Okee dokee folks… And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Just in case you were wondering, I didn’t have a column last issue as we put out the Motif Awards edition. In my last column, I wrote about Kathleen Edwards. The magazine came out. The show was cancelled. I just saw a posting on Facebook that made me think of that show. “Music venues are closing because you’re saying, ‘I will catch the next show.’ Don’t wait for the next one, it may be too late…support the scene.”
While that wasn’t necessarily the case for the Kathleen Edwards show, it was close. I ended up going toBostonto see the show. She played her entire new CD and choice cuts from the other three discs. I absolutely loved the concert. I did not like the fact that I had to drive toBostonand spend TWENTY SEVEN dollars to park but was very happy that I FINALLY got to see her perform live. I talked to Kathleen Edwards after the show and asked her why the show was cancelled in RI. Evidently it was low ticket sales. I have been complaining for years about artists that skip RI. Obviously, this is one reason. I really don’t want to drive toBostonto see some of my favorite acts. I can count on one hand how many I would have made that drive for. Kathleen Edwards was at the top. If you see a show that interests you, GO SEE IT! Don’t wait. Buy your tickets in advance. Next time it may not be the show that goes away…it may be the last straw for a venue. We are in the home stretch of a lot of the coffeehouse-type, indoor venues and their seasons will be wrapping until the fall-best to get out and enjoy them now. The festivals and outdoor shows are gearing up for a summer full of great music. Read on…
Firehouse 13 hosts a 3-alarm night on Friday, May 19th with Kg & The Storytellers, The IF, and Interplay. Kg & the Storytellers sound can be summed up as a singer-songwriter style backed by vastly cultured rhythms, melodic counterpoint bass grooves and saxophone sounds from classical to jazz, all complemented with electric guitar and synthesizer for a touch of psychedelic atmosphere. These styles are successfully blended to create an organic sound that is akin to Paul Simon, Dave Matthews, and Pink Floyd. Interplay perform all original music incorporating a variety of styles such as Jazz, 20th Century Classical, Post Rock, and free improvisation. The IF rose from the remains of two RI bands: Tonic Thief and Infinite Children. IF has a sound unlike any other group. They have a strong focus on instrumentation, mind-boggling riffs, odd time signatures, abrupt tempo changes and unconventional-yet-catchy jazz chord progressions. Lyrics are not the band’s main focal point, but when used, the words are always cynical, satirical and witty -often commenting on the more embarrassing aspects of American life and the ironies of the human condition. You can find Firehouse 13 at41 Central StreetinProvidence(behind the McDonalds onBroad Street). For more about the show, blaze over to: www.FH13.com
The Book That Binds
Lily Pads continues to bring great music to the good folks of Peacedale. On Saturday, May 19th, Roy Book Binder does some pickin’ and a singin’ at “the Pad.” Musically, Roy Book Binder is difficult to categorize. His eclectic repertoire includes blues, country tunes, bluegrass, folk, and popular songs that originated from Tin Pan Alley. Roy Book Binder traveled with The Rev. Gary Davis in the ’60s, rediscovered Pink Anderson and revived his career in the ’70s and has been included in The Blues Who’s Who and The Big Book of Blues. RoyleftGreenwich Villagein 1976, moved into a tour bus and lived on the road for the next 15 years. He’s appeared on TNN’s Nashville Now 30 times, with many of country music’s legends, and has toured nationally with Bonnie Raitt, JJ Cale, Hot Tuna, and more.Royborrowed from his heroes to become a distinct voice in the blues and folk music world. RI’s own Joe Fletcher opens the show. For more aboutRoy, tome over to www.roybookbinder.com. For more about Lily Pads, leap to www.musicatlilypads.org.
The sixth annual Bayou n Boogie Fest has two-stepped over to a new location. The Memorial Day Mardi Gras will now be held inSterling,Connecticut– just over the border. No passports required! Providing the tunage for the jumping, bumping and grinding will be Leroy Thomas & the Zydeco Roadrunners, Ruben Moreno & Re-Evolution Zydeco Band, The Revelers, Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Sidewalk Zydeco, Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys Mitch Woods & the Rocket 88’s, Harper, and more bands TBA. The Bayou n’ Boogie festival takes place rain or shine featuring three stages of continuous music and a large dance tent. There’ll be workshops with the artists in a small intimate setting and beginners and advanced Cajun/Zydeco style dance lessons will be taught. The new space is reported to be a great campground and concert venue and has RV and Tent camping with electricity. For those who like their potent potables portable this is a BYOB event and coolers are welcome as well. The merriment begins on Friday, May 25th, and continues through the 27th. For more, swamp on over to www.bayounboogiefest.com
If you just want a little taste of the aforementioned fun, then head to the Towers in Narragansett. Their summer dancing season commences with The Revelers on Thursday, May 31st. The Revelers play traditional Cajun music and all are members of the acclaimed Red Stick Ramblers originally fromBaton Rouge, Lousiana. In the dozen years since the Ramblers were formed, all of the group’s members have moved away fromBaton Rougeand five of the six Ramblers (except fiddler/vocalist Linzay Young) started The Revelers as a side project. The Red Stick Ramblers should be familiar to locals as they have performed numerous times at the Towers and area festivals. The Revelers will be featured in EIGHT upcoming episodes of the HBO Series, Treme. For more info about this show, rollick over to www.thetowersri.com
Mass in Z Major
