Roots Report: Folk Off, Summer!

Okee dokee folks… Well, it’s that time of year again, time for the Motif Summer Guide when I look into my magical, sweltering crystal ball and let you know what you can consider for your “summa” music plans. Most coffeehouses are ending their seasons about now, and the folding chairs and coffee cups will be collecting dust until fall. Summer is my least favorite season of the year, but at least there is a lot of great music to make time in the hellish heat go by faster. I’ll dispense with my usual rant and get right to it. There’s a lot going on in the next few months. And you will want to keep reading every issue for more shows as they come up! Read on…

The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy presents Noon Tunes. This casual outdoor music series runs every Wednesday in June from noon until 1pm in Burnside Park. Pick up lunch from a food truck or bring your own and grab a table under the trees. Jun 13: Michelle Cruz; Jun 20: Hapax Trio; Jun 27: Miss Wensday & The Cotillions.

The eighth season of the Downtown Sundown Series at Roger Williams National Memorial in Downtown Providence has already kicked off with The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theatre’s performances of Hamlet. The shows are highly entertaining and even if you are not a Shakespeare fan, you should give them a go. When Shakespeare leaves the stage, the acoustic music concerts portion of the series gets underway. That schedule is: Jun 23: Ilana Katz Katz, Brianna White, Chrissy Stewart Duo; Jul 7: Avi Jacob, Ed McGuirl, Pete Vendettuoli, Chris Monti; Jul 21: Katherine Quinn, Nate Cozzolino, Jen Long, Brian Jablonski; Aug 4: Will Houlihan (Haunt The House), Allison Rose, Joanne Lurgio, Deb Keeling; Aug 18: Lisa Couto, Mark Milloff, Vudu Sister. Then the fifth annual Providence Folk Festival happens on Sunday, August 26, with two stages of music and performances by Ariel Zevon (daughter of Warren Zevon), Brenda Bennett (Prince, Vanity 6), Jaime Michaels, Cardboard Ox, Allysen Callery, Bob Kendall and more. Best of all, it is all FREE. Just bring a lawn chair or a blanket and listen to some of the best music around. For more, solstice to hearinrhodeisland.com

If the “summa” heat is melting you and you want to stay cool and hear great tunes, then the Narrows Center for the Arts is the place for you. They have a state-of-the-art air conditioning system and one of the area’s best concert schedules. Catch acts such as Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Rhiannon Giddens, Kinky Friedman, Jonathan Edwards and Pousette Dart Band, Robert Cray, Tab Benoit, Patty Griffin, Ruthie Foster, The Outlaws, Justin Haywood (Moody Blues), Dave Mason & Steve Cropper, Iris Dement, and many more! For specific dates and full schedule, squeeze over to narrowscenter.org

If you want a little gambling with your music, then hit Twin River for one of their many shows. These include: Jun 29: Tower of Power & Average White Band; Jul 7: Creedence Clearwater Revisited; Jul 20: Brian Wilson: Greatest Hits Live; Aug 4: Boyz II Men; Aug 10: I Love the 90’s Tour with Salt-N-Pepa, Color Me Badd, Kidd ‘N Play & Young MC; Aug 18: Chris Isaak. For more, double down to twinriver.com

Hey Nineteen, a tribute to Steely Dan; Another Tequila Sunrise, an Eagles tribute, comedian Mike Murray, art vendors, food trucks and The Hunger Bus with Chakulla are all part of SummerFest in North Kingston. This happens at the town beach on Sunday, July 15. Non-perishable food items will be collected for the North Kingstown Food Pantry. For more, “Take It Easy” to summerfestri.com

If you are at the beach during the day and you want to catch great music on your way home, stop at the Pump House in Peacedale for your fix. This is one of the most original venues around. Music isn’t the only happening thing about the Pump House — they make instruments that make music right there! They also offer classes so you can learn how to make instruments! The last Saturday of every month is an open mic and a pot luck for those who like to try their hand at playing or eating. Coming up are Steve DeConti, The Teledynes, Griffin Keeffe, Kristen Andreasson, Two Cat Tango and many others. For more, luthier to pumphousemusicworks.com

Every Thursday at the historic Towers in Narragansett, enjoy an evening of music and dancing in one of RI’s most speculator venues. Kate Vivian may have passed on, but I am sure she will be there in spirit! And if you don’t know how to dance, the Towers offers dance lessons on Wednesday nights! Coming up: Jun 7: Dan Lord and the Big Shots; Jun 14: Superchief Trio; Jun 21: Eight to the Bar; Jun 28: InfiniTango; Jul 5: Shiny Lapel Trio; Jul 12: Reminisce; Jul 19: The Revelers; Jul 26: Johnny Nicholas; Aug 2: Roger Ceresi’s All Starz; Aug 9: Lloyd Kaplan and the Aristocats Aug 16: Neal and the Vipers; Aug 23: Dynamite Rhythm; Aug 30: Steve Riley with the Mamou Playboys. For more, tango to thetowersri.com

