If the birds are chirping, the grass is growing and allergy season is in full bloom, that means we've also reached the final announcements of the 2017 Lowell Summer Music Series lineup.
To that end, we're announcing two shows today -- Randy Newman and Bruce Hornsby -- and one final show to be announced next week.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Newman will perform at Boarding House Park on Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $54 in advance and $154 for premium seats. Tickets go on sale Thursday, May 11, at 9 a.m., at www.lowellsummermusic.org.
This is the first LSMS appearance for Newman, a venerable singer-songwriter who has spent most of the past three decades-plus working as a film composer, but whose biggest hit (1977's "Short People," which reached No. 2 on the Billboard pop singles chart) had nothing to do with the movies. To show the kind of clout Newman has in the music industry, that song featured backing vocals from Glenn Frey, J.D. Souther and Timothy B. Schmit, Waddy Wachtel on guitar and Jim Keltner on drums.
His other big hit -- 1982's "I Love LA," which featured a million cameos of Hollywood stars and ended up as a tourism pitch and saw extensive usage during the Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals games -- was more of an MTV staple than a radio hit.
But it's his work as a film composer that really stands out. His film scores include "Ragtime," "Awakenings," "The Natural," "Leatherheads," "Meet the Parents" and "Seabiscuit." He has also scored seven Disney-Pixar "Toy Story" trilogy, "A Bug's Life," "Monsters, Inc.
He has earned 20 Academy Award nominations in the Best Original Score and Best Original Song categories, winning twice in the latter category. He's also won three Emmys, six Grammy Awards and is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Also worth noting is that the 2017 LSMS season pass is now on sale for $488. That's a 35 percent discount ($263) from the $751 it would cost someone to buy a single ticket to all 16 shows. The average price of a ticket this year is $44. The pass allows someone to attend each show for less than $29 per ticket. In effect, you get to see 17 shows for the price of 11. For local music fans, it's a great deal.
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers will perform at Boarding House Park on Thursday, Aug. 31, the start of the long Labor Day weekend. Tickets, which go on sale on Friday, May 12, are $40 in advance and $140 for premium seating.
This marks the third time Hornsby has played Boarding House Park, following shows in 2008 and 2015.
Hornsby is an overnight success who built a lasting career off the quality of his musicianship and the fact that he has made smart career choices. His debut album, "The Way It Is," spawned the title track, which topped the pop singles chart, along with "Mandolin Rain" (No. 4) and "Every Little Kiss," which reached No. 14 in 1986-1987.
The follow-up album, 1988's "Scenes from the Southside," put "The Valley Road" at NO. 5 on the singles chart and "Look Out Any Window," which reached No. 35. His third album, "A Night on the Town," had "Across the River," which made it to No. 18, his final top 40 single.
Though Bruce Hornsby & the Range, which recorded those first three albums, broke up after that third album, it allowed him to explore other musical genres beyond pop, including jazz and bluegrass.
His respect among his peers and the adoration of his fans have made Hornsby an enduring force on the live concert scene, making the Lowell show an anticipated one among music lovers.