Mayan Prophecy: The Band Plays On!

Okee dokee folks… “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!”

Mark your calendars now.December 21st, 2012is it! Only about 350 days to go, make them count. How could a thousands-year-old prediction be wrong? Live it up and enjoy life. Music makes life enjoyable (for me anyway) so go hear music-preferably LIVE, LOCAL music.

If you want me to help you make those 350 days count and get folks to your shows, then get me your press releases or don’t bitch that I didn’t write about your show! What I mean is send me a real press release via email, not Facebook. Facebook doesn’t count. (Facebook is constantly “upgrading” and annoying me and there are just too, too many events to go through. Get the info to me 3 weeks prior to the event. This means you have to plan your event properly. If you can’t, get out of the business!

Preferably I would like an actual CD to listen to your music, but write to me first and ask me if I want/need it. Here is the e-mail address: risongwriters@yahoo.com Please follow-up to make sure that I got the E or the snail-mail. I know I always say this but the squeaky wheel really DOES get the grease!

Rambling time! These tough economic and changing times are really knocking the wind out of some of the local coffeehouses. They are all feeling the pinch. One in particular is Stone Soup. The Soup has weathered 31 seasons and prevailed. But the past year in particular has been very tough. Over the years, they have hosted some of the best performers around. We need venues like Stone Soup to present folk and acoustic music and to keep the intimate stage alive for our music enjoyment and to carry on the traditions of this type of venue. It’s amazing how many people will spend $100 on a ticket to see some “big name artist” (using that term loosely) at an arena just to sit in bad seats, watch the entire concert on the jumbo screen TV, pay $20 to park, $8 for a beer and then $40 for a T-shirt. These same people wouldn’t think of giving the smaller venues a chance and spending a whopping $20 total for an entire night out! Maybe the perception of the coffeehouses needs to change. It seems that if the performer isn’t a household name that gets talked about on TMZ or an American Idol winner then they aren’t worth going to see. Makes me think of an old (very old) Alka-Seltzer commercial, “Try It, You’ll Like It!” If folks did give these venues a try, they would be amazed how much they would like it.

Anyway, I am rambling and just spewing out thoughts and ideas. So, what can we do to fix this problem? Look at the ads and listings in Motif. We have most, if not all, of the area shows published. I try to highlight the music that I think you’d enjoy. Go to a few and give them a chance. Get on mailing lists to keep up on particular artists and venues. Open up your mind…and your wallet. In Stone Soup’s case, they are doing a fundraising appeal.

You can make a donation by sending a check to: Stone Soup Folks Arts Foundation, Treasurer, PO Box 1664, Pawtucket,RI02862or you can just go to the Stone Soup website, www.stonesoupcoffeehouse.com, and use the PayPal link. While you are there, check out the schedule of shows. Adam Ezra on Jan 14th and The Kennedys on Jan 21st are just two of the concerts coming up that you can contemplate attending. As I mentioned some, if not all of the local coffeehouses could use some extra oomph in the $ department. I forgot to mention that these venues are run by VOLUNTEERS. Not as to single or leave anyone out (I hope I didn’t) you can also check out Peeptoad Coffeehouse, Lily Pads, Common Fence Point, Blackstone River Theatre, The Mediator, The Brooklyn Coffee & Tea House, The Narrows, The Coffee Depot Open Mic, and The Church Street Coffeehouse. You can find more info about these in the ads and listings here in Motif or just keep reading here, I get around to all of them eventually!

Three Tall Pines

This time of year, most of the pines that you see are the carcasses of Christmas trees left by the side of the road waiting to be hauled off to fill already full landfills. If you want to see Three Tall Pines that would never be left by the side of the road, then cross the big ole Braga bridge and head on over to the Narrows Center for the Arts on Thursday, Jan 12. Named 2011 Bluegrass Band of the Year by the Motif Magazine, Three Tall Pines is an award-winning, bluegrass andAmericanaquartet from the heart ofNew England. Though their faces are young, the group’s timeless originals and interpretations of traditional songs persuade listeners that bygone eras were just a short while ago. Impressive instrumentalists in their own right, they transcend their diverse musical backgrounds to achieve soulful harmonies and sensitive performances that draw audiences in and leave plenty of space for the story to shine through. The members of Three Tall Pines make diverse contributions to the quartet’s unique sound. Bourdeau and Lurgio provide the raw material, offering up carefully crafted original songs, each with its own unique content and character. The quartet works as a group to shape each tune, seeking out ways to enhance and embellish its message. Lurgio’s classic, brilliant mandolin sound, Smith’s colorful, classic and bluegrass inspired fiddle, and Pangaro’s powerful rhythm and stylistic versatility all serve to enrich each heartfelt melody.

Recently, the band recently released their second album, All That’s Left, in October and it was recorded in one room in a “live” setting with production assistance from Avi Salloway (RI native) and Charlie Rose and help from their musical friends in Della Mae (Celia Woodsmith and Jenni Lyn Gardner), Gabe Hirsfeld, and many others in the Weary Traveler Chorus. This record contains all new, original material with most of the songs written as collaborations between Bourdeau and Lurgio. As with their first album, they have focused on presenting finely crafted songs supported by strong harmonies within innovative arrangements. Three Tall Pines opens for Acousticana at theNarrows. Acousticana plays American roots music on acoustic instruments. They take the best of the American songbook and filter it through varied musical influences to create a sound that’s both respectful of tradition and refreshingly new and inventive. This show will surely have a rootsy kind of feel to it. Head straight over to theNarrowson Thursday, Jan 12. Three Tall Pines will also perform at Blackstone River Theatre on Feb 4.

Netflix for the 99%

I recently watched a Netflix DVD that I highly recommend viewing. Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune. If you don’t know who Phil Ochs is, well you should and this DVD will take care of that. In this era of the “Occupy” movements, a man like Phil Ochs would be a treasure. He was a singer/songwriter who sang real protest songs back in the ’60s and ’70s. He performed, protested and hung out with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and the usual cast of counter-culture characters. Unfortunately, Ochs took his own life in 1975. He left behind many songs that would still be appropriate today. We could use another man like Phil Ochs singing for the 99%. Maybe this film will inspire someone to take up the cause.

Show Me the Music

Now to fill your calendar a bit more: Garnet Rogers will be at Peeptoad Coffeehouse on Friday, Jan20. Acharismatic performer and singer,Rogersis a powerful physical presence – close to six and a half feet tall – with a voice to match. With his smooth, dark baritone, his incredible range and thoughtful dramatic phasing, he is widely considered to be one of the finest singers anywhere. Peeptoad is located at theNorthScituateBaptistChurch,619 West Greenville RoadinNorth Scituate. For more info “rabitt” over to: www.fosteringArts.org. I’ll stay with “Amphibians and Their Habitat” for $1000, Alex. At Lily Pads on Saturday, Jan 7, the two-time Juno Award winner (that’s Can-eh-dian for Grammy) and Canadian Folk Musician of the Year, Jayme Stone and his band, (www.jaymestone.com) will play in front of the big guitar tapestry. Opening the show will be Travelin’ Light, with guitar maestro Ron Murray and percussionist Robert Malin. For more about this show hop, hop, hop over to www.musicatlilypads.org. There’ll be a Gnomeland Security Concert on Saturday, Jan 7. Dance with The Gnomes at The Mediator,50 Rounds AvenueinProvidencefrom7:30-10pm.Taking off your shoes, full frontal x-rays and cavity searches not required.

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