Main Street in East Greenwich will be hopping with music and comedy at the Greenwich Odeum. Their calendar boasts The Wailers, The Weight Band, Jesus Christ Superstar,Lori McKenna Band, Sophie B. Hawkins, Magpie Salute, Todd Rundgren, Jay Mohr, The Bacon Brothers, Cindy Lee Berryhill, Louie Anderson, Tom Papa, David Bromberg and more. For more, Something Anything to greenwichodeum.com

The Courthouse Center for the Arts in Kingstown keeps it coming with a line-up that keeps growing. Coming up: Jun 15: Rex and the Rockabilly Kings; Jun 28: Fleetwood Mac Tribute; Jun 30: Big Jim Wheeler; Jul 21: Aztec-Two-Step; Aug 25: Steve Daggett; Aug 31: The music of Frank Sinatra. For more, adjourn to courthousearts.org

The 23rd Annual New Bedford Folk Festival happens at various locations in Downtown New Bedford on July 7 & 8. It will feature an impressive line-up of the best in contemporary, Americana, traditional, blues and Celtic music. Slated to perform are Cheryl Wheeler, Ronnie Cox, Tom Rush and others. For more, new beige to newbedfordfolkfestival.com

The Providence Performing Arts Center has a couple of concert events in addition to the Broadway hits they present. Coming up: Jun 21: Harry Connick Jr. – A  New Orleans Tricentennial Celebration; Jul 20: Dan and Phil 2018 World Tour – Interactive Introverts; Aug 4: Yanni: 25th Anniversary of Live at the Acropolis. For more, “Santorini” to ppacri.org

On Saturday, June 16, the Providence Mandolin Orchestra will present their annual Spring Concert featuring original works from Japan, Spain, Greece and the US, played on a family of plucked string instruments, including the mandolin, mandola, mandocello, bass and classical guitar, under the direction of conductor Mark Davis. It takes place at the Park Place Congregational United Church of Christ, 71 Park Pl, Pawtucket. For more, Florentine to providencemandolin.org

PVDlive presents shows all the time, all over Providence. Coming up: Jun 10: Jazz Night at The Grange Providence featuring Leland Baker; Jun 12: Ali McGuirk & DharmaSoul Band at Nick-a-Nee’s, Jun 13: Birdlady/Alexa(Leiko)/Becca Neveu at The Grange; Jun 27: Alidade/Chris Capaldi at The Grange; Jul 11: Andrew Victor/ Chrissy Stewart and more at The Grange; Jul 25: Eric George and Will Houlihan (Haunt The House) at The Grange. For more, just be at pvdlive.com

The Open Mic at The Mediator Stage will continue throughout the summer with the third Thursday of the month hosted by student/mentor group Rising. They will have a one-hour songwriting workshop at 6:30 and follow it with an open mic at 7:30pm. It’s open to the public. All other open mics are hosted by Don Tassone, and features are as follows: Jun 14: Cardboard Ox; Jun 28: Annie Kennedy; Jul 5: TBA; Jul 12: Scott Danger Bravo; Jul 26: Charlie Cover; Aug 2: TBA; Aug 9: Jim Tata. For more, Rounds to mediatorfellowship.org

Blackstone River Theatre moves their Celtic and world music programming outside on June 16 as they present the 8th annual Blackstone River Theatre Summer Solstice Festival to be held at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland. The family-friendly festival runs from 11am – 7pm and features three music stages, a dance stage and a children’s activity area, all running continuously, as well as 40 food and craft vendors. Performing will be the Atwater-Donnelly Trio, The Mari Black Celtic Band, Daymark, Kevin Doyle’s Dance Showcase, Eastern Medicine Singers, The Gnomes, The Gothard Sisters, La Croise D’Antan, Owen Marshall & Jenna Moynihan, Emerald Rae, Torrin Ryan, and Sheila Falls & Kyle Forsthoff. There will also be a dedicated stage for Irish step dance, featuring Tir Na Nog Irish Dance and a session tent run by Bob Drouin. Also returning will be the popular after-festival music session on June 16 at 8:30pm at Blackstone River Theatre. This limited ticket event features all the festival performers playing in a casual setting with complimentary food and a cash bar. For more, ceilidh to riverfolk.org/brtssf

On September 15 from noon until 4pm, Local Brew presents the 8th annual Fiddle n Folk Fest. It will take place at Haines Park in Barrington featuring Golden Bantams, Mini-Magnolia, Chris Capaldi, Sunday Night Jammers, Hollow Turtle, Trio of Gnomes, Old Fiddlers Club of RI and storytelling by Len Cabral. For more information fiddle-dee-dee to facebook.com/FiddleNFolkFest

The Taj Mahal Trio, Steve Earle & the Dukes, and Leftover Salmon will headline the 21st annual Rhythm & Roots Festival, set for August 31 – September 2 at Ninigret Park in Charlestown. More than 10,000 attendees are expected at the music, dancing, camping, food and family fun festival, which aims to keep American roots music alive. With three days of music on four stages, Rhythm & Roots offers everything from Cajun and zydeco to blues and swing for fans of every age. For more, “Devil’s Right Hand” to rhythmandroots.com

Phew! That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.com

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