Tim McGraw Performs at First Niagara; Jeff Tweedy Serenades the Arts Festival (CPs Fri., 6/6/14)

1) Contemporary country music singer Tim McGraw is performing at First Niagara Pavilion tonight, and this superstar needs little in the way of an introduction. His sound is prototypical when we think “country music”: a deep, drawling voice singing wistful, All-American lyrics backed by acoustic instrumentation (and yes, with a bit of twang). The son of professional baseball player Tug McGraw Jr.,  Tim has been a singer-songwriter for over 20 years now. He’s won more accolades than one ought to spend time counting, including three Grammy Awards. Additionally, he and his wife, Faith Hill (also part of the contemporary country music pantheon), have put their star power behind a number of charitable endeavors. If you’re a fan, you’ve probably already bought your ticket; if you’re not, seeing him perform could make you one. Joined by Kip Moore and Cassadee Pope. 7 p.m. 655 Rt. 18, Burgettstown.

2) As the front man and leader of alt-rock band Wilco, Jeff Tweedy has really made a name for himself over the past 20 years. He joins us for our annual Three Rivers Arts Festival with an acoustic solo set on the Dollar Bank Stage. Though his band has been highly praised for its experimental take on the alternative rock genre (including Grammy wins), in his solo performances, Tweedy dons the guise of an acoustic folk singer-songwriter. With no prior knowledge of his work, one could easily mistake this approach as his default mode and natural musical habitat. With a voluminous catalog of songs, a penchant for skilled, complex guitar work, and a rich, oaky voice, Tweedy is in his element. As always, the Arts Fest is free for all—so take advantage of it! 7:30 p.m. Point State Park, Downtown.

3) New Hampshire-born singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne performs at Stage AE. LaMontagne celebrates a prolific career, having just released his fifth studio album in 10 years, titled Supernova and produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. At times buoyant and at times downbeat, LaMontagne showcases a real vocal talent that’s raspy and gravelly. His genre isn’t easily identifiable—sometimes bluesy, sometimes folksy, and sometimes a curious hybrid of several genres—but he’s always equipped with a story to tell and music to ease the soul. Whether caught in the throes of a doomed affair (“Jolene”?) or the spark of new love (“Supernova”?), chances are LaMontagne has a song in his repertoire to fit your mood. Joined by Belle Brigade. 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.

4) Comedian Craig Shoemaker takes the stage at the Pittsburgh Improv. Shoemaker is a purveyor of observational comedy, including relatable jokes about pop culture, parenthood, and nostalgia—as well as many other topics. Although his subject matter doesn’t mandate raunchiness, his twisted sense of humor is inextricably entwined in his comedy; likewise, his stand-up is decidedly “fun.” A voice actor by trade, Shoemaker uses spot-on impressions (his coked-out Barney Fife impression is on point), and often engages the audience beyond the clichéd “what’s-your-name, where-you-from.” With a career spanning more than 25 years, Shoemaker has received numerous awards for his stand-up performances and recently was featured in his own special on Showtime. He has guest starred in a number of television shows, including NBC’s popular “Parks and Recreation.” Following his planned retirement from stand-up at the end of the year, Shoemaker will focus entirely on his inspirational Laughter Heals initiative. 8 and 10:15 p.m. Through June 8. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

5) The Pittsburgh Pirates take a shot at the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. Get there early for Free Shirt Friday. 7:05 p.m. 115 Federal St., North Shore.

6)  Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn features a variety of visual and performing arts at galleries, clubs, and restaurants along Penn Avenue (4800-5500) in the Garfield, Bloomfield, and Friendship neighborhoods. 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. Most events are free.

7) Good Fridays at the Warhol is a weekly party at the museum, featuring art exhibits, music, and cocktails in the high temple to Andy Warhol’s numerous talents. Half-price museum admission. 5 – 10 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Shore.

8) On the first Friday of the summer months, the Frick Art & Historical Center has its First Fridays concerts. Tonight’s featured group is local pop rockers Meeting of Important People.  While there check out the antique cars in the car and carriage museum. The Frick Art Museum is also open during the event. Music, art and antique cars, all for a suggested donation of only $5 per adult; no admission charge for children. You can also purchase food and beverages from the cafe which is housed in a quaint cottage on the grounds, or bring your own picnic food. Music starts at 7 p.m. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze.



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Dan Hoyt

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