Dierks Bentley Plays KeyBank Pavilion; Pittsburgh Intl. Jazz Fest Hosts Marcus Miller and Shemeika Copeland (Fri., 6/15/18)

1) Vanderbilt University is one of the nation’s finest, and while many college-bound youths enroll there to become scientists or scholars, young Dierks Bentley chose Vanderbilt for a different reason: it’s in Nashville. The hard-working undergrad from Phoenix, Arizona, earned his B.A. in 1997, officially studying English and the liberal arts while unofficially pursuing the highly competitive art of country music. By 2001, Bentley had progressed from fighting for open-mic slots to cutting an indie album. That release, Don’t Leave Me in Love, didn’t sell much but is now a collector’s item. It led to a contract with Capitol Records Nashville, which led to Bentley’s self-titled platinum album in 2003, and the rest is history. Bentley has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, and not having won one yet probably has him feeling like soap star Susan Lucci, who was nominated for a Daytime Emmy 18 times before eventually winning one. So hang in there, Dierks! Bentley is on his Mountain High Tour in support of his album The Mountain, which was released on June 8. You can catch him at KeyBank Pavilion with Brothers Osborne and LANCO. 7 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (EC, RH)

2) The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival takes over the Cultural District June 15-17, with a full slate of free noon-until-night concerts Saturday and Sunday at outdoor stages on Liberty Avenue and Smithfield Street. Launching the festival is a free TGIF show by the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at 5:30 p.m. Friday the 15th. Then right after that comes the festival’s sole indoor, ticketed concert: bass guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller at the August Wilson Center. Brooklyn native Miller comes from a musical family, and though he’s a classically trained virtuoso on the clarinet, he is perhaps best known for his pioneering jazz/fusion work on the bass. Miller has collaborated with notables ranging from Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie to  David Sanborn and Luther Vandross. He has won several Grammy Awards for his producing work and is a Pittsburgh favorite for his live-on-stage work. Miller’s newest album is the June 1 release Laid Black. His Jazz Festival show is sold out, so check your aftermarket sources and/or generous friends for tix. Other free concert highlights include shows by Shemeika Copeland, Gregory Porter, Kenny Garrett, and Pedrito Martinez. 7:30 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

3) Bob Dylan once said of listening to a Gordon Lightfoot song, “I wish it would last forever.” The man widely thought of as America’s greatest songwriter was paying homage to the man who is almost universally acknowledged as Canada’s best. Lightfoot is credited as a major influence in the folk-pop sound of the ’60s and ’70s. He’s had multiple singles cracking the top five on the US charts, one of his most memorable being “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” a memorial to a freighter that went down in Lake Superior in 1975. Another is 1970’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” which reached No. 5 on the U.S. Charts. Lightfoot’s songs have been covered by everyone from Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash to Sarah McLachlan and Toby Keith. 8 p.m. The Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (EC, RH)

4) Founded in 2014, Ladyfest is an annual three-day, DIY event, which features and empowers female musicians. Pittsburgh-based performers include The Lopez, Garter Shake, little good bad (+ -), and Blak Rapp Madusa. The festival also includes some out-of-town acts, such as the Alice Bag Band, fronted by Alice Bag of the ’70s L.A. punk scene. Over 30 acts will play this year’s festival. Friday through Sunday, June 15–17. Performance times and locations vary. (CM)