In Central Oregon, free concerts are not only plentiful, they also frequently feature high-quality artists, especially in the summer. Next week is no different, with two excellent roots-oriented acts performing in two very different environments. First up, Portland's Y La Bamba will play its sublime Mexican-American folk-pop at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for the sun-drenched crowd at Les Schwab Amphitheater (344 S.W. Shevlin Hixon Drive, Bend). Preview the band at www.ylabamba.com and then show up to see why Luz Elena Mendoza is one of the most alluring frontwomen in indie music. Then at 7 p.m. Wednesday, McMenamins Old St. Francis School (700 N.W. Bond St., Bend) will host the return of the lovable Bobby Bare Jr., whose abundant, excellent stories (he's the son of veteran country star Bobby Bare) and catalog of catchy but off-kilter songs make him one of the most entertaining dudes in roots-pop-rock. Find him at www.bobbybarejr.com. Free live music, right? Right! Be there.
— Ben Salmon