Roots Report: The Gift of Music

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Okee dokee folks… During this time of year it is tough to be a local musician or run a local music venue. Even the most loyal music fans get preoccupied with shopping and holiday parties, and their available entertainment budget shrinks.

For some local musicians, performing is their livelihood and if people don’t go out, gigs get canceled. Some coffeehouses don’t even have concerts as it gets close to Christmas because they know it’s pointless. Even Christmas-themed shows have trouble luring people in. So, what can you do? Go to the shows! Even if you have a party to attend, hit a show after. I know that it can be tough to do two things in one night but TRY! Plan a gathering around a music event. Make it a holiday get-together with friends. And tip your performer!

If you just can’t get to a show, you can still support local musicians by buying their CDs. Many performers also supplement their income with art or craft items that you can find on their websites. ALL of these make great gifts and keep the artists from going poor during the Christmas season. If you want to help the venues but can’t attend performances, buy tix to upcoming shows for gifts. Better yet, make a donation to the venue; most coffeehouses are 501(c)(3) non-profits and you can take a tax deduction on your donation. Supporting live local music is a year-round thing. Please try to keep your music calendar full this season. Read on for some suggestions.

Musicians aren’t the only ones who get left out in the cold during the holiday season; sometimes it is animals. The third annual Rock and Roll Christmas Show to benefit Stand Up For Animals will take place on Sunday, December 6 at 6:30pm at the Bridge Restaurant in downtown Westerly. Scheduled to perform is The John Speziale Band, Amie Coffey, Sandy Allen and Keith Cowley. Stand Up For Animals is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working collaboratively with the town of Westerly to take in unwanted or surrendered pets in the community. Don’t miss a fun night of live music, a silent auction and a visit from dancing Santa — all to benefit animals! Donation is just $12. For more, sniff over to standupforanimals.org

In Rhode Island, the weather is a constant topic of discussion. We love summer and fall and wait expectantly for the slow-to-arrive spring, but more than anything, Rhody folks love to complain about the brutal winters. Some folks get through it with extra doses of coffee, others by holing up with a movie and a seasonal local brew. The Sparkling Beatniks get through it with comedy and music! As Rhode Island enters another winter, the Empire Revue gets everyone ready with Winter: The Musical!. Keith Munslow and The Sparkling Beatniks are performing a full-on original musical celebrating the struggles and delights of Rhode Island’s toughest season. Get to AS220 on Sunday, December 6 at 8pm. Music by the Superchief Trio. Special guests include Jesse Baede, burlesque by Bettysioux Tailor, Denise Moffat and Elizabeth Kaiser. Empire Revue is hands-down one of the best shows you are ever going to experience anywhere. Get there early. For more, shovel over to AS220.org

Music at Lily Pads in Peacedale has a A Christmas Concert and Singalong on Sunday, December 13 at 7pm. For the past nine years, Liam Robinson and Jean Rohe have been performing The Longest Winter: A Christmas Concert and Singalong. Annually hosted in their Brooklyn home, it is always teeming with friends and neighbors and is full of good food,  drink and beautiful music. This year, they bring their winter music to Lily Pads, complete with a gorgeous set piece — a triptych of paper-cut light boxes designed by illustrator Andrew Benincasa. Robinson & Rohe go deep into the Christmas repertoire — the mystical, the melancholic, the soulful and the sublime. Jean Rohe (guitar, vocals) and Liam Robinson (banjo, accordion, vocals) let their finely crafted songs shine in detailed arrangements and elegant harmonies. Robinson & Rohe performances are intimate gatherings in which listeners are invited to share in the music-making. Sharing the bill on this night is incomparable Ian Fitzgerald. For more, deck the halls to musicatlilypads.org

On Saturday, December 5, Grace Morrison makes her Stone Soup debut with Caroline Cotter opening. Both are New England- based singer-songwriters who have been receiving acclaim for their appearances and their CDs. Grace Morrison is an award-winning Cape Cod-based singer/songwriter. Caroline Cotter is a Portland-based winner of the 2012 Maine Songwriters Association Songwriting Contest. Grace is an incredible talent, mixing seemingly effortless musicality and original storytelling in the folk and Americana genres. Caroline Cotter’s first national release, Dreaming As I Do, is both playful and profound. For more, snowball to stonesoupcoffeehouse.org

Finally, for your consideration, are more entertainment options! The East Bay Contra Dance happens on Friday, December 4, at 7:30pm at the Warren Armory. On December 5 at the Brooklyn Coffee Tea House, RISA presents Saturday Songwriter Sessions with Chuck Williams, Kayla Ringelheim and Ralph DeFlorio, hosted by Greg Klabon. Music in the Gallery presents The Boxcar Lilies on December 17 at the Wamsutta Club on County Street in New Bedford. The Boxcar Lilies are Jenny Goodspeed (electric bass, guitar), Stephanie Marshall (washboard, guitar) and Katie Clarke (clawhammer banjo, guitar). They made a name for themselves with their signature mix of folk, country and bluegrass-tinged Americana music. For more, write to korolenko8523@charter.net. Also on the 17th, James McMurtry will be at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River. McMurtry is a rock and folk-rock singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional actor, known best for his unparalleled powerhouse performances and his expressive lyrics. Also coming up at the Narrows is the Rusted Root Holiday Show, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Doobie Decibel System, New Riders of the Purple Sage and much more (NarrowsCenter.org). As always, Chan’s in Woonsocket has a full schedule of great bands. Coming up are Albert Cummings, Peacheaters — Allman Brothers experience, Cory Pesaturo and Friends, Commander Cody Band, Jimmy “2 Suits” Capone Christmas Extravaganza and Through the Doors (chanseggrollsandjazz.com). On Wednesday, December 30, the rock and jam band O.A.R. will take the stage at Fete Music Hall for the first time ever. The Maryland-based band has sold over 1.2 million records, released eight albums and toured the world, selling out arenas from Red Rocks Amphitheater to Madison Square Garden. This show is part of the “You Pick the Set Tour.” The band’s setlist will be curated by their fans each night, by voting for your requests at ofarevolution.com. Tickets are on sale now at fetemusic.com and $50 from each ticket will be donated to charity.

That’s it for now. I’d love it you all came the the Grange on Wednesday, December 9. Ed McGuirl and I will be playing music for the folks at this fine eating establishment! Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com

One response to “Roots Report: The Gift of Music”

  1. Jax Adele says:

    Awesome! Providence Improv Guild (P.I.G) also has a show on Saturday at 8pm which features their Musical team lead by Keith Munslow – Musician/Storyteller. I highly recommend it as I will be hosting. 😉 For more info –> PIG MUSICAL (SATURDAY NIGHT DESIRE) & House Team ADULT CRUSHES!

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