Roots Report: Be the Change

Okee dokee folks …”Be the change you want to see in the world.” That quote is evidently paraphrased from something Ghandi said, but there is no actual documentation of it. Regardless, it is something to strive for. This year, my girlfriend and I planted a garden for the first time in her front yard – good sun there. I have never been a fan of lawns. They are a waste of space, time and resources, and mowing, watering and “chemicaling” are all bad for the environment. We discussed making better use of the front yard and all the bad food being sold and it turned into, “Let’s plant a garden!” We started small, then added more and more. Now that the plants have grown in, the watermelon, pumpkin and cantaloupe patches have taken over a good portion of the rest of the grass. They are like rebellious adolescents who refuse to listen to authority. We’ve already eaten a lot of the homegrown veggies and we know their history. We can’t say that about grocery store produce. One of today’s issues is the uncertainty surrounding genetically modified foods (GMOs) or “frankenfood”. Monsanto is behind a lot of these creations, and many countries have banned them. Not here. Recently our government, with the help of many influential, monetized advisors, began the process of preventing the public from receiving information about these foods. It has been dubbed the “Dark Act.”

A couple of years ago I wrote a song about Monsanto and GMOs called “Food Fight.” Neil Young just released a whole album about this same issue titled The Monsanto Years. His recent concert at Great Woods (Xfinity Center or whatever it is called now) had a stage show recurring throughout the night that dealt with these questionable food sources. Unfortunately, I was not at the concert. I had a gig the same night and I still have a grudge against Great Woods for ejecting me from a Neil Young concert about 30 years ago, but that’s a whole ‘nother story! I got the lowdown on the concert and album from good authority, my band mate in Forever Young, Dan Lilley. I trust him in all Neil-related information.

Back to Monsanto. They use a lot of screwy things in their gene splicing. They combine plant and animal genes to make the plants better, which is VERY questionable. They also engineer plants to work with their chemical, Round Up, which is EXTREMELY BAD for us and the environment. PLEASE DON’T BUY or USE IT!!! I don’t believe there is any altruism in their efforts; it is all about the mighty dollar. They have sued small farmers whose crops have been cross-contaminated with their products (by mistake — nature happens). That is why we planted a garden; we are trying to be the change. Trying to get better at food. I know, I must stop my evil junk-food ways, too. Not just for me but for the world. I applaud Neil Young for taking the initiative and reenergizing protest music. More musicians ought to educate with their music. That was some of the beauty of REAL folk music, but that is getting hard to find. Where is Pete Seeger with his mighty axe? End of rant … for now. Read on…

Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland has a special concert set for Saturday, August 8. They will present legendary Irish musicians Matt Molloy, John Carty and Arty McGlynn on their first-ever US tour as a trio. Matt Molloy and John Carty explore the rich and varied tapestry of the flute and fiddle tradition of Ireland. Considered by many as the greatest flute player of our time, Molloy has been a member of the Bothy Band and Planxty, but is best known as the flutist for the Chieftains. Born in London, John Carty established himself among the elite of Irish traditional musicians with three solo fiddle albums, two banjo albums and two group albums. Both Molloy and Carty are recipients of the prestigious TG4 Musician of the year Award, the highest honor in Irish traditional music. They are joined on tour by Ireland’s number one guitar player, Arty McGlynn, who has played with Planxty, Patrick Street, De Danann and the Van Morrison Band. For more, jig on over to

This is for all you kids in a high school or college rock band. Guster is coming to Lupos Heartbreak Hotel on Thursday, November 5 and they want YOU to open for them. Guster got their start in a Tufts University dorm room, but it wasn’t until a 1992 show opening for national band Jackopierce where they started to realize that Guster could be a real thing. When they started to think about who should open for them on their fall tour, they decided that it was the perfect time to return the favor and invite a local high school or college band to open each concert. They will be collecting entries until Monday, September 7 and announce the openers on Wednesday, September 16. The majority of your band must be enrolled in college or high school. Opening bands will get PAID! To enter the contest, Barrel of a Gun over to

Sandywoods in Tiverton has back-to-back shows that you’ll want to check out. Jen Chapin, daughter of the legendary musician Harry Chapin, carries on the musical name and legacy of her father on August 14. Her songs resonate with the influence of her famous father with similar subject matter, but that is where the similarity ends. Jen has a style all her own: urban folk. She usually has the backing of her husband Stephan Crump on bass guitar. The headliners of last year’s Providence Folk Festival, Robin Lane and Andy Pratt, will share the bill for a night of music — old and new — on Saturday, August 15. It’s a misconception that both artists peaked 30-40 years ago. Some of their best songs are recent. Robin is known for her songs “When Things Go Wrong” and “Why Do You Tell Lies?,” her backing vocals with Neil Young, and videos on MTV. Andy is well known for “Avenging Annie” and “Summer, Summer.” If you liked them back then you will LOVE them now. They only come down to the RI area MAYBE once a year. Get nostalgic and get to the show!

Sandywoods has a Contradance on Wednesday, August 19. Calling is by Tod Whitemore, music is by French Connection with Deck Neiforth on harmonicas, Dan Lanier on fiddle, and Mike Fischman on guitar and mandolin. All dances are taught and called with no partner necessary. For more about all of these shows, Shiver In The Night over to

The Johnny Watson Jr. Blues Band will be at The Parlour on August 7. The Blushing Brides will satisfy you at Manchester 65 on Friday, August 7 ( The Downtown Sundown Series at Roger Williams National Memorial on Saturday, August 8 brings in Kristen and J, Sara Azriel, Dan Dodd, and John Larson ( The Courthouse Center for the Arts has a tribute to Joni Mitchell on Friday, August 14 and The Bluegrass Gospel Project on Saturday, August 15 ( Seamus Galligan and Mike Laureanno play the Paskamansett Concert Series at the Dartmouth Grange on August 8 ( The Tuesday Night Summer Concert Series at the Wickford Town Dock, 55 Brown Street, has The Driftwoods on August 11 at 7pm. It’s the The Bluegrass Throedown every Wednesday night at Nick-A-Nee’s. On August 12 is Acousticana, August 19 is Whiskey Boys and August 26t is Four Bridges. Atwater-Donnelly play a 6pm outdoor concert at the Brownell Library in Little Compton ( The Mediator Stage Open Mic is back on Thursdays. Host Don Tassone runs the shows and brings in weekly feature acts. August 13 features Meryn Flynn, and on August 20 it’s Mitchell A. Kaplan (

That’s it for now. There is still time to donate and help fund The Providence Folk Festival on August 30th. Go to–2#/story Thanks for reading.

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