Roots Report: Crashing Hard Drives and Acoustic Tunes

rootsslideOkee dokee, folks… Well, my hard drive crashed last week, and that is a very bad thing because I am not the best at backing things up. After I got a new (old) desktop computer set up, I connected my back-up drive and found out how little data I actually saved. This was bad, VERY bad. I had years of work on there — artwork, Motif columns, mailing lists, songs I wrote, other various solo and band documents … the list goes on. Two friends tried to revive the drive, but to no avail. (Thank you, Tracy and Greg!) I can’t begin to say how much work I will have to do to even begin to recreate some of this stuff. I think I need Jesus, or a witch doctor or someone who can raise my drive from the dead. You really don’t realize how much of your life revolves around a computer and the data on it until one day it doesn’t boot up and you’re screwed. Does anyone hold seances for crashed drives? I guess I will just have to build a little shrine to my fallen drive and hope it can be brought back to life. You know, kind of like Walt Disney. Until then, onward with the new (old) computer.

On July 8, acclaimed singer-songwriter, Jonah Smith returns to the Knickerbocker in Westerly. Smith appeared on Season 9 of “America’s Got Talent” and his performance of his original song, “Skyscraper Blues” earned him a standing ovation from both the crowd and the judges. Smith’s experience as a performer and a storyteller will be on display for his long-awaited return to the Knickerbocker stage. For more, paddy-whack to

The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center presents the 21st Annual New Bedford Folk Festival on Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10 with an impressive lineup of the best in contemporary, Americana, traditional, blues and Celtic folk music. Over 70 artists, including Livingston Taylor, Kate Taylor and Cheryl Wheeler, will perform on seven stages throughout downtown New Bedford. In addition to the musical performances, the festival offers the Family Fun Tent, Food Court & Bar and the seven-block craft vendor marketplace. For more, harpoon to and

The Downtown Sundown Series Concerts take place on Saturday night July 9 and July 23.
Bring a lawn chair, a blanket and maybe even a picnic dinner and sit on the lawn at the beautiful Roger Williams National Memorial in downtown Providence and enjoy FREE concerts by some of the best songwriters RI and Southern New England has to offer. If you’re jonesin’ for some coffeehouse music, this will give you your fix in an outdoor coffeehouse setting. On July 9 it’s Carboard Ox (Steve Allain & Tracie Potochnik), Krista Baroni, and Kala Farnham. The July 23 show features Dan Lilley & Scatman, Pete Vendettuoli, Mary Ann Rossoni and Emma Joy Galvin. For more, frolic over to

The 4th Annual Narrows Block-a-Palooza will be on Thursday, July 14, on South Main Street in Fall River in front of the District Court House from 6 until 10pm. This free outdoor music festival is a South Coast must-see. Headlining is rock power trio Los Lonely Boys and local band the Neal McCarthy Problem. Los Lonely Boys are bound to rock everyone into the summer spirit with the familiar guitar chords of their hit single “Heaven,” which won them a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo Performance. Kicking off the concert is Neal McCarthy, who’s performed across New England for over 20 years. Other Narrows shows this month include: July 16 – Tom Rush at Westport Rivers Vineyard, July 21 – Tinsley Ellis, July 22 – my friend Denise’s fav, Alejandro Escovedo, July 28 – Steve Forbert, July 29 – Bethany Joy Lenz and her Firepit Band, and July 30 – Joe Ely. On August 26 is Rickie Lee Jones. Don’t wait to get tix or you will be sorry! For more, coolsville over to

About 15 years ago I played at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. One night I was hanging out at producer Rod Kennedy’s house with my friend Dalis and legendary musician Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary). It was just us sitting around Rod’s living room and Peter picked up a guitar and started playing the song “Don’t Laugh At Me,” which wound up a PPM song as well as the basis for a non-profit organization. It was an amazing moment. It’s not often that you get to hang out with a legend or even hear him play in a living room, but you can hear him in concert in Narragansett at Aqua Blue on July 16. The performance is a benefit for Congregation Beth David. Yarrow’s shows are warm, humorous, nostalgic, thoughtful and inspiring. He sings songs and tells stories of where we were, where we are, and what we can do now. For more information, call Congregation Beth David at 401-789-3437 or Puff the Magic Dragon to

Swamp Stomp #9 happens in West Kingston on July 16. I have heard nothing but good things about this festival, but I have never been. I usually don’t even hear about it until after the fact. This year I came across a TINY yellow flyer at a liquor store in Narragansett while I was putting out my own tiny flyers, so I thought I would let you all know about it so you can experience Swamp Stomp for yourselves. “Swamp Stomp is a big-ass backyard party with incredible music.” This year’s line-up includes The Yawpers, Water Liars, Laura Cantrell and Girls on Grass. If you want to stomp the swamp, info can be obtained by contacting Roots Hoot House Concerts via email at, by phone at 401-965-0833, or on Facebook.

For all of you Baby Boomers, ’60s & ’70s hippie types and wannabes, this is the show for you! The David Tessier All-Star Band returns to the Courthouse Center of the Arts with their unique collection of deep cuts from the ’60s and ’70s. David Tessier (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Grandizer Punch, Neo 90s Dance Band) assembled a group of professional musicians and singers from area bands (Shryne, Woozy, Teazer, Crash Land Band) to perform the music of Chicago, the Monkees, CSNY, Beatles, Beach Boys and more. Hear songs such as “Time of the Season,” “Good Vibrations,” “Let’s Go” and more, featuring Jon Brennan on keyboards and lead vocals, Paul “Zeus” Sousa on bass and vocals, Justin Grankewicz on percussion and lead vocals, Nate Goncalo on drums and lead vocals, and David Tessier on guitar and lead vocals. This all happens on July 29 at 8pm. For more, zombie over to

For those of you looking for an outlet for your musical talents, get to the Acoustic Open Mic Tuesdays at Pub on Park in Cranston hosted by Joanne Lurgio. Players, sign up at 7pm before the list fills! There is no cover, but they pass the hat for the featured artist. Coming up in July: July 12 -Lisa Bastoni, July 19 – Betsy Listenfelt, and July 26 – Dark & Stormy. Featured artists go on around 9pm for a 30-minute set.

My band, Forever Young, will perform at the Narragansett Theater at the Pier on Friday, July 8. This is a very cool venue in the old movie theater across from the Town Beach. Perfect for a summer night. They also have a folk night every Wednesday and an open mic on Thursdays. For more, swim over to

Thanks for reading.

And check out my review of the Melissa Etheridge show at The Z!

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