The Roots Report: Bundle Up and Get Out

Okee dokee folks … The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. This time of the year it starts to take a lot to get your butt off the couch and get out the door. As the colder weather takes over it takes even more to entice you to layer up the outerwear and brave the elements. There are always lots of choices to make the expedition worthwhile; you just need to stay connected to find the best destination. Avoid hibernation, read Motif and we’ll let you know where and when to go … and hopefully provide some motivation!

First off, here is a bit of info for all of you performers looking to book a show. You may be the best thing since sliced bread but unless you can find somewhere you can play and get paid you may just end up playing for the four walls of your bedroom. The Rhode Island Songwriters Association (RISA) has always been about helping out songwriters and performers. On Saturday, November 22nd, RISA will present a ‘Getting the Gig’ workshop with David Tamulevich. He operates his own agency (Tamulevich Artist Management) that represents the likes of Brother Sun, John Gorka, Peter Yarrow, Christine Lavin, Don White and more. Tamulevich is considered one of the preeminent agents in the field by artists, managers, and venues alike. Known for his honestly and integrity, he is not only credited with helping to establish the current folk music circuit, but also for redefining the traditional artist/agent/venue relationship as more of a cooperative partnership based on mutual long-term objectives. He has presented many workshops on a variety of topics such as: touring, management, and recording, and he has also written several articles which are widely considered touchstones in the field, and are widely referenced by artists, managers, record companies, and others. As Tamulevich is both a Booking Agent and Artist Manager (not to mention half of the folk duo Mustard’s Retreat) he will have insight to the inside workings of getting a gig. The workshop will be at the Mediator Stage at 50 Rounds Avenue in Providence from 2-4pm. Registration is $10 advance, $15 day of the Workshop. For more get “write” over to

As the weather gets colder, moving your body helps to get you warm. Sitting in an audience listening to music is good for the soul but your butt may fall asleep if you don’t get up and shake it every now and then. Contra dancing can be the cure. It is a fun, informal event featuring easily learned steps such as those used in traditional square dancing. No experience is necessary and you do not need to bring your own partner, as it is customary to change them many times over the course of the evening. The dances are taught by the caller and each one lasts about 10 minutes. It’s granola aerobics! Blackstone River Theatre will host a contra dance on Sunday, November 9, from 4-6pm with music by the Providence based band White Squall, and caller Paul Wilde. For more, promenade over to At the German Club in Pawtucket the Turkey Two-Step Dinner Dance will shake in on Saturday, November 15th from 8-11pm. This one features classic country, cajun and Zydeco music with Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp. Dennis Stroughmatt is a master fiddler and has performed across the United States and Canada. The Turkey Two-Step will commence with Dennis’s Cherokee Cowboys playing classic country sounds He will be joined by special guests Paula Bradley of GiRL HOWDY, and The Twangbusters and Kevin Maul of The Lustre Kings. Gobble over to for more. On Friday, November 21st from 8-11pm, you have another opportunity to trip the light fantastic. There will a contra dance at St. Paul’s Church in Pawtucket. Again, Paul Wilde will be the caller. Music will be provided by the local band, Smurf Truck. They ask that you come scent free and bring clean, soft-soled shoes.  Beginners are welcomed and encouraged- all steps will be taught.  Send some electronic mail to for more details. Down at the Common Fence Music Hall in Portsmouth you can get you dance on at the Roll up the Rug Old-Time Family Dance Workshop on Saturday, November 22nd from 2-4pm. The workshop is free and open to all ages. The Rusty Pickup String Band will be playing and renowned Illinois dance caller and dancer, Jim Hicks will be teaching dance steps and calling. Hicks will teach simple contra dances as well as circle dances, reels and square dances. Beginners should not be intimidated; Jim is an understanding teacher. There will also be plenty of seats for those who would like to enjoy the experience in a sitting position. Later the same night you can employ some of the steps you have learned at the fourth annual Horn of Plenty Music concert and dance cornucopia with more of The Rusty Pickup String Band as well as Haunt the House, and The Bob Kendall Band. Live music will be playing during the “folk-tailgate chow-down” when the doors open at 6:30. For more, hustle over to: Don’t miss your chances to dance!


Grammy-award winner and six-time Grammy nominee, Peter Rowan, will be at the Met in Pawtucket on Sunday, November 23 at 7pm. The bluegrass singer-songwriter has a career that spans over five decades. Starting from his early years playing under the tutelage of Bluegrass veteran Bill Monroe to his time in Old and In the Way with Jerry Garcia, to his breakout as a solo musician and bandleader, Rowan has built a devoted, international fan base through his continuous stream of records, collaborative projects, and constant touring. In the late 60s and early 70s Rowan was involved in a number of rock, folk and bluegrass projects, including Earth Opera – which frequently opened for The Doors, Sea Train, Muleskinner, and the Rowans, where he played alongside brothers Chris and Lorin Rowan. In the late 70s, he released critically acclaimed records such as Dustbowl Children, Yonder (a record of old-time country music in collaboration with dobro player, Jerry Douglas), two bluegrass albums The First Whippoorwill and Bluegrass Boy, as well as High Lonesome Cowboy, a recording of traditional and old-time mountain music with Don Edwards and Norman Blake. Rowan’s recent releases- Quartet, recorded with Tony Rice and Legacy with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. He also well known for composing songs performed by New Riders of the Purple Sage, including “Panama Red,” “Midnight Moonlight” and “Lonesome LA Cowboy.” For more, pick on over to:

