Raising the Barre: Beatles, Jethro Tull and John Hall

Okee dokee folks… Back in 2004, I was asked to write for a fledgling publication called Motif. The magazine had only put out a couple of issues and I wasn’t sure what to think. Fast forward to 2022 and it is obvious I made the right decision. In the past 18 years, I have tried new approaches to my Motif contributions: Motif TV, performer interviews, reviews, photography and others. Some have stayed, others not. Now I am embarking on yet another Motif adventure: I am entering the world of podcasting. Since I already conduct phone interviews I decided to incorporate those into a podcast. My biggest concern was the audio quality that I was getting from the recorded conversations, but fortunately I was able to solve that problem with a new-fangled device that is made just for podcasts and has a direct input setting for phone calls. Et voila, the Roots Report Podcast was born (along with interview entries in our new comedian podcast, Look Who’s Laughing)! Admittedly I will more than likely stumble through the first couple until I get my bearings, but like anything, I learn as I do and evolve. I already have a few recordings “in the can” and I just need to do a little post-production and they will be ready. I hope that folks will give them a listen and chime in with comments on what they would like to hear. I will still write my main print column as well as photograph and review shows. You can always find it all online: check it out at and Read on…

Since the Beatles Get Back documentary was released Beatlemania has been reinvigorated. I admit I was enchanted by the 8 hours of squabbling and music from the film and have been listening to more Beatles than before. If you need a fix of the REAL thing then you are (kind of) in luck. Unfortunately, we can never see the four Liverpool lads live again, but we can see the remaining members solo. Sir Paul McCartney has just released dates for his 2022 Got Back tour and he will be bringing it by Fenway Park in Boston on June 7. At the time of writing, tix were not yet on sale but will be by publication. You may need to sell a kidney to afford them but this could be the last time as Sir Paul has reached octogenarian status. We have already gone through the “is Paul dead” thing once. I wouldn’t take my chances: I don’t think there is another Paul doppelganger to fill in. For more, “Jet” over to: 

Ringo Starr, who is my second favorite Beatle (George is my fav), will be swinging into PPAC on June 12. Right now there are a few tickets left so if you want to see a Beatle then grab them before they’re gone. I have seen Ringo and His All-Star Band twice and these shows are really a lot of fun. In addition to the Beatles’ songs the band runs through a few of each member’s hits. This time around the lineup consists of Steve Lukather (Toto), Colin Hay (Men at Work), Gregg Rolie (Santana and Journey), Hamish Stuart (Average White Band and Paul McCartney), Warren Ham (Bloodrock, Kansas and AD), and session drummer Gregg Bissonette. If you think “It Don’t Come Easy” to see a Beatle then you should get to and see how easy it really is. If you still need a full-on Beatles’ fix then I suggest you try out RAIN: A Tribute To The Beatles. I spoke with band member Steve Landes who has been portraying John Lennon for decades in the long-running Rain Tribute. You can LISTEN to this conversation as an episode of my new Roots Report podcast! ( TWO shows of Rain take place at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford on Sunday, Mar 12 at 2 and 7pm. For more, “Helter Skelter” to:     

The opening six guitar notes of Jethro Tull’s masterpiece album Aqualung make up one of the most memorable guitar riffs in rock history. The masterful guitarist behind them is longtime Tull member Martin Barre. He will be bringing the sound of Jethro Tull-The 50th Anniversary Aqualung tour to the Narrows Center for the Arts on March 18.  For more about the Martin Barre show and the many others coming up at the Narrows, “Locomotive Breath” your way to:

The band Orleans is “Still The One” for that ’70s sound of music. With hits that still linger on the radio and now in commercials like “Dance with Me,” “Love Takes Time” and the aforementioned “Still The One,” the sound of Orleans is omnipresent. Songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and founding member John Hall has been through a lot during his music days, before and after his Orleans time. He fronted the John Hall band and had the hit song “Crazy.” He was one of the founders of Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) and organized the concerts as well as writing the anthem “Power” for the movement. In addition to that he was a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives. These days Hall is back with Orleans and the band will be at The Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket on Mar 25. I spoke with Hall via phone – you can listen to that interview on my Roots Report Podcast. For more about the Orleans show, “Reach” over to:

If there was ever a comedian who seemed like their head would spontaneously explode on stage it would be Lewis Black. If you have witnessed Black’s “rant style” comedy you would understand. If you haven’t, well you should. Black goes off on tirades that have him finger-wagging and yelling to the point where you wonder if he will actually stroke out. Black says the things that sane people think but may not say. He vents for us. He riffs on politics and society and will have you splitting a gut. Black will bring his appropriately titled Off The Rails tour to Veterans Auditorium on Mar 12. I once again had the opportunity to talk with this comedic rock star and he is featured on our debut Look Who’s Laughing podcast. For more about Black’s show and other goings-on at The Vets, choo-choo to:   

Okee dokee, you all have your listening and reading assignments. Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading.