Roots Report: Comedy Series, Folk Fest and Other Shows to Close the Summer

Okee dokee folks …The other night I was in Pawtucket to tape an appearance on the cable access show, “An Hour with Bob.” For some reason I always get lost in Pawtucket, even with a GPS, so I just don’t go there very often. Avoidance is the best solution! Anyway, if you have never seen the show, you should check it out. You can view lots of local celebs, musicians, chefs, politicians and newsmakers. On the air for over 23 years, “An Hour with Bob” is one of the longest running local television shows in Southern New England. Besides, Bob is a character and watching him can be pretty entertaining. He can talk (talk, talk, talk) about anything, and does! “An Hour with Bob” is basically a talk/variety show that is VERY local and has a LOT of (Bob’s) personality. Dial up Bob at bobsadventures.com or find him on the telly, Thursdays at 11pm, Fridays at 10pm and Saturday at 1pm on Cox 13 or Fios 32.

One of the guests on this installment of Bob was Joe Rocco, who you may remember from his days as a TV sportscaster. Now he is the producer of the Newport Comedy Series. The Newport Concert Series lost its home when the Newport Yachting Center was sold at the end of last year. Fortunately he found a suitable home for those funny folks — the Newport Hyatt on Goat Island. This is a plus for comedy aficionados. There is on-site parking, the venue seats are comfy, it’s air conditioned and there is a restaurant and bar so you don’t have to go into downtown Newport at all. The bridge is just around the corner for easy on and off access. This arrangement doesn’t limit the series to the summer months either. The performances go into November with appearances by Paula Poundstone, Lenny Clarke and Natasha Leggero. Their next show is one you will definitely NOT want to miss — the queen of the “D-List,” Kathy Griffin. Griffin’s live shows are largely improvised with the comic gossiping, going off on tangents and telling stories from her outrageous experiences in Hollywood. You have TWO chances to have Griffin tickle your funny bone. She will be doing 7pm and 9:30pm shows on Friday, August 2. Laughter does a body good and Griffin will make you laugh — a lot! We all could use a good dose of that. For more, chuckle your way over to NewportComedy.com. Hey, Joe and Bob, don’t forget the “www”!

The second annual Providence Folk Festival will take place on Sunday, August 30 at Roger Williams National Memorial in Downtown Providence. This year’s headliners are folk fan favorites The Nields, and Cliff Eberhardt. Vocal quartet, Sync or Swim will kick off the day with fun a capella renditions of popular tunes. Other main stage performers are Dan Lilley with his band, The Keepers. They will be joined by Amy Bedard on violin and vocals. Kala Farnham and Co., Tiffany Rozenas, Shamanic, Cardboard Ox, and Motif Award Winners The Rank Strangers round out the music on the main stage. The RI Songwriters Association stage features Marc Douglas Berardo; Lara Herscovitch; Jacob Haller; father of Motif Award Winner, Lisa Couto, Michael Couto; Motif Award Winner Jan Luby; Alissa Musto; Grace Rennick; Carolyn Waters and the Generations duo. The festival is FREE. Food trucks will be on North Main Street or you can pack a picnic and stay for the day. Come out and experience some great music in the most historical setting in the state. For more, What Cheer over to HearInRhodeIsland.com.

It may be coming up on summer’s end, but you can still Reach The Beach at the Narrows Center for the Arts when The Fixx come to town on Saturday, September 5. The British rock band that formed in London in 1979 recorded “One Thing Leads To Another,” “Saved By Zero,” “Are We Ourselves?” and “Secret Separation.” The unforgettable vocals of Cy Curnin never fail to deliver the sonic authenticity their fans have come to expect. Who can forget the MTV generation videos of “Stand Or Fall” and “Red Skies At Night”? Judy Collins is a major interpretive singer and one of the quintessential folk figures to emerge in the ’60s. At the age of 75, she is still writing, performing and nurturing music that lights up the world and speaks to the heart. A few years back I opened for her in Newport and she played a very memorable show. Her versions of other writer’s songs are timeless: “Send In The Clowns,” “Both Sides Now,” “Someday Soon,” “Amazing Grace,” “Bird On A Wire” and much more. Will you go see her … Thursday, September 10? What have you got to lose? I HAD to sneak a LITTLE Suite: Judy Blue Eyes reference in there! This is about as intimate of a performance as you are going to get by an artist of Judy Collins’ stature.

Just want to mention one more show at The Narrows. About 30 years ago I went to a Triumph concert at the Providence Civic Center. It was by far the LOUDEST concert I have ever been to. Fortunately by then I was regularly wearing ear plugs to shows. BTW, if you don’t protect your hearing from LOUD MUSIC you will regret it in later years. OK, that was my PSA for hearing. Anyway, Rik Emmett gained international recognition as the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the band Triumph. In celebration of Triumph’s 40th anniversary, Emmett will present a special night of their music: “Rik Emmett: An Acoustic Night of Triumph and More.” With five gold and platinum recordings, decades in the music biz and induction into the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame, Rik Emmett has a lot to sing about. Considering this is an acoustic show, I don’t think the volume will be quite as loud as it was back in the ’80s at the Civic Center! “Lay It On The Line” and “Fight The Good Fight” Saturday, September 26. For more, use your “Magic Power” to get to NarrowsCenter.org.

Read quickly so I can squeeze these in. The 17th Annual Pawtucket Arts Festival presents the Blackstone River Party/Taste of The Valley on Friday, August 28 (see our story at motifri.com/taste2015). Food samplings from regional restaurants are the appetizer to an evening of music from the Shiny Lapel Trio and Zydeco tunes from Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-chas under the dance tent and on the Slater Mill grounds (PawtucketArtsFestival.org). The 2nd S.A.M. Festival happens at Slater Mill on August 29 and 30 with The Young Adults, James Montgomery, Jon Butcher Axis, DW Funk All Stars and more (SlaterMill.org). The J. Geils Band will be Southside Shufflin’ into India Point Park on Saturday, September 5. If you want to “Blow Your Face Out” then get to NewportWaterfrontEvents.com. At the Historic Warren Armory on September 4, you can contra dance to caller/guitarist, Tod Whittemore and Life On the Ocean Wave (EastBayContraDance.com). On Saturday, September 5, the Durham County Poets, an Ontario group specializing in terrific harmonies will perform bluegrass, doo-wop and early country songs at the Wamsutta Salon Concert series (wepecket.com).

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com

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