Roots Report

Okee dokee folks… I played a gig down in Charm City last week. That is Baltimore for all you not in the know. Don’t worry; I wasn’t in the know either. I split the night with the current president of the Songwriters Association of Washington (SAW), Jean Bayou. I told her I was the former president of the RI Songwriters Association. She asked, “How did you quit?” I told her that after 20 years of acting as president (on and off), you burn out and you just do!

In my 25+ years of performing (that’s been on and off too – seeing a pattern here?) I have played around the Northeast/East Coast and here and there around the country. One thing that I have learned is that in a place as small as Rhode Island you have to play out of the area as much as you can. It is very easy to overplay an area, especially RI. It’s an awesome feeling when someone is excited about hearing you for the first time. All of you performers out there should try it more!

While I was in Baltimore I ventured to DC as well. I was with my friend Kristin, who lives in Baltimore but works in DC. She gave me the tour. Last time I was in DC it was for the North American Folk Alliance Conference during a heavy snowfall in the winter of 1996. Didn’t do too much sightseeing then! This time I was able to visit the monuments. Kristin videotaped me playing guitar in front of the White House and other landmarks. I am trying to make a music video for a new song that I wrote and hope to get on YouTube sometime soon. While I was playing near the FDR monument, a group of women came up to me and wanted me to play a song for them. It was a group of bridesmaids; they were nothing like in the movie. I performed the only real love song that I have. I felt it was apropos as it is the song from my CD that has been played at weddings. Several smart phones recorded the performance and I am sure that it’s on a Facebook page or YouTube somewhere. They were thrilled that I played for them and I was thrilled that they were thrilled. Nice feeling! I savor those nice feelings I get about performing. It reminds me why I play music when a gig doesn’t go so well.
Speaking of… You all will let me know how I did emceeing the Motif Awards, won’t you? By the time you read this, I will have already done it. I may be in hiding though. Anyway, May is here and it is the transitory month when the coffeehouses start to close for the summer and the festivals start happening. Read on to find out more!

OK, I don’t have a lot of room this month so I will just get to the must see shows. From the “Read It and Run Department:” If you are a fan of Steely Dan then you must get to the Odeum in East Greenwich on Saturday, May 4 for the tribute band, Hey Nineteen‘s debut gig. Royal Scam your way to theodeum.org for more. If you like knitting, baton twirling, and great folk music then get (quickly) over to Theatre 82 in Cranston for two nights with Christine Lavin on May 3 and 4. Theatre 82 is located at 82 Rolfe Square. For more, purl to artists-exchange.org.

May 18 seems to be the magic day this month. Ready? Begin. Stone Soup Coffeehouse holds a night of music, dancing, raffles, desserts and of course, coffee on May 18. This fundraising concert starts at 7 pm and features foot-tapping dance music by The KC Moaners and The Providence Wholebellies. Hazel Nut your way to stonesoupcoffeehouse.com for more.

The husband-wife duo of Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish from Charlottesville, VA, aka The Honey Dew Drops, will be playing at the Sandywoods Center for the Arts in Tiverton on Saturday, May 18. Their music covers the ground between hand crafted folk songs, Appalachian fiddle tunes and a cappella spirituals. Look for their Silver Lining at sandywoodsmusic.com. Three of Rhode Island’s best and younger roots acts, The Silks, The Sugar Honey Iced Tea and James Maple, hop into Music At Lily Pads on Saturday, May 18. Splash your way to musicatlilypads.org. 

On Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, The Artist’s Exchange in Cranston presents the In The Round Square Music Festival featuring Ashley Root, Tracie Potochnik, Ian Fitzgerald, Ray Cooke & Lisa Couto, Kate Jones, Jack Kennedy, Brian Minisce, Sara Azriel, Daniel Chase and more. Event host Steve Allain says, “Everyone on the bill is f**king awesome!” For more, circle your square over to artists-exchange.org.

Celebrate John Chan’s Birthday on May 31 with the Love Dogs at Chan’s in Woonsocket. The band’s soulful rock and blues are perfect for the party. Pop over to chanseggrollsandjazz.com.

Looking ahead: On Sunday, June 2 at the Narrows in Fall River, Dave Davies, founding member of British rock band The Kinks will make a rare appearance for an intimate show. Look out for this one; it’ll surely be a sell out. Lola over to ncfta.org for more.

I just want to remind the folky/singer-songwriter type performers out there that the One-Day-Mini-NERFA (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference) is coming up fast. It will be held at URI on June 1. You can get more than you bargained for at risongwriters.com.

Oh, I have started a monthly series at The Met in Pawtucket. It’s called “Voices Under Cover.” It’s a new show that will bring together some of the area’s best singer-songwriters to honor some of the great singer-songwriters of our time. All of the songs played will have been written or made famous by the featured singer/songwriter. The first performance will be on May 15 with Warren Zevon’s music being covered. The lineups are set until August but if you are interested in being part of this at some point in the future, please let me know. Go over, under and all around to hearinrhodeisland.com.

I want to write a quick RIP to Richie Havens. He died of a sudden heart attack on Earth Day, April 22. He was only 72 years old. Of all the performers that I have had the honor to share a stage and work with, Richie was by far the nicest, most genuine and talented. He will mostly be remembered for his opening set at Woodstock but he did so much more. He sang with a passion, energy and richness that few have ever matched. If you never had a chance to see him live, you truly missed something special. richiehavens.com   

In closing: I am an animal lover so if you are looking for a dog, please go to the Super Dog Adoption Day at Morning Star Horse Farm at 2415 Tower Hill Road in Saunderstown on Saturday, May 4 from 10am-4pm. Call 295-4100 for details. Please send me your event info. and press releases at least one month prior. I whittle it down for this column from over 25-30 pages of text I collect every month! Thanks for reading.

johnfuzek.com

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