The Roots Report: I Have Ear Worms

Okee dokee folks… Lately I have been waking up (not that I really sleep) with an ear worm. Now let me finish before you start getting all grossed out and thinking that I have worms in my head. An ear worm is not like the parasitic worms that my cats get. It’s a song that is stuck on a loop inside your mind. It just comes out of nowhere and starts playing. Fun stuff.

The term “ear worm” comes from the German “ohrwurm,” which actually is an earwig, but the proper psychological term is Involuntary Music Imagery. In the past couple of weeks I have been haunted by such songs as  Ambrosia’s “Holdin’ On To Yesterday,” Anne Murray’s version of the Beatle’s “You Won’t See Me” and The Kink’s “Catch Me Now I’m Falling.” Now I have not heard any of these songs in ages but for some reason, they took up residence in my skull and drove me crazy — not that it’s a far drive. The worst part is that sometimes it’s just a snippet of a song. It’s like playing a game of Name That Tune, only in Hell.

Sometimes the cranial residency of an ear worm may be an hour or it may last weeks. According to what I read, most of us get ear worms, though those who are musically inclined tend to get them more. How can you stop them? It doesn’t seem like there is a set way to prevent or cure them, but occupying your mind with something else or listening to another song can sometimes rid the unwelcome tune. I know from experience that ear worms can be a contagious. As part of my process of casting out the demonic ditty I will often post my ear worm on Facebook and many of my friends will curse me for infusing their coconut with the malicious melody. You’re all welcome! Ha! Anyway, I guess I can save on a Pandora or Spotify subscription. Read on…

The “supergroup” Hawktail will be at the Pump House Music Works in Wakefield on Friday, April 20. Hawktail members include Brittany Haas, Paul Koweit, Jordan Tice and Dominick Leslie (music fans will recognize them from their various other outfits — Punch Brothers, David Rawlings, Crooked Still, A Prairie Home Companion). They are touring with their new album, Unless, an album of original instrumental music that comes out May 18. For more, “Abbzug” over to

The Rhode Island Songwriters Association presents another installment of their Saturday Songwriter Sessions at the Brooklyn Coffee Tea House on Douglas Avenue in Providence on Saturday, April 21. This time around, you can enjoy the compositions of songwriters John Fanning, Jared Fiske and Carolann Solebello. You may recognize Solebello as one of the founding members of the female folk trio Red Molly. The Brooklyn Coffee Tea House is a very intimate venue, sort of like being at a house concert. Owner Tony Demings will serve coffee, provide witty banter and interview performers and guests. Get on out and support local music. For more, compose to

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a guitarist and composer originally from Kyoto, Japan. In 2000, he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the US. Since then, he has been performing Hiroya Tsukamoto-5sinternationally, released six albums and appeared on major international television stations such as NHK (Japanese National Television) and EBS in Korea. Tsukamoto brings his innovative and impressionistic guitar playing to The Four Corners Arts Center in Tiverton on April 22 at 2pm. Prior to the show, from 12:30-1:30pm, Hiroya will present a guitar workshop on techniques of fingerstyle guitar, including various chords and basic musical theory to improve playing skills and practice technique.  For more,  “Gemini Bridge” to

Back in the early days of MTV, Scandal’s “Goodbye To You” video was in heavy rotation. It was a low tech production that epitomized the look and sound of the early ’80s. Their next song, “The Warrior,” made it to the top 10 in 1984. Scandal dissolved and lead singer Patti Smyth went solo. Some of you may remember her sitting in NYC’s Hard Rock Cafe with VJ Martha Quinn and introducing the MTV debut of the video “I want Some Fun” by a band called The Schemers. Smyth later scored a hit with “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough,” a duet with Don Henley. The surviving members of Scandal and Smyth have reunited, and they’ll be bringing their music to the Greenwich Odeum on April 28. Returning to the Greenwich Odeum is Roger McQuinn of Byrds’ fame. Last time he performed in East Greenwich the show was sold out. You can read that review here: McQuinn is 75 and as these legendary artists age, they do keep performing live. Tony Bennett is still going at 91, but who knows how long they will keep it up? You have the opportunity to catch this member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and an icon of the ’60s live and in a fairly intimate setting. Don’t miss out. For more about these and other shows at the Odeum, “Turn, Turn, Turn” to

“The Name of The Name is The Name” How many of you remember the band, The Name? The Minisce brothers made up one of the more popular local bands of the ’80s. In typical Rhode Island fashion I had connections to them. Their father was my veterinarian for many years, and one of the brothers worked for me for a short time when I ran a pinball arcade. My friends and I would be at the bars listening to them play as often as we could. The years passed and the band disappeared. Then 20 years ago, guitarist Brain Minisce teamed up with the up-and-coming singer-songwriter, Becky Chace. Over their 20-year musical relationship, Chace and Minisce have recorded nine CDs, performed countless shows and opened for acts such as BB King, Melissa Etheridge and Keb Mo. Becky has won so many local music awards that I am sure that she has lost count. The Becky Chace Band has had many members during those 20 years, but now includes another Minisce brother, Mark. Roots rocker Chace celebrates her 20-year anniversary with a show at Sandywoods in Tiverton on April 28 at 7pm. Becky says, “We’ll be serving up an all original set of our favorites through the years with a special acoustic set and some other gems especially designed to please the longtime fans.” Tickets are moving fast. For more, “Rise and Fall” to

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

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