The Roots Report: Searching for a Heart of Gold

Neil Young, Heart of Gold
Okee dokee folks… Those of you who read this column or know me are aware that I am a huge fan of Neil Young. When I was in my teens, I figured out a way to meet him. My plan was simple — I knew when they did sound checks at the Civic Center so I planned our encounter around that. My friends and I sat on the back wall of the Civic Center parking lot and waited. As the time neared, I stood by the stage door. A guy came out and stood next me, shoulder to shoulder. We looked at each other and then stood in silence for quite a while. Then another man came out and they both started walking away. One of my friends shouted, “That’s Neil!” It was the guy I was standing next to all that time. My friends and I started chasing them, and the second guy turned around and said, “Back off, man. Don’t get heavy with the dude.” In 1978 we only had a couple of album photos to show what someone looked like, and for 40 years I have regretted not recognizing Neil. During my life I have met, worked with and performed with many, many notable musicians, but I always had that white whale floating around out there.

I recently got a ticket to one of his Boston shows, and I made a plan to meet him. Well, it was actually the same as my plan as a teenager. I got to Boston early and hunted for the Wang stage door where I found a chatty security guard who told me that if I went to the other side of the bus, Neil would probably come over when he came out. There were a few people who were waiting out there armed with Harvest albums and photos for him to sign. I sat on the wall next to the bus, and then Neil appeared. Without hesitation, he came over to us and was quite friendly. White whale harpooned. It is probably best that my interaction with him was brief. A friend once told me, “Never meet your heroes, they will always disappoint you,” and based on some of the interactions I have had with other celebs, I believe that to be true. I didn’t go to review this show, I just went to enjoy. And that I did. It was probably the best show I have seen Neil perform, other than that very first one 40 years ago. I was so close to the stage, it was like experiencing Neil play in a coffeehouse! I could see that crooked smirk on his face as he mumbled through his yarns. Now that I no longer have a white whale to catch, I can just meander the seas and let the wind take me where it will! Read on…

When local musician Sarah Good passed away earlier this year from breast cancer at 53, a lot of us lost a beautiful friend. Besides music, Sarah supported herself as an artist and entrepreneur. In her early 20s she began making clothes and this passion morphed into Sarah Good Designs, her clothing line that was sold across the country in the early ’90s and was featured at New York’s Fashion Week. She owned other businesses that all were centered around her determined work ethic and artistic talents as a jeweler, costume mistress, sculptor, musician and fashion designer. Recently, Sarah’s husband, Michael Darigan, established The Sarah Good Foundation to honor her life. The first annual Sarah Good Foundation Fundraising Concert will be held at Nick-a-Nee’s on Sunday, July 29, from 4pm to close. With an outdoor show of New England’s best bands, food trucks, great drinks and a raffle, this benefit concert to honor the memory of the multi-talented Sarah Good promises to be a fun affair for a worthy cause. Lined-up to perform in support are The House Combo, Free Radicals, Tanya and the Professors, Paula Claire, Gary Cummings and The Goods with Neil Vitullo. Tickets are available at the door. The Foundation will be awarding an annual grant to a qualified female artist/entrepreneur beginning in spring 2019. More events are planned, but get down to Nick-a-Nee’s and honor the spirit of a wonderful, amazing woman taken from the earth way too soon. For more, heavenly dive to facebook.com/nickanees

The Warren Concert Series happens again this year at the Burr’s Hill band shell at 540 Water St. Food trucks or food vendors will be available at most shows. Bring bug spray and maybe a shade umbrella — it can be sunny and hot there! To see the scheduled performers, concave acoustically to discoverwarren.com/directory/listing/burrs-hill-park

Here are a few more to satiate your summer music cravings! The Autumn Defense, featuring John Stirratt and Pat Sansone from Wilco with special guest Johnny Irion, happens on Friday, July 20 at POP, 219 West Park Street in Providence (emporiumofpopularculture.com). No.1 Billboard Blues Artist, Anthony Gomes, will be bringing his high energy blues rock show to Chan’s in Woonsocket on Friday, July 20. Florida’s Sean Chambers Band (Blues) also performs at Chan’s on Friday, August 3 (chanseggrollsandjazz.com). A notable few of the many shows at the Pump House in Wakefield are Disco Party Fundraiser for the Animal Rescue League on July 21 and the Monthly Open Mic & Potluck Social on July 28. Then on August 3 it’s the Heidi Nirk Band playing blues and R&B accented by Nirk’s eccentric and highly original vocal style (pumphousemusicworks.com). A Night of Music by Rhode Island Women will take place at the Parlour on North Main Street in Providence on Sunday, July 22 at 8pm. Jen Long, Kate Mick, Tracie Potochnik, Lynny Bryan and Jane Hesser make the music at this female-fueled evening (theparlourri.com). Sandywoods Music presents Foxboro’s Matt York with special guest Joanne Lurgio on Saturday, July 28 (sandywoods.org). The next generation of the Allman Brothers Band, The Devon Allman Project and Duane Betts, will perform on Tuesday, July 31 at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Beige (zeiterion.org).  PVDlive brings the creative community to Jamestown when they present Divine Providence, a festival of the arts, at The Jamestown Arts Center at 18 Valley Street. This takes place on Wednesday, August 1 from 6 – 9pm with performances by Nova One, Ian Fitzgerald, Dazy Park, Lookers, Ant Savino, poetry by Muggs Fogarty and others (divineprovidence.eventbrite.com). An evening with Jon Batiste, a globally celebrated musician, educator, bandleader and television personality, will take place at the Knickerbocker Music Center in Westerly on Friday, August 3 (knickmusic.com).

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com

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