barber, World Café Live, 8, $20-$22.
Wednesday: Home Free, American Music Theatre, 8, $29.50-$49.50; Armored Saint, Sellersville, 8, $25.