Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot will play Lowell Summer Music Series on June 24. COURTESY PHOTO
Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot will play Lowell Summer Music Series on June 24. COURTESY PHOTO

He's been a Stray Cat, an orchestra leader and a solo artist, but Brian Setzer has never been to Boarding House Park in Lowell.

That will change this summer when the guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy Award winner performs there Sunday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the 2018 Lowell Summer Music Series. Tickets, which are $49 in advance and $149 for premium seating, go on sale Friday, Feb. 16, at www.lowellsummermusic.org.

If it feels like Setzer has been around forever, then you must be a child of the MTV Generation. Stray Cats were all over MTV in the channel's formative years, with videos for "Rock This Town" and "Stray Cat Strut," both of which hit the top 10 on Billboard's pop singles chart in 1981, and "(She's) Sexy + 17," which made the top 5 in 1983.

Miss Mary Ann and the Ragtime Wranglers will open for Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot. COURTESY PHOTO
Miss Mary Ann and the Ragtime Wranglers will open for Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot. COURTESY PHOTO

The band broke up in 1984, and Setzer started working with other acts as a sideman, including Robert Plant with the Honeydrippers. (He also portrayed Eddie Cochran in the 1987 movie "La Bamba.") He formed the Brian Setzer Orchestra in 1990. Their biggest hit would be their cover of Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive an' Wail" in 1998. It won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

The Lowell show is branded Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot, which plays off his 2014 solo album "Rockabilly Riot! All Original."

Setzer has sold more than 13 million records, and received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award throughout his career with the Stray Cats, Brian Setzer Orchestra and a solo artist.


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He inducted Chet Atkins into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and performed at the White House in 2006 for President George W. Bush.

It's a long and decorated career, and now it comes to Lowell.

As a quick aside, I saw the Brian Setzer Orchestra close to 20 years ago when he opened for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Manchester, N.H. Setzer really puts on an impressive show, with a distinct voice that somehow blends rockabilly, swing and many other elements, including jazz.

The opening act will be the Dutch rockabilly band Miss Mary Ann and the Ragtime Wranglers. They've played all over the world at festivals in the U.K., Australia, Spain and here in America in their 20 years together, so it should be a fun evening!