There's no voice more English than that of Maddy Prior. Strong, clear and ancient in timbre, it carries the spirit of British folk music with a thoroughly modern sense of assurance that performs as well backed by rock guitars as it does without any accompaniment at all. Prior first came to fame as the vocalist for Steeleye Span, a crossover folk-rock ensemble of the distant '70s, but neither the voice nor the lady has lost any steam. Pipe and fiddle player Kathryn Tickell opens the show for Prior tonight at 7:15 at the Denver Botanic Gardens outdoor amphitheater, 1005 York St. Tickets are $19 ($16 DBG members); call 777-3836.
Last year's inaugural Denver Blues Festival--cheap, fun and pleasingly down-home--was a rousing success, and it's back for year two with a stunning three-day spread. The outdoor music event, taking place in the Golden Triangle on Acoma Street between 11th and 12th avenues, once again offers a varied smorgasbord of blues styles (and street food) at reasonable prices. The Fabulous Thunderbirds and up-and-coming blues belter Susan Tedeschi headline tonight; living legend Son Seals and the Kinsey Report head up tomorrow's all-day bill; and Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, the gospel-derived Holmes Brothers and Crescent City rocker Jumpin' Johnny Sansone put the fest to bed Sunday. Gates open at 5 p.m. today and at noon Saturday and Sunday. Daily admission ranges from $5 to $10, but the $16 weekend festival pass might be the best way to go; call 329-6353 or 1-800-517-SEAT.
Frank McCourt's wonderful memoir Angela's Ashes bagged a Pulitzer, as well as a whole lot of dough. Now it's his brother's turn to stand in the limelight. Storyteller extraordinaire Malachy McCourt is getting raves for his own droll autobiographical account, A Monk Swimming, which follows the witty Irishman's rite of passage from the time of his arrival in New York at the age of twenty. McCourt shares some of his wit at a Denver Press Club Book Beat luncheon, starting at 12:15 p.m. at 1330 Glenarm Pl., and again at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover, 2955 E. 1st Ave. The Press Club luncheon is $10; call 571-5260 for reservations. For more on the Tattered Cover event, call 322-7727.
Women artists looking for wider recognition and a louder voice in their community speak for themselves with Streams of Consciousness, an exhibit of two- and three-dimensional works by women--and a few men--sponsored by the Women's Caucus for Art. The juried show travels tonight to the Edge Gallery, 3658 Navajo St., where an opening reception takes place from 7 to 10. See the exhibit through July 5; call 477-7173.
The Five Points community comes together for a weekend of good times during Juneteenth '98, the annual event that celebrates the freeing of Texas slaves. This year's street fair, called "Reaching for the Stars in the Next Millennium," takes place along Welton at 27th Street , where vendor booths, live entertainment and soul food will reign over the thoroughfare from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow. Today's festivities kick off with a parade, while tomorrow's are dominated by a soul-stirring Gospelfest beginning at 1; for information call 832-3770.
Bandleader Buddy Miles has seen more than his share of them changes, but none have slowed him down. Over the years, the veteran R&B drummer and singer has walloped away behind the Delfonics and Wilson Pickett, with Michael Bloomfield and the legendary Electric Flag, as part of Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies and, in more recent years, on a recording with Bootsy Collins. Miles pounds the skins at 9 tonight at the Aggie Theater, 204 College Ave., Fort Collins. Tickets are $8; call 1-970-407-1322.
It's the season for free concerts in the parks, and they do proliferate. One of the nicest is City Park Jazz, a festive, lakeside-picnicker's paradise of a series that offers shady trees, camaraderie, dog-walking opportunities and great local music on a lazy summer evening. Which is more than enough. Freddy Rodriguez and the Latin Crossover Band make the music tonight beginning at 7 at the City Park Bandstand. Admission is free, so mosey on over with your blanket and picnic basket; for details call 778-1971.
If you're gonna go retro, you've gotta look the part, and Dallas rockabillies Kim Lenz and Her Jaguars have the look down. But pegged jeans and leather jackets are only the wrapping on a very wild package: Lenz and her boys truly know how to get the joint rocking. Go, cats, go, to the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., tonight at 8; for tickets, $6, call 322-2308, or log on at www.ticketweb.com.