Roots Report: Pick on Someone Else, Grim Reaper

Okee dokee folks … Enough already! Death seriously needs to take a holiday … or move on to a new category of people. Our most talented artists are leaving much, much too soon. Lemmy, Frey, Bowie, Kantner … if this keeps up, we will be left with nothing but Kanye and the Kardashians. Scary.

Here’s an idea, Death, if your collection isn’t quite complete, please move on to the passengers of the Republican clown car. Send that vehicle careening off the nearest cliff. It will keep you busy for a bit and you’ll do humanity a HUGE favor. Congress needs emptying as well. Those moldy old folks have long overstayed their welcome and need to be purged.


Unfortunately, in your zeal of taking souls, you took our Buddy. Buddy was far, far from perfect, but he was ours and he made Providence what it is today. I was very unhappy with him when he canceled The Who concert 36 years ago, and I protested outside city hall. But I got over it and went on to deal with him during the production of the Hear In Rhode Island festivals. I am not naïve enough to think he didn’t do wrong, but he was what he was and did what he did for Providence. There are skeletons in every politician’s closet. On the day I found out he died, I posted on my Facebook wall that Buddy deserves a statue in downtown Providence. The epitaph “I Am Providence” from HP Lovecraft’s headstone should be borrowed and used for the bronze Buddy. Cianci was Providence and will always be (Gene Valicenti used the same “I Am Providence” reference in his segment about Buddy on the evening newscast). I think in coming years those who didn’t like him may realize what he meant to the capital. RIP Buddy.

So, we are into February, which dumped a couple of feet of snow on us last year. We already had a storm that preemptively shut down some events. With the first falling snowflake comes a cascade of cancellations, so if you’re going to a show and it snows, call or check the website for updates. Here are some shows you should check out that hopefully won’t get snowed out! Read on…

It’s time to get your Mardi Gras on, and you don’t have to go to NOLA to do it. We have the next best thing — well maybe the best thing — right here. The Mardi Gras Ball returns for its 24th year at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet on Saturday, February 13. Featured bands include CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, and Cajun Hall of Famer Jesse Lege and his band, Bayou Brew. The ball features a costume contest with cash prizes in a variety of categories and  a grand prize for best overall costume. You don’t have to come in costume, but it can be more fun. Young AND old enjoy this event. There will be a cash bar and Cajun & Creole cuisine by Rhode Island’s renowned Chili Brothers Food Company — one of the most popular food vendors at the Rhythm & Roots Festival every year — serving up their famous jambalaya, blackened scallops and shrimp etouffee. For more, flambeaux to

Common Fence Music at Channing Church presents The Slambovian Circus of Dreams on Saturday, February 13. The performance will take place in the sanctuary of Channing Memorial Church at 135 Pelham Street in Newport. The Slambovian Circus of Dreams left the rock and roll circuit, choosing instead to perform in listening rooms. The Circus’ live shows are where the real magic happens, earning them critical acclaim and a loyal following. For more, juggle over to

Blackstone River Theatre features the Massachusetts-based group Blackstone Valley Bluegrass on February 13. They are best known for high-energy picking and 4-part harmonies. Local favs Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly return February 20 with fiddler Cathy Clasper-Torch. On February 27, the Matt Flinner Trio makes their BRT debut. Duke Robillard presents a Roots Music Appreciation class on February 28. For more, paddle over to

I went to Nick-A-Nee’s the other night to catch the relatively new band, Tanya MacIntyre and The Professors. Besides MacIntyre on guitar and vocals, the group includes Mike Mulcahey on guitar, vocals and harmonica, Jessie Fordyce on bass, Jack Moore on drums and Peter Bortolotti on guitar and vocals. They’re a fun band that plays classic covers and keeps the crowd happy. Nick-A-Nee’s is touted as “a heavenly dive bar,” but always has a comfy feeling to it. Wednesday nights showcase bluegrass. Coming up on February 10 is Four Bridges, on February 17 is Chasing Blue, on February 24 is Whiskey Boys. For February weekend shows, on February 5 is Frankie Ranks and the Freeloaders, on February 13 is the Tim Taylor Blues Band, on February 19 is Mark Cutler, on February 20 is Gary Cummings and on February 27 is Smith and Weeden. For more, go old school and call 401-861-7290.

The Z over ‘cross the bridge in New Beige always has tons of great stuff coming up. On February 26 it’s A Night with Janis Joplin starring Broadway’s Mary Bridget Davis celebrating Janis and her influences such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith. Featuring Joplin’s favorites, including “Summertime,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” this show is a must-see! Oh, Lord won’t you go to for more.

And now “The More Shows To Go To Blitz.” Inhale. East Bay Contra Dance at the Warren Armory on February 5 ( There will be two contra dances at Sandywoods this month. On February 6, Paul Wilde is calling. On February 17, French Connection will play to the calling of Tod Whittemore (
Jeff Scroggins & Colorado are at Wamsutta Salon Concert on February 6 ( At the Mediator Stage is Don Tassone’s Open Mic every Thursday. On February 11 is Kala Farnham, February 18 is The Matt and Amy Band and February 25 is Leonard and Susan are Nobody’s Business. Every Monday night at 8pm at The Mediator Stage is Rimshot in the Dark Comedy night hosted by Stephan Rose and James Martin. At Fete, on February 13 is Chuck Ragan & the Camaraderie, with Cory Branan and Cowboy & Lady, Lee Fields & the Expressions, with Lawrence; and on February 16 is Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers, with Dave Dondero ( The Paskamansett Concert Series at the Dartmouth Grange has Fourteen Strings on February 13 ( Belgrade-born guitarist Ana Popovic is at the Narrows Center for the Arts on February 13. The Motif Award Winning Quahog Quire hosts a pub-sing at the Parlour on February 14 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. This month at Chan’s is Neil Vitullo & The Vipers, The Nightlife Orchestra, The Willie J. Laws Band, Popa Chubby, Jeff Pitchell & Texas Flood, Racky Thomas Band, George McCann and more ( The Gnomes bring their global fusion to Stone Church Coffee House on Saturday, February 27 ( Exhale.

On Sunday, February 7, f@#k the Superbowl and go to Empire Revue at AS220 for the Seven Deadly Sins show. You will NEVER regret going to an Empire Revue. The bonus? I am playing! Well, not exactly a bonus, but you should go anyway! Maybe next issue I will write about the Springsteen show I just scored a ticket for! That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

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