The Roots Report: The Soundtrack of Summer

Okee dokee folks … “Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.” That line is from one of the best summer songs ever recorded: “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts. If summer had the feel of this song, I might like it more, but it usually leans more toward Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer,” so I am miserable during the heat of June, July and August. Whatever the weather, a good soundtrack for the season definitely makes it more bearable. There is plenty of music to go around this summer. Check back throughout the summer months to find out the best choices for “Hot Fun in the Summer time” (that’s Sly, baby!). Read on for what I have now …

What better way to celebrate the official start of summer? The Blackstone River Theatre moves their Celtic and world music programming outside on June 20 as they celebrate the 5th Annual Blackstone River Theatre Summer Solstice Festival at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland. The family-friendly festival features three music stages, a dance stage and a children’s stage, all running continuously. Performing will be Calan from Wales, The Gothard Sisters, Eastern Medicine Singers, The Gnomes, Cassie & Maggie MacDonald, Robbie O’Connell and Dan Milner, Pendragon, RUNA, The Vox Hunters with Torrin Ryan, and Will Woodson and Joey Abarta. There will also be a dedicated stage for Irish stepdance featuring Tir Na Nog Irish Dance. Also returning will be the after-festival music session on June 20 at 8:30, at Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad St, Cumberland. This limited ticket event features all the festival performers playing in a casual setting with complimentary food and a cash bar. For more, step over to

The 5th year of the Downtown Sundown Series at Roger Williams National Memorial (NOT Roger Williams Park) in downtown PVD is underway with free performances all summer long. Experience an “outdoor coffeehouse” when the Acoustic Music Series begins on Sat, Jun 20 from 7 – 9:30pm with Cardboard Ox, Emma Joy Galvin, Kristin Baroni, and Ian Fitzgerald. The music continues on Sat, Jul 11: Dan Lilley w/Amy Bedard & Scatman, Allysen Callery, Ryan Lee Crosby; Jul 25: Ed McGuirl & Mike Fischman, Bethel Steele, Pete Vendettuoli; Aug 8: Kristen and J, John Larson, Sara Azriel, Dan Dodd; Aug 22: Jack & Jesse Gauthier, Kala Farnham, and John Faraon. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Providence Folk Festival on Aug 30. Admission to all of these events is FREE. For more, discover

Every Thursday this summer, the Towers in Narragansett will pump up the heat even more with dancing and live music by the ocean. Jun 11 is Leftover Cuties, Jun 18 is The Becky Chace Band, Jun 25 is The Hoolios, Jul 9 is Roger Ceresi’s All Starz, Jul 23 is Hank West and the Smokin’ Hots, Jul 30 is Coastline Swing Band, Aug 6 is The Revelers, Aug 13 is Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88’s, Aug 20 is Matuto; and Aug 27 is Musette Explosion. The Towers is located at 35 Ocean Rd in Narragansett, right near the town beach. You literally drive right under it! Where else can you get your groove on with a variety of great music and a beautiful view of the sea? For more, two-step over to

On the other side of the Big Ole Braga Bridge the Narrows can keep you cool with their state-of-the-art air conditioning on those hot summer days. Though outdoors is where you may want to be during the coming months, the Narrows has many, many ways of coaxing you indoors. There are way too many reasons to list, but here are a few really good reasons to get there: The Eagles JD Souther on Jun 18, Marcia Ball on Jul 7, Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys on July Jul 9, Hal Ketchum on Jul 30, and Ricki Lee Jones on Aug 8. To check out the summer schedule, chill over to

What better time is there to learn to play an instrument than during the summer? What better instrument is there to learn during the summer than the ukulele? It is small, portable, cheap, easy to play, festive, and you can sit outside and practice. Fortunately, Wakefield Music is bringing back the “Meet the Uke” workshops by Jim Beloff. The first class on Jun 25 introduces you to the basics of playing the ukulele including holding, tuning, strumming and making chords. The second workshop, “The Next Step,” continues on Jul 23 and is designed for intermediate to advanced players. Bring a soprano-tuned ukulele and if you don’t have a uke they will lend you one. “See Uke There!” I am NOT taking credit for that pun! For more, tiptoe through the tulips to or call 401.783.5390.

