The Roots Report: Forever Young Anniversary Show

Okee dokee folks … Over the past few months I have been preoccupied with three things: my health (I had bronchitis and it took foooooooooooorever to get over), the election (we all know how that turned out, don’t need to talk about that) and the Ten Year Anniversary Show for my band, Forever Young. Yeah, this is the rare time in my column where I toot my own horn. Actually I am tooting it more for the sake of the dozen other people involved in the show. We have a lot of people in the band. Some are current members and some are reuniting for the 10th anniversary show. It’s kind of funny that we are in our 10th year when this whole project was originally only planned for one show! Over the years we have had some personnel changes and one of our members passed away. We have weathered it all and we keep on playing because we love to do it.

Forever Young plays the music of Neil Young. Unlike most tribute type bands, no one in this band tries to be Neil Young. We just play his music. There is only one and will only ever be one Neil. If you try to imitate Neil, you wind up looking stupid, you know, just like Jimmy Fallon (not a Fallon fan!). I have been a Neil Young devotee since my early teens, and he was a major influence on my music. I frequently tell the story of how when I was 16 years old, my friends and I were down at the Civic Center trying to catch Neil after his sound check so we could meet him. It was a good plan, we thought. There was a lot of waiting and a small keg of beer involved. My friends sat on the wall behind the Civic Center and I waited by the stage door. It opened and a guy came out. He had a bad “bowl” haircut, was wearing white painter’s pants and t-shirt. He stood right next to me. We looked at each other and didn’t say a word. We stood there in silence for about 10 minutes. The door opened again and a couple of other guys came out and the first man joined them and started to walk away. At that moment my friend Mark yelled out, “That’s Neil!” Seems he recognized Neil’s gait from the movie The Last Waltz. You have to remember that this was the mid-70s and there was no MTV and the only real images we had of rock stars were from albums or CREEM Magazine. We all ran after Neil and were stopped in our tracks when his manager spun around and said, “Be cool, man.” So close. Ironically the man who stopped us was someone I worked with at music festivals many years later.

Anyway, having the opportunity to play his music for people who also love his music is a joy. Besides the pleasure of performing Neil’s songs I also really enjoy playing music with my bandmates. Bands require chemistry to work and we have great chemistry. I feel very fortunate to have been able to make music with these folks all these years. Currently, our band members are Dan Lilley, Amy Bedard, Pete Vendettuoli, John Amitrano and Gary StGermain. Rejoining us for this show are Mark Cutler, Becky Chace and Leo Dumas. We hope that our late drummer, Phil Hicks, will smile down on us; we will set a kit on the stage in his honor. We decided to add a whole CSNY feel to the night and we invited our friends Trinity (Eric Komiega, Freddy Komiega, Joe Caron and Eric Leffingwell) to open the show with a set of CSNY tunes. These guys are spot-on with the harmonies and at this point, are better than the real thing. We were also VERY fortunate to secure the Park Theatre in Cranston for this show. If you have never been, this is the perfect opportunity to check the place out. They have a great line-up of shows and are always adding more. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Judy Collins herself, will be there on December 23. I attended the Robert Cray concert at the Park last night. Great show! Very cozy seat with drink holders, the sound is state-of-the-art, parking is a breeze (FREE parking across the street at Cranston Town Hall), they have a lounge, and so much more. If you don’t come for our show you should definitely get there for something! For more info about the Park Theatre, avenue over to: For more info about Forever Young, Powderfinger to: Thanks! Read on…

About five years ago I saw the movie Once. It was a simple indie movie that had great music and a lot of heart. A few months later I was very excited to learn that The Swell Season, the duo that made the music in the film, were going to be at Lupo’s. I was floored by the performance of Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova. At one point in the show Hansard unplugged his guitar, stepped away from the microphone and stood at the edge of the stage and played a song. This was the most attentive I think I have ever seen an audience. His voice and guitar carried without any sound reinforcement. It truly was amazing. To this day I think it was the best show I have seen at Lupo’s.

Later that same summer The Swell Season were at the Newport Folk Festival. I was busy doing festival stuff and barely heard any music, but when they took the stage I dropped everything to catch their set. I sat on the stage just a few feet from Marketa’s piano. It was another amazing set. I had the opportunity to meet them after their performance. They were quite nice and very down-to-earth folks. I had a copy of the Once film and had them autograph it. Yes, I can be a geeky fan, too. They released another CD of music later, but soon the duo split up. I thought I wouldn’t get to hear the songs from Once performed live again. Surprisingly, or maybe not so, they made Once into a musical. Yes, this is a very roundabout way of telling you about the musical Once that will be at Providence Performing Arts Center from December 2nd through the 4th. You can see it more than once (yes, I know, that was just bad but I had to). For those of you who don’t know the story, it’s about a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. So, I am going to see if it meets the high standards set by the Swell Season. Maybe you should, too. For more, fall slowly to

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

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