Roots Report: Rockin’ Through a Heatwave

Okee dokee folks… Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to have my colds in the winter. Somehow I managed to catch a cold during a heat wave. I have been biting my tongue all summer and TRYING not to express my disdain for this time of year. I hate summer. And now as I cough my brains out, I’m trying to figure out how I got this lovely illness. My first thought was of the places I’ve visited that had their air conditioning turned down to Arctic levels. While I appreciate the gesture, returning to the Saharan heat after basking in the chill of a Carrier unit tends to wreak havoc on my body. But then I remembered band rehearsal the other night and my bandmate Dan constantly saying, “I have a little cold.” We all mocked him because he always has “a little cold” before a gig. There were jokes lobbed around about someone rubbing Vick’s VapoRub on Dan’s chest. Or was it on Amy’s? Hmmm. Either way, Dan just may be the Typhoid Mary in this story! Sorry, Danny!

Band rehearsals are a lot like daycare centers. When one kid gets sick and puts a block in their mouth and everyone else plays with that block the germs spread round and round. Band practice is the same in that we are childish, but we don’t always play with blocks. We sometimes substitute blocks for a microphone. A CDC mystery solved. It doesn’t stop the coughing though. Or the fact that I missed a gig. Ugh. Read on…

A few years ago I took some snapshots of my friends Ed McGuirl and Mike Fischman while they were playing a show at the Newport Yachting Center. When I showed them the pics, they commented about how there was always a microphone in the way of their face and that they looked like Bob Log III. I said, “Who the hell is Bob Log?” They started laughing and began to dial up YouTube videos for Bob Log III ( What I witnessed was one of the more bizarre musical acts I have ever seen. Bob Log III is a one-man band. He wears a motorcycle helmet with a handset from an old telephone permanently attached to the face bubble. This is his vocal microphone. He attires himself in an Evel Knievel style-jumpsuit, plays an old arch top, hollow body guitar and works the drums with his feet. His musical style is slide blues punk that has to to seen or heard to be appreciated. I never in my wildest dreams thought that Bob Log would ever perform in this area. He is huge in Japan and other places abroad. Fortunately we will have the rare opportunity to experience Bob Log III live at Aurora on Monday, August 22. This show is free, and also appearing will be The Kevin Dowling Fitness Hour, Cannibal Ramblers,and Z-Boys. For more, “Boob Scotch” to

At the Narrows in Fall River there are only a few tix left for an Intimate Evening with Rickie Lee Jones on Friday, August 26. Jones is a two-time Grammy winner who exploded onto the pop scene in ’78 and has been fearlessly experimenting with her music ever since. You should keep tabs on the Narrows. It has great shows that sell out fast! Make plans to support the “Opening Act” Contest on Thursday, September 8. This will spotlight local, up-and-coming musicians, giving them an opportunity to be the support act for a show booked by the Narrows Center and JKB Entertainment Group in 2017. Contestants include Elsie (featuring Lisa Couto & Ray Cooke), Flight of Fire, Allison & Kevin Giuliano, Huxster, Moment of Clarity, Gracelyn Rennick, Ilene Springer, We Own Land and Matt York. While participants will be judged by a panel of three music industry professions, the audience will get to vote at the end of the night, counting for 20% of each artist’s score. For more, battleship over to

Celebrate the end of summer with the music of Paul Simon. Gary Backstrom and friends present Rhythm of the Saints — A Tribute to Paul Simon at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston on Saturday, August 27 at 8pm. Gary Backstrom and the Rhythm of the Saints features members of Jiggle the Handle, Max Creek, Heavy Metal Horns and The Grass Gypsys. The Gary Backstrom Band is a high-energy, innovative original act featuring the infectious licks and songwriting of nationally recognized guitarist Gary Backstrom. Rhythm of the Saints presents two sets of material spanning Simon’s eclectic career. For more, Kodachrome to

The Third Annual Providence Folk Festival will take place on Sunday, August 28 at Roger Williams National Memorial in downtown Providence. This is a free music event. Free is good! This year’s fest features two stages with performances by The Jen Chapin Trio, Abbie Gardner, Cardboard Ox, Marc Douglas Berardo and Seatrail, Alec K. Redfearn, Warbler’s Roost, Horse-Eyed Men, Rebirth, Dan Lilley and the Keepers with Amy Bedard, Lisa Couto, Jacob Haller, Johnstone and Walcoff, Terry Kitchen, Kristen Graves, Dave Provost, Elad Vilk, and Allison Giuliano. Jen Chapin is the daughter of the late, legendary singer-songwriter Harry Chapin. Though she plays her own music, it echos with the spirit of her father’s songs. Abbie Gardner is a founding member of the Red Molly Trio. She is a world touring singer-songwriter who is known for her fiery dobro playing. Rebirth will be coming down from Northwestern Massachusetts to play their jazzy, folk and soul style of music. Roger Williams National Memorial is a small parcel of land located on North Main Street at the foot of Smith Hill that was the site of the original Providence settlement in 1636. It is a wonderful place to have a picnic and listen to some great music. Food Trucks will be available to satiate your hunger if you didn’t come packin’. Well-behaved dogs that are picked up after are welcomed as well. For more, What Cheer over to

The BEST festival in Rhode Island and the BEST summer wrapper upper party is the Rhythm and Roots Festival at Ninigret Park in Charlestown. This festival takes place every Labor Day weekend and this year it’s September 2nd through the 4th. Rhythm and Roots is the real deal, the way festivals are meant to be. It’s not masquerading behind hipster fashion or long beards or about being seen, it is about the music, dancing, the food and the fun. Ditch the skinny jeans, put on comfy clothes and drink a beer outside the confines of a beer garden. Headliners Lucinda Williams and Bruce Hornsby are only the tip of the musical iceberg. No matter how deep down you go, you are going to find amazing music on all four stages that the fest offers. Even after the main music at the festival stops around 11pm, the campground jams keep going until the wee hours of the morning. This is what makes R&R a true music festival experience. Besides Williams and Hornsby, the line-up includes Dave Grisman, Taj  Mahal, Dave & Phil Alvin, Donna the Buffalo, Sarah Potenza, Uncle Earl, Dust Bowl Revival, The Honeycutters, Los Texmaniacs, Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldar, Hat Fitz and Cara, The Huntress and the Holder of Hands and many more! Get your butt to Ninigret Park this Labor Day weekend and don’t miss out. For more, Bubba your way to

That’s it for now. Cough, cough. Thanks for, cough, reading.

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