Roots Report: Haunt the House and Other October Treats

Okee dokee folks … Sometimes I have long-winded stories to tell, sometimes not. This is one of those rare times that I don’t have much to say. Maybe the blood moon eclipse sucked my brain dry like some bizarre sci-fi horror flick. But I will never be at a loss to tell you about the great music out there, so read on.

Haunt the House makes its Stone Soup Coffeehouse debut on Saturday, October 3. HTH played at this year’s Newport Folk Festival and has made a big impact on the local and regional music scene. Will Houlihan and Stephen Lloyd Law, mandolin player, will make up the band for this show. Based in the woods of Charlestown, songwriter Will Houlihan caught the attention of the local music scene in 2013 with the release of his solo EP, Rural Introspection Study Group. Shortly after this release, Will conceived the idea for his first full-length release — a love triangle between two people, one of whom has a split personality. This idea became the May 2014 release, Jack Rabbit Jones. After enlisting a band of local musicians featuring Bessie Bessin, Amato Zinno, Stephen Lloyd Law and Allysen Callery, Jack Rabbit Jones has garnered positive attention for its rich harmonies, powerful lyrics and dynamic musicianship. For more, bunny hop over to StoneSoupCoffeehouse.com

The Gothard Sisters will make their RI debut on Saturday, October 3 at Common Fence Music. The sisters are a dynamic Irish music and dance group from the Pacific Northwest who performs and records new arrangements of traditional Irish songs and tunes, as well as their own compositions. Examples can be heard on their most recent original release, Compass, and their award-winning Celtic album, Story Girl. The band’s third album, Mountain Rose, was released last summer. In January 2014, The Gothard Sisters were named the Best New Irish Artist in the 6th Annual Irish Music Awards.

Mary Gauthier, internationally acclaimed Americana troubadour, singer and songwriter, returns to Common Fence Music in Portsmouth on October 17. Gauthier grew up in Louisiana where she could have easily become a statistic. She was an orphan who discovered early on that she was a lesbian before becoming a teenage runaway. She found her first shelter among addicts and drag queens and embraced alcohol and drug addiction. She resettled in Boston and eventually achieved renown as a chef while balancing her restaurant with the demands of heroin addiction. An escalating addiction and a subsequent arrest led her into sobriety. All that was rehearsal for what was to follow when she wrote her first song in her mid-30s. Mary’s songs are painfully personal, especially on her latest album, Trouble and Love. These days Mary splits her time between performing, touring and teaching songwriting. For more, “Walk Through the Fire” to commonfencemusic.org

The Busking at Bowen’s Fall Series presents raw acoustic music at Bowen’s Wharf to welcome visitors and entertain locals during the fall. Busking, or street performance, is a time-tested cultural tradition in which performing artists bare their souls and connect with passersby and are paid by what they collect in the hat. Artists in this series include representatives from My Mother’s Moustache, Panoramic View, The Troubles, The Copacetics and soloists including Ilana Katz Katz, Dave Schneider, Warren Smith, Kate Grana and more. Performances will be held from 10:30am until 1:30pm on a variety of dates from September 18th until October 27.  The events lead up to the 25th Annual Bowen’s Seafood Festival featuring more live music on October 17 and 18. For more information, including full artist lineup and dates, tip over to BowensWharf.com.

Here’s one for the musicians or wannabe musicians. Renowned violinist Sandal Astrausky who, among her many accolades, contributed to the soundtrack for the film, The Secret of Roan Innish, will present a fiddle workshop at Wakefield Music. This five-week workshop is open to all violinists and will explore a repertoire of lively Old Time American fiddle tunes. Sandol will teach students about basic bow rhythms that make a melody sound like a fiddle tune. Participants should have the ability to tune, bow and play major scales in the keys of G, D and C.

If you know what “my dog has fleas” means, you can sharpen your skills and spark your creativity with a five-week ukulele workshop taught by Wakefield Music’s Dennis Costa. The sessions will focus on learning to play and read simple melodies; refining technique; understanding chords, harmony and rhythm; arranging songs and basic ear-training, all while having fun playing with others. To join, you should be able to tune your uke and know how to play a few basic chords. The workshops run from October 10th until November 7th and all ages are welcomed at both. For more, Tip Toe Through the Tulips to WakefieldMusic.com

Finally, are two shows I am involved with. The first one is on Block Island. It is amazing that it took me 48 years to get over to the Block, but once I discovered this little gem, I try to get there as often as possible. If you have never been there this is a perfect chance. The Harbor Church is having a fundraiser concert called BeatleFest to celebrate the church’s 250th anniversary and to help support their Common Ground Coffeehouse. It was inspired by a show produced by the Mee and Thee Coffeehouse in Marblehead. Each act will play three of their favorite Beatles’ tunes. Allysen and Ava Callery, Mark Cutler and Jimmy Berger, Cardboard Ox, Haunt the House, Kim Trusty, and I will ferry across to the island to perform at the show. Islanders Cameron Greenlee, Virginia Dare, Colby Lasorsa, Dave Flamand, Kat McLaughlin, Elaina Smith and Jake Douglas are also performing. For more, day trip to harborchurchblockisland.org

The second is Forever Young’s annual performance at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River. This is our biggest show all year and we will play the entire Zuma album as well as lots of other Neil Young hits and deep cuts! The show is Saturday, October 17. “Drive Back” to NarrowsCenter.org for more.

Here are a couple of random events I will toss in just to make it more interesting for you all. Musician Joe Silva is hosting a new weekly acoustic open mic every Sunday from 7-11pm at the The Garage located at 75 Manville Hill Rd in Cumberland. At the Parlour, it’s Get Up! Stand Up for James! – A Music Fundraiser for James Greene on Saturday, October 24. Three great bands: The Providence Wholebellies, The Gnomes and Professor Roots will provide the tunes. James is a 16-year-old kid who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood cancer last March (youcaring.com/welovejames). The Bluegrass Throwdown is at Nick-A-Nees every Wednesday from 8:30-11:30pm. On October 7 is Mark Kilianski and the Moonlight Ramblers, on the 14th is Lizzie James & the Greystone Rail, on the 21st is Best Ever Chicken and on the 28th catch the Brummy Brothers.

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

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