The Roots Report: Summer Is Heating Up

Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers at the 2012 APRA Music Awards

Okee dokee folks… Many moons ago I was watching Austin City Limits and there was a woman on who was playing this edgy alt-country/Americana music that caught my attention. Immediately, I had to own her CDs. That woman was Australia’s Kasey Chambers. Years after that, I saw she was included in the line-up at the Newport Folk Festival. I got very excited as I hadn’t heard of her playing in the US. I dedicated my column to this Aussie gem, and said that folks should focus on catching her set at the festival. On the morning of her appearance in Newport I saw her backstage, gave her a copy of my column and spoke with her briefly. A little while later I ran into her again. She whacked me with the paper and said, “Now I have to live up to this!” She didn’t have to worry because she surpassed my expectations and blew the afternoon crowd away. That performance was about 10 years ago and she has since released more music. She recently did a set at SXSW. I thought about a trip to Texas to catch it, but didn’t have the proper funding for such a venture. Not long after the disappointment set in about that, I discovered that Chambers was doing some US touring. I IMMEDIATELY made arrangements to see her. She is playing a few shows somewhat close by with a little driving. Trust me, she is worth the drive. I opted to see her at the Iron Horse Music Hall in North Hampton, Massachusetts. The Iron Horse is an intimate performance space located off the Mass Pike in Western Massachusetts. Don’t let any “Barricades and Brickwalls” deter you; try to see her. “We’re All Gonna Die Someday” anyway. For more about Kasey catch the “Runaway Train” to KaseyChambers.com. Get your “Rattlin’ Bones” to her show IHEG.com.

A couple of years ago, the Tedeschi-Trucks Band came to the Providence Performing Arts Center. I saw Susan Tedeschi a couple of times and enjoyed her music, but wasn’t sure what to expect with this band. I heard good things, but needed to judge for myself. I have to say I was not disappointed. Tedeschi-Trucks has to be one of the BEST live bands out there today. The dozen members are all amazing musicians in their own right, but when you add them up, the cumulative effect is mind-blowing. If you have not seen this band live, you really need to. I had a chance to talk with Derek Trucks; check out the full interview at motifri.com/derektrucks.

Now if Tedeschi-Trucks isn’t enough to lure you to PPAC, how about if you add a little Hot Tuna? This band features former members of Jefferson Airplane: Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady. I have seen both the electric and acoustic versions and both are equally awesome. According to my conversation with Derek, Hot Tuna will be going electric for this show. Jorma’s picking and the chunky bass playing of Casady make the jams solid. So, now what would you pay for a night of Tedeschi-Trucks Band AND electric Hot Tuna? But wait! If that isn’t already enough they are throwing in the Wood Brothers, as well. The Wood Brothers is Oliver and Chris Wood (who was one third of the famed Medeski, Martin and Wood) and Jano Rix. They have released a half dozen recordings and are known for tight harmonies and musicianship. This is going to be one great show. Buckle up because they are not skimping on set lengths to accommodate all the acts. It is going to be a full night of great music! For more, don’t “Laugh About It;” just get to PPACRI.org

Back in 1994 I produced my first music festival, The Hear In Rhode Island festival. It was a local all-star line-up. We all had such a great day and it was such a community building moment that the final number of the day was a spontaneous version of Jesse Colin Young’s “Get Together” performed by Mark Cutler, Mary Day, Mary Ann Rossoni, Kim Trusty, Dan Lilley and many others. That song is an anthem of a generation — one of togetherness and love. We weren’t the first to use it and won’t be the last, and I am sure that song will endure for many generations to come. If you would like to hear the song by its originator, Jesse Colin Young, then you need to get it together and hit the Courthouse Center for the Arts on Friday, July 7. From the Summer of Love in 1967 to this day, Jesse has embraced those words as a mantra that he shares with his audiences wherever he performs. The 75 year old Jesse Colin Young has released at least sixteen albums in his career and has toured extensively. Don’t be left in the “Darkness, Darkness;” go to CourthouseArts.org for more.

Feeling lonely? Are you alone? Well, you can be “Alone Together” with Dave Mason and his fans at the Zeiterion in New Bedford on July 11. Mason is best known for being a member of the band Traffic (“Mr. Fantasy,” “Feelin’ Alright”) and for solo songs such as “Only You Know and I Know” and “We Just Disagree.” Mason has also played and recorded with many musicians, including Paul McCartney, George Harrison, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Steve Winwood and Fleetwood Mac — sometimes on their iconic songs. He will be bringing his “Alone Together Again” tour to the Z on July 11 and playing his hits and then some. I had a chance to talk with Dave Mason. Check out the interview at motifri.com/davemason. For more, “Let It Go, Let It Flow” over to Zeiterion.org

If you like great songwriting, then here are a bunch of shows for you! Marc Douglas Berardo will be playing at the Knickerbocker Tap Room in Westerly on Thursday, July 6 (KinckerbockerTapRoom.com). The Downtown Sundown Series Concerts continue on July 8 with Tammy & Jeana, Ed McGuirl, and Kris & Tara Hansen (HearInRhodeIsland.com). The New Bedford Folk Festival takes place July 8-9 in downtown New Bedford featuring acts such as Aoife O’Donovan, Bill Harley, Patty Larkin and Catie Curtis (NewBedfordFolkFestival.org). On July 12, RISA Songwriters in the Round at AS220 features Jan Luby, Jane Ross Fallon, Gracelyn Rennick and Andy Stone playing featured songs based on the words “just too hot” (RISongwriters.com). The Newport Playhouse will present Newport to Nashville with Mary Ann Rossoni with Mederick Bellaire, Jeff Johnstone & Nellie Walcoff, and Christopher Monholle on July 13 (newporttonashville.com).

Every summer, Kate Vivian, coordinator of events at the Towers in Narragansett, puts together a full schedule of weekly Thursday night concerts/dancing shows at the historic venue. Most folks have only driven underneath the stone arch on Ocean Drive, but have never been in. This dance night is one of the coolest things happening on a hot summer night. Get your dancing shoes on and get ready to boogie for Reminisce on July 6, Coastline Swing Band on July 13, Johnny Nicholas on July 20, The Revelers on July 27, Lloyd Kaplan and the Aristocats on August 3, Roosevelt Dime on August 10, Roger Ceresi’s All Starz on August 17, the Shiny Lapel Trio on August 24, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys on August 31. For more, cha-cha to-to TheTowersRI.com.

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

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