Roots Report: I Rest My Case

Okee dokee folks… Yesterday, one of my friends brought up the topic of hearing protection. A little over a year ago I wrote a column about that subject and like I have done many times over the past year, I sent them a link to the column I wrote on that very matter. Hearing protection is something that folks should take seriously. You don’t really want to spend your life with ringing in your ears or constantly saying, “Huh, what did you say?” during a conversation. Do yourself a favor if you are a musician, music fan or constantly find yourself in loud situations, read this article!

I tend to always have some kind of project going on. I like to build and make things and am bit of a case fanatic. I like everything to have a case. But sometimes this is cost prohibitive. Cases are not cheap and sometimes can be just as expensive as the item they are meant to protect. This doesn’t always work for a frugal person like me, so I often just make my own. Last week I was constructing a case for a stage monitor. While I was doing this I decided to try out the Music Choice channel on cable TV instead of the usual quiet that I like while working. There are a zillion choices to narrow down, and I felt like Goldilocks trying out the stations. One was too hard, one was too soft. When I thought I had found the one that was just right — classic rock (surprise, surprise) — I used it as my manufacturing soundtrack. At first I was getting into the music that came from the TV and occasionally I got sucked into the band “fun facts” that flashed on the screen with each new song. As time passed, I noticed that they have a very small well of performers fro which they draw. There was a lot of Rolling Stones, Yes, Springsteen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rush and Led Zepplin. For some reason there was even more David Bowie. It didn’t take long for the “fun facts” to get repetitive as well. As much as I enjoy these artists, some more than others, the song selection and frequency of repetition is one of the reasons I stopped listening to mainstream, terrestrial radio. I tried to switch it up a couple of times and select new musical styles, but they just didn’t work for me. Back in the good old days of radio, DJs played songs that they just thought were great songs. Selections weren’t chosen by an algorithm or corporate overlords. I used to love to hear a deep album cut or a cool song they had discovered. A lot of my favorite music comes from the introductions I received through radio. I also loved hearing local bands on the radio. My friend Greg Bass hosts a Facebook page called The RI Area Music Archive ( Here you can find lots of recordings from local bands of yore. Just the other day there was the discussion of the band MX. I used to love a song of theirs that was frequently played on WBRU. I am pretty sure the name of the song was “Underground Radio.” That song was a local “hit” about 30+ years ago and was in regular rotation on that station. The first time I ever heard Lisa Loeb was on WBRU and it was when she was a local and was part of the duo Liz and Lisa. Radio used to mix it up and give you tastes of many styles. At one time you might hear Jonathan Edwards’ “Sunshine” followed by J. Geils’ “Must Of Got Lost” (and you would TRY to recite Peter Wolf’s opening monologue along with it!) and closed the set out with the entire side of Yes’ Close To The Edge.

Life has become so compartmentalized that it is hard to find comfort outside of your own little niche — music, politics, coffee, lifestyles, whatever. A little introduction, exposure and a well-rounded life palette can make you a bit more accepting and tolerant, and may even get you to enjoy new things. Read on…

Here is something to try. Down at Common Fence Music in Portsmouth, Erin Young is mixing it up this season and bringing in some great multi-cultural music. A few months ago, she presented an Iranian group that was amazing. On Saturday, April 7, there will be a performance by the Malian music group Trio Da Kali. The ensemble unites three outstanding musicians from the Mande culture of southern Mali who come from long lines of distinguished griots (hereditary musicians): vocalist Hawa Kass Mady Diabat, master balafonist Lassana Diabat and bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyat. Though originally formed to participate on a collaborative project with the world-renowned string quartet, The Kronos Quartet (which resulted in the acclaimed 2017 release Ladilikan), the Trio’s collective talent and experience allows them to shine brilliantly on their own. Together, the artists of Trio Da Kali aim to bring a contemporary twist to ancient and neglected repertoires. For more, gourd over to

As usual I am running out of room so here are a bunch of diverse shows to consider sampling. Black Violin’s “Classical Boom Tour” blends jazz, hip-hop, funk and classical music at The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, April 6. For more scratch over to Indie folk band Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards bring their genre bending Americana music to the Music in the Gallery concert series on Friday, April 13 at 7:30p in James Arnold Mansion, which houses the Wamsutta Club, 427 County St in New Bedford. For more, pix your tix at “B-b-bad to the bone” George Thorogood and The Destroyers bring their Rock Party Tour to the Twin River Event Center on Friday, April 13. I had a memorable conversation with Thorogood last year – read it here: If you enjoy songs such as “Put Your Head On My Shoulder,” “Puppy Love,” “Having My Baby,” oh, and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Wonderwall” covers, then you will want to be at Twin River when Paul Anka performs on April 20. Coming up: Rick Springfield, Kenny Rogers, Tower of Power & Average White Band, Creedence Clearwater Revisited and more. For more about these shows, “Move It On Over” to Grammy-winning guitarist Paul Nelson and his band will be performing in Woonsocket at Chans on April 14. Nelson was bandmate and producer to legendary rock/blues icon Johnny Winter, but he has toured the world with artists like Eric Clapton, Slash, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, James Cotton, Joe Perry, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dr. John, Larry Carlton, Leslie West, Joe Bonamassa, Dickey Betts, Joe Walsh and more. For more, “Labyrinth” to At Pumphouse Music Works in Wakefield catch the Low Cards Swamp Birds, Muddy Ruckus on April 14. For more, track over to Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams will be at The Met in Pawtucket on Thursday, April 19. The husband-and-wife duo are touring for their second album, Contraband Love. Larry toured as Dylan’s guitarist for years, and both he and Teresa worked for years with the late Levon Helm, with Larry receiving three Grammys for his work with Helm. For more, “Delta Slide” to

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

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