The Roots Report: Budget Bustin’ for Neil

Okee dokee folks… So, the other day I saw that one of my friends mentioned something about Neil Young tickets going on sale. That immediately caught my attention and I began trying to acquire tickets. I haven’t been this excited about seeing a show since my first Neil Young concert back in the ’70s. I don’t know why I got so giddy about it. I have seen him many, many times and I play his music in my band. Maybe it was because it felt like I was privy to some secret information as it was in pre-sales and you needed a special code to purchase tickets. My friend told me that the tix had just gone on sale and pretty much everything was available for the concert’s two-night stint. So, I entered the code and magically the attainable seats appeared. At first just the cheap seats were visible and I thought about just grabbing a couple and dragging one of my friends with me. But then I took a peek at the ‘spensive ones for those who live in the lap of the luxury sit “up front.” I

Neil Young

Neil Young

clicked on the price and nearly had a heart attack. Those prestigious pieces of paper were $250! But the seats were right up close to the stage and Young will be performing solo. It’s also only one of supposedly six dates across the country. A devilish thought washed over me, “Maybe I should just buy one!” I knew I couldn’t even remotely afford it. The cursor hovered over the “buy” button for a little while as I pondered the prospect of maxing out my credit card. I pulled the pin and let the ordinance drop …”BOOM”, I had purchased ONE ticket to see Neil. After ticketing fees were added in the final tally wound up $275. That is more than all the combined concerts of my teenage years cost, and I went to a lot of them! I started trying to rationalize the purchase. Young is 72 years old, he could drop anytime and it could be the last time I ever see him play live. I perform in a band that plays his music so I guess I owe Uncle Neil. I will be so close I will see his fingers working their magic on the neck of his old Martin guitar. Okay, I guess it will be worth it. Of course it will be, it’s NEIL YOUNG! Now I just have to figure out how to pay that purchase off. Is anyone in the market for a healthy, male kidney? Neil Young will be at the Boch Wang Center in Boston on July 11 and 12. For more, “Drive Back” to bochcenter.org

There be Lobstahs in tha Woods! Sandywoods that is. Gary Fish, host of the Sandywoods Open Mic, and his band, the Fins will playing on Sat, May 19 to celebrate the long-awaited release of his album, Lobsters In The Woods. His dorsal band is made up of Thatcher Harrison on lead guitar, Mike Jupin on bass, Barney Johnson on vocals and djembe, and Stephen Redfern on vocals and rhythm guitar. Fish says, “I am very excited about this album. It came out so great. So please mark your calendar for May 19! By then lobster season will be in full swing and we will be ready to rock out!” Barney Johnson and Stephen Redfern will each play a short set before the Fins take the stage. Fish adds, “I can’t wait ! All I can say is Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” For more, sandywoods.org

It’s spawn of the songwriters! Okay, not really, but really. What I mean is Justin Townes Earle, son of Steve Earle, and Lilly Hiatt, daughter of John Hiatt, will be performing at the Narrows Center for the Arts on Fri, May 25. Since launching his recording career a decade ago, Justin Townes Earle has established a reputation in the Americana music community. His seventh album, Kids in the Street, “raises the creative and personal stakes to deliver a deeply soulful set that’s both emotionally riveting and effortlessly uplifting.” As for Lilly Hiatt, “she keeps the family tradition alive, mixing Southern influences – Americana, folk and left-of-center country – with a raw approach that’s better suited to the garage than the saloon.” For more, Bring The Family to narrowscenter.org

As a farewell to the class of 2018, the vocal ensemble at Mt. Hope High School in Bristol recorded an original graduation song, called “To Belong.” The song was written and arranged by local musician and Mt. Hope choral director, David Lauria, and was recorded at the high school in Bristol. Unfortunately, the project took on a far different meaning after the senseless shooting in Parkland, Fla. The Mt. Hope High School vocal ensemble are dedicating their graduation song to those who died on February 14, as well as to the survivors, family and friends. They will also be donating the proceeds from a fundraiser that they have set up for the Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund. Donations are transferred directly to this Victims’ Fund and administrated by the Broward Education Foundation. There are several levels of donations available, from $5 – $500, with perks that range from an MP3 download of the song to a live performance by members of the chorus. For more information on the fundraiser, and to hear a preview of the song, B sharp and get to GoFundme.com/MT-Hope-HS-Graduation-Song-2018.

There are a couple of singer-songwriters who tend to make annual visits to our area, albeit to different venues each time. One of them is John Gorka. For more than 30 years Gorka has been recording, touring and bringing his brand of clever songwriting to fans far and wide. He has graced the stage of Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, The Newport Folk Festival and NPR, and has even appeared on CNN. Many well-known artists have recorded Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. John will be hitting the Wamsutta Club stage in New Bedford on Fri, Jun 1 at 7:30pm. For more, “Raven In The Storm” to brownpapertickets.com/event/3118055

Just like the annual return of the hummingbirds, no spring would be complete without a visit by songbird Cheryl Wheeler. She shares music and hilariously funny song introductions as well as the stories that formed these compositions. At a Wheeler show you, in a way, get a two-for-one deal. There is poet-Cheryl, writer of some of the prettiest, most alluring and intelligent ballads on the modern folk scene. And then there is her evil twin, comic-Cheryl, a militant trend-defier and savagely funny social critic. The result is a delightful contrast between poet and comic. Cheryl Wheeler will be appear at The Courthouse Center For The Arts in West Kingston on Sat, Jun 2 at 7pm. For more, “Pop Tarts and Spam” to courthousearts.org

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

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