Okee dokee folks… There is a quote floating about that says, “We are NOT all in the same boat; we are in the same storm. Some have better boats than others.” This perfectly sums up the inequities people are experiencing in the pandemic even though we are all in the middle of a worldwide health crisis and people are dying! I am annoyed by the folks who cannot find it within themselves to wear a damn mask or abide by restrictions for everyone’s sake. I have stayed home and spent the past few months building things: from a cigar store Indian as a stage prop for my band to a litter box house for my cats. I would rather be playing gigs, but I feel less than motivated to do so with no real outlet to perform live. I played a livestream once and it was fine, but only because it was with my band and that made it fun. I have less than zero desire to do it solo, but I am sure I will cave to livestreaming at some point just out of necessity — that is if we survive the coming year! A week in and it is already insane! Read on…
Back in the old days when we could actually play live, in-person gigs, we were planning the 2019 Providence (now Rhode Island) Folk Festival and decided that Festival board member Lisa Couto should be part of the show. She resisted a bit at first, but relented and her performance at the ’19 fest was memorable. Lisa has a long musical resume that includes multiple CD releases, fronting a band, and a tour in Southeast Asia. Her voice is capable of more gymnastics than Mary Lou Retton in her floor routine. Inspired by their PVD Folk Festival performance, Couto, who besides having great pipes also plays guitar, and Erik Peterson, a Berklee graduate who plays piano, sings and does production work, have been writing and working on recording a full length album. They just released their first single called “After the Trouble.” To hear this marvelous piece of music, Tsukahara on over to: reverbnation.com/soundedground.
Another member of the PVD Festival committee, who was to host a new stage in 2020, is singer-songwriter Beth Barron. She has hosted shows and open mics at The Galactic Theatre, Askew, and other venues, and has been a cheerleader for the local music scene. Over the past pandemic year, Beth played a lot of livestreaming shows and a few rare live gigs outdoors. Barron has been developing as both a performer and a songwriter and it really shines through on her recording of her very first single, “I’m Alive.” Joined by Bob Giusti on drums and Stephen Demers playing electric guitar, Barron’s vocals stretch out and soar. She writes, “’I’m Alive’, is a journey of a song. I dove into my truths, depths, lows and highs.” For more, check your vitals at: soundcloud.com/beth-barron-851791880
RI Music Hall of Fame member Ken Lyon recently passed away at the age of 79. During his long and storied career, he worked at the Brill Building as a songwriter, recorded for Epic, Columbia and Decca Records; criss-crossed through the folk and blues scene; was a member of the Celtic band Pendragon; and shared the stage with Elton John and Queen. But he is best known for his work with The Tombstone Blues Band. Besides all that, Ken was a nice and funny guy and I had the pleasure of working with him a few times. His rendition of “Handsome Molly” during the Pendragon days will always be a favorite of mine. Rhode Island has lost a legend.
Attention songwriters! Entries are now being accepted for the 2021 Kerrville/Grassy Hill New Folk Competition for Emerging Songwriters. The first 800 entries postmarked or submitted online by March 7 will be judged, and 24 finalists will be announced in April. I had the honor and pleasure of playing at Kerrville back in 2000 and if you love the Texas heat, then this fest is for you! For more, mow on over to: kerrvillefolkfestival.org/newfolk
I am looking forward to January 20 when the mango moron leaves the White House for good. I hope to never have to see his vile countenance again! We have had enough and it’s time to heal and repair. That’s it for now, thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com