Okee dokee folks… Back in 10th grade I spent a good deal of my school time sitting on the floor in the hallway playing guitar. I would skip class or forge a pass to get out of study hall just to play, and I wasn’t alone. A few others also would do this, and we would jam for hours. I credit this, more than lessons, as how I really learned how to play guitar. We would mostly play music by the Grateful Dead, Dylan and Neil Young. Occasionally folks who didn’t even go to our school would wander in and join us.
Someone I remember vividly was Frankie O’Rourke. He was friends with a few of the senior players, was in a band called The Other Half and he wrote his own songs. One of his songs, “Valentine,” was an extremely catchy pop/rock tune that O’Rourke taught us all how to play. To me, this song was just as good as the Dead or Dylan songs that the seniors taught me and it stuck in my head even after high school.
About 10 years later I was photographing a wedding and the band started playing “Valentine.” Turns out that Frankie O’Rourke’s ensemble was the wedding band! A few weeks ago he announced that The Other Half’s 1977 eponymous recording was now available as a CD and he sent me a copy. This EP disc has four original O’Rourke songs: “Valentine,” “Lady of the Night,” “Love Will Find Its Way” and the very timely “America,” as well as covers by Garcia/Hunter and Gram Parsons. The Other Half’s sound has that familiar feel of a Grateful Dead, NRBQ or Asleep At The Wheel set. In addition to O’Rourke, players on the album include Paul Sauvageau, Judy Harrison Choice, Richard Herzog and David Blanchette. If you remember The Other Half or you jammed in your high school hallway, too, pick up a copy. For more, “Listen To Your Heart” and get to reverbnation.com/frankieorourke or find him on Facebook.
The Odeum in East Greenwich is inching its way back into live music and shows. They are advertising a “Rocktober” of shows and films. Live music returns on October 8 with fan favorite Livingston Taylor. Also on tap are The Grateful Dead tribute Playing Dead featuring former members of Dark Star Orchestra on October 17, The Brothers All-Allman Brothers Tribute Band on October 30, and an evening with Tom Rush on November 6. My band, Forever Young – A Tribute to the Music of Neil Young, will be playing its first live show since January at the Odeum on November 15. Only 100 tickets will be sold. The Odeum will also be showing “Movies That Rock” such as The Talking Head’s Stop Making Sense, Almost Famous, Prince’s Purple Rain and more. If you attend any show, follow the Odeum and CDC’s social distancing guidelines and wear a mask! For more, step six feet over to: greenwichodeum.com
Up in Woonsocket, the Levitt AMP outdoor fall series presents free music to pumpkin spice up your October. On October 9, it’s Rhode Island SON — a Cuban/Salsa band, on October 16 is American Idol’s Erika Van Pelt with Blues/Soul/Pop, on October 23, Kim Trusty plays blues/jazz/soul/R&B and on October 30, it’s the 7-piece, pop-song-playing Kickin Brass Band. Side by each over to facebook.com/LevittAMPWoonsocket for more.
Bristol’s Stone Church Coffee House at the First Congregational Church welcomes The Honk on Saturday, October 24. The Honk is an acoustic jazz, Americana, ballads, blues and funk playing RI band. Their songs are arranged with guitar, mandolin, bass, percussion, keyboards and violin, and they have sold out many performances. The Church is located at 300 High Street (corner of High and Bradford Streets) in Bristol. Seating is limited and reservations are mandatory. For more, roll on over to stonechurchcoffeehouse.weebly.com
As I mentioned in previous columns I have been streaming a lot of TV, and I recently was on another music doc binge. Two that I enjoyed and recommend are 40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie. The Colorado band with the strange name, Magic Music, “could-a, should-a” made it but were hindered by their hippy-dippy lifestyle. If you are a fan of the Grateful Dead’s acoustic material, you might like this. Lee Aronsohn (Two and Half Men, Big Bang Theory) was a Magic Music fan in the ’70s and produced this film.
Who Is Lydia Loveless? is another rock doc I took a chance on and ended up with an appreciation for a new performer. At first I was thinking, “Who is Lydia Loveless, and why does she deserve a documentary?” But I learned why, and you should discover her music as well. Loveless just released her newest CD, Daughter, which is available at LydiaLoveless.com. Both documentaries are available to stream on Amazon.
For those about to vote we salute you! I am imploring folks to vote and to vote for Biden/Harris. This is the most important election in our lifetime. The fate of this country, this democracy and civility are in the balance. I was a solid Bernie supporter and would rather have seen him as the nominee, but Joe Biden is a decent human being and the addition of Kamala sold me on the ticket. Right now they are the only hope to save this country. We are circling the drain, folks, and if you do not see this and see the difference between Drumpf and Biden, you are in need of serious help. The other night’s debate should have made it blatantly obvious who is fit to run this country. No matter what, please stay safe — the time ahead will be tumultuous.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com