The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford celebrates its 2011-12 Season Finale with one of the most unique ensembles in the world — the MASS Ensemble starring William Close and featuring his Earth Harp; an architectural marvel and the world’s largest stringed instrument. MASS Ensemble —which stands for MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, SONIC, SCULPTURE – will transform the interior of The Z into the Earth Harp. The golden strings of the harp will extend from the stage to the rear of the theater, spanning over the audience. The audience will experience the performance from inside the instrument. Part sculpture, part instrument, and part architecture, the sound it creates resembles that of an entire orchestral string section. The Earth Harp was invented by MASS Ensemble founder William Close, who has roots inSouth Dartmouth. Close has entertained audiences acrossAmerica,AsiaandEurope, “stringing” places likeSeattle’s Space Needle,WorldFinancialCenterinNew York City, andBoston’sPrudentialCenter. In addition to these large scale outdoor performances, he will be featured in the upcoming season of “America’s Got Talent”. On stage the Earth Harp is the centerpiece of a musical and theatrical performance group that blends traditional instruments with those as unique as the Earth Harp—like kinetic drum sculptures the Drum Cloud, and Drumbrella, and a three-necked Aquatar which combines guitar, bass and sitar. To spread the enjoyment of the event, he Z has joined forces with theNew BedfordWhalingMuseumto transform the Museum into an Earth Harp. Strings will be installed on the roof of theWhalingMuseumand stretch down to the ground to create a large outdoor Earth Harp. The Z and theWhalingMuseumwill present three days of free public events featuring the Earth Harp. The Earth Harp will be available to be played by the public during select times of the May 24th-26th shows. Season Finale tickets to see MASS Ensemble at The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center’s are $48-38. For more about the shows and times, pluck over to www.zeiterion.org
Every year at this time, Stone Soup’s patriarch Richard Walton celebrates his birthday with a backyard bash that is a who’s who of music, art, culture, and politics of RI as well as being a fundraiser for Amos House and the Providence-Niquinohomo Sister City Project. Back when Walton was about to turn60, abunch of his Stone Soup friends — Jann Campbell, Joyce Katzberg, Jane Murphy, Steve Snyder, Bill Harley, Debbie Block and others decided that this milestone should be celebrated with a party. These parties have been happening for just about 25 years now. Last year was Richard’s 80th Birthday Party, Part IV, and as spring approached this year, people began asking about Part V. Richard felt himself running out of steam. He was in a dilemma: he didn’t want to just abandon what has become something of a tradition but he didn’t have the energy to pull together another 200-person party. Bill Harley had a good idea: it could be held at the arts center/club, the Roots Café. It’ll be much like the parties at the Walton Compound: people will make donations to one or both charities, they’ll bring pot luck dishes [drinks will be available at Roots] and Amos House and the Sister City Project will again benefit. Over the years, the parties have raised about $75,000. The celebration will happen from 2pm until 6pm on Sunday, May 27th. The Roots Café is located at 276 Westminster St in Downtown Providence. Feel free to attend –just bring your checkbook for a donation! Walton says, “Will this be my Last Hurrah? At my age, who can say. Check with me a year from now.”
Random Musings & Music
Finally, here are a few random shows for you to put on your radar. On Friday, May 18th, genius lyricist, multi-instrumentalist and master-of-a-loop-pedal, Levi Weaver will be at Providence Coffee Roasters. My friend, Bre Goldsmith saw him at SXSW and says this about Levi, “On stage, he’s a one-man miracle — not sure how else to say it. …he’ll write scripture in your head, break your heart and mend it back together in a way that makes it feel, impossibly, too big for your own chest.” Show starts at 7pm sharp; admission is $5. Providence Coffee Roasters is located at 181 Willett Avenue in Riverside. WS Monroe’s Folk Music Night in the College Hill Cafe will be held on Friday, May 18th from 6-8pm; admission is free. This installment will feature Kevin Clark, Mark Greenbaum, and WS Monroe with Rebecca Leuchak. This will be the last Folk Music Night show of the season. The Saturday Songwriter Sessions at the Brooklyn Coffee Tea House continue on May 19th at 8pm with Katherine Quinn, Jess Powers, and the duo of Johnstone and Walcoff. Get there early, these shows have been selling out! This one surely will. For more about this show, steep over to www.brooklyncoffeeteahouse.com. Buddy Cavaleri has a new open mic and it’s in Wyoming. Every Thursday night at 8pm get down to Ernie T’s and bring your instrument, voice, or comedy. Buddy says, “Ernie T’s is looking for some new entertainment on the weekends and this is a great way for them to hear you and get a gig!” For more, hoot over to: www.ErnieTs.com. The Becky Chace Band will be rockin’ Nick-A-Nees on Saturday, May 26th at 9:30. This is a rare opportunity to catch the full band perform. The Beehive Queen, Christine Ohlman returns to The Knickerbocker in Westerly on Saturday, June 2nd at 9pm. Christine’s shows at the Knick continue to get hotter and hotter, so kick off the hip-shakin’, Rhode Island Beehivin’ Summer of 2012 with the Queen! The Knick, with its rich history and stature in the rock n’ blues world, has fabulous sight lines, a great menu and a big, comfortable dance floor for doing the Beehive hip-shake. The Knickerbocker is located at 35 Railroad Avenue in Westerly. For more, shimmy over to: www.theknickerbockercafe.com.
That’s it for now. Thanks so much for reading. John Fuzek www.johnfuzek.com