I am taking a deep breath as I prepare the long list of SOME of the stuff happening this summer. Ready? Begin! Chan’s Restaurant in Woonsocket has music all summer long. Here’s a pupu platter of upcoming shows: Forever Young-A Tribute to the Music of Neil Young on Jun 5, Les Dudek on Jun 26 and Aug 2, and Albert Castiglia on Aug 6 (

The East Bay Contra Dances happen on the first Friday of the month in Warren. On Jun 5 is caller Elwood Donnelly, Dave Langford on fiddle and Peter Barnes on piano and guitar. Dan Pearl and The Vox Hunters with Torrin Ryan provide the music on Jul 3, and on Aug 7 is caller Tony Parkes, fiddler Paul Lizotte, and pianist Carol Bittenson (

Music at Lily Pads welcomes two blues guitar journeymen on Sat, Jun 6Patrick Sweany with special guest Tyler-James Kelly ( The Providence Mandolin Orchestra is Sat, Jun 6, at Park Place Congregational Church, 71 Park Pl, Pawtucket ( The annual Women of RISA Show with Jan Luby, Allison Giuliano, Dawn Kenny and Ruthann Baler is Sat Jun 13 at the Church St. Coffeehouse in Warren ( The Courthouse Center for the Arts has Don Campbell playing the music of Dan Fogelberg on Jun 6, Kerri Powers and Dynamite Shack on Jun 13, Livingston Taylor on Jun 27, and Loudon Wainwright III on Jul 18 (

Joanne Lurgio has a new Tuesday night acoustic open mic at the Pub on Park (Legion Bowl) Allison Messier and Paul Cienniwa perform a concert of music by Harry Chapin, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and Neil Young at Concerts by the Sea, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, 182 Willow Ave in Little Compton, on Sat, Jun 13 ( The New Bedford Folk Festival happens Jul 4 and 5 with Susan Werner, The Neilds, Catie Curtis, Vance Gilbert, Martin Grosswendt, James Keelaghan, The Kennedys, Patti Larkin, Tom Rush, Vance Gilbert, Jez Lowe and many more ( The Zeiterion in New Bedford has some summer sizzle for you with David Crosby, solo, acoustic on Jul 6, Smash Mouth and Tonic on Jul 16, Weird Al Yankovich on Aug 4, and Joan Armatrading on Sept 25 (

The Mediator Stage will be closed for July, but here’s what’s coming up for June and August: Jun 4 is an open mic with host Don Tassone featuring Patricia Ann Daddona and the band We Were Strangers. On Jun 11 is Marc Calhoun, on Jun 18 is Ilene Springer, on Jun 25 is Rick Quimby and Linda McCarthy, on Aug 6 is G.W. Mercure, on Aug 13 is Meryn Flynn, and on Aug 20 is Mitch Kaplan.

On Wed, Jul 8, the Gnomes bring their global folk fusion to the Weaver Library Summer Concert Series at 41 Grove Ave in East Providence. The Newport Folk Festival is Jul 24 – 26 with Roger Waters, Brandi Carlile, The Decemberists and more ( The Newport Jazz Festival goes from Jul 31 – Aug 2 ( You can find Guitar Masters with Andy Mckee, Stephen Bennett and Antoine Dufour at Fête Ballroom in Olneyville on Jul 31 (

The fourth-annual Blues Bash with Sherman Lee Dillon and the Mississippi Sound is on Sat, Aug 1 on the South Lawn of the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford ( Aug 7 brings an NPR favorite to Providence. A Prairie Home Companion will make a stop at PPAC with Garrison Keillor, Sarah Jarosz, Piano Master Richard Dworsky and Fred Newman World’s Greatest SFX Man, The Radio Rhubarb Band with Fiddling Richard Kriehn, Chris Siebold Boy Guitarist, Guy Noir, Private Eye, News from Lake Wobegon, Audience Chorale, Poetry Declamation, and other classics ( The Blackstone River Party/Taste of the Valley happens on Fri, Aug 28 featuring Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-chas and Shiny Lapel Trio ( The Providence Wholebellies will be performing at The Parlour on North Main Street on Jul 31 and Sun, Aug 30. Newport Waterfront events is still kicking after the sale of the Newport Yachting Center at the end of last year. They are still scheduling events to be announced, but as of now they have slated The Waterfront Reggae Festival on Aug 8, J Geils Band on Sept 5, and the International Oktoberfest on Sat, Oct 17 and Sun, Oct 18 all at India Point Park in PVD ( The annual Rhythm and Roots Fest will take place on Labor Day weekend with acts such as the Mavericks, Los Lobos and more (

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. Get your event info to me at


2 responses to “The Roots Report: The Soundtrack of Summer”

  1. Don Tassone says:

    Also- August 27- Comedian Richard Cyr will be our Open Mic Feature. And Looking forward to September- Saturday the 26th- our fundraising event for The Mediator Fellowship featuring 8 local songwriting acts- it's the return of 4 Corners at The Mediator Stage! And— Thursday, September 17- Open Mic featuring the writer of this fine column John Fuzek!

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