Fete in Olneyville has a folksy sort of show on Wednesday, November 19th with Jessica Lea Mayfield, T. Hardy Morris and The Hardknocks, and Dylan Sevey and the Gentlemen. Folk-influenced songwriter from Ohio, Jessica Lea Mayfield began performing with her family’s bluegrass band, One Way Rider, at the age of eight. She started writing her own music three years later, often accompanying her older brother at open-mic performances in the Ohio area, before landing a weekly solo gig at a local bar. At 15 years old, Mayfield took to her brother’s bedroom to record a batch of her own acoustic songs, which ran the gamut from raw, aggressive folk tunes to world-weary country ballads. Only one hundred copies of White Lies were printed, one of which wound up in the hands of Dan Auerbach, frontman of the Ohio-based band the Black Keys. With Auerbach’s help, Mayfield began attracting a wider audience. She made a guest appearance on the Black Keys’ 2008 album Attack & Release, singing backup vocals on the track “Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be,” and spent a pair of years recording her official debut album, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, in Auerbach’s home studio. Released in September 2008 by Polymer Sounds, the album was a critical success. Mayfield supported its release by going on tour, serving as an opening act for bands like the Avett Brothers, Cake, Lucero, and the Black Keys. T. Hardy Morris is widely known for his work as the frontman of Dead Confederate, as well as being a founding member of Americana group Diamond Rugs that also includes John McCauley of Deer Tick. Opening this show are Dylan Sevey and the Gentlemen. After a very busy summer that brought Dylan and the Gentlemen on tour up and down the east coast, the gentlemen are back in town and ready impress with their infectious blend of americana, alt country, blues, and rock and roll. Be sure to get there early to catch Dylan’s opening set. For more, celebrate your way to

Back in 1971 an album came out that was the very first album that I ever bought. It was American Pie by Don McLean. That was one of the prime reasons that I learned to play the guitar and became a singer-songwriter. Over the years I have seen him perform quite a few times and even had the opportunity to play the same festival with him back in the 90’s. His timeless hit American Pie has developed a life of its own and will carry on for eons. It is a once in a lifetime song from a songwriter who has written many, many other beautiful and amazing songs- “And I Love You So”, “Vincent”, “Castles In The Air”, and many others. These songs are the reason he has earned a place in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Don McLean will be at the Stadium Theater in Woonsocket on November 13th at 8pm. Do yourself a HUGE favor and don’t miss this chance to hear McLean perform live. Opening the show will be The Annie Brobst Band. For more drive your Chevy to:

Concrete Blonde is best known for the 1990 rock ballad hit single “Joey” from their popular album Bloodletting and for Johnette Napolitano’s distinctive vocals. The band has been retired but Napolitano is still performing. She’s out touring on her own with just an acoustic guitar and her songs. She will be at the narrows in Fall River on November 20th. Opening the show is Laurie Sargent, former lead singer of the band Face To Face. For more, towhead over to:

Coming up in 2015 the Courthouse Center for the Arts will be bringing nationally known musicians to West Kingston every weekend. The Courthouse Comes Alive Series will include such acts as James Montgomery Band, Jonathan Edwards, Melanie, Pousette-Dart Band, Pure Prairie League, Noel Paul Stookey, and many more to come. The series begins in January and will continue through May. Back in the “folk boom days” of the early 90’s there were a few venues presenting music in the Kingstown area. When they closed, there was a huge music void in the area. The Courthouse Center has been trying to fill that void for years. CCFA is a non-profit organization and is currently seeking sponsorships for this series. To help them out and find out more info, gavel over to:

Finally, here are a bunch of shows you should try to get to. Chan’s in Woonsocket has the Willie J. Laws Band with special guest Charles Neville of The Neville Brothers on November 8th, and Coco Montoya on the 12th. On Sunday, the 9th, from 3-5, The Providence Mandolin Orchestra will give a concert at The Aldrich Mansion, 836 Warwick Neck Ave in Warwick. The concert will be an eclectic mix ranging from Vivaldi to Randy Newman. Tickets available only in advance by calling 800-838-3006, or The Café at Theater 82 on Rolfe Square in Cranston will now be featuring live Jazz music during breakfast on Sundays from 10:30am until The Mediator Stage Open Mic with Don Tassone presents features Martin Lazzareschi on November 13th and Frank Martyn on the 20th.
The legend, Bob Dylan, is at the Providence Performing Arts Center with his band on Saturday, November 15th. For those who have never seen him it’s time you should. If you are into the drive to Boston and Lucinda Williams, then head to the Orpheum on November 19th.