Rockin’ in the Free World: Welcome back to the folking music

Rhythm and Roots Festival, 2019; photo by Phil Stewart

Okee dokee folks… This summer should be dubbed the “Summer of Laxity.” Mask restrictions have been lifted or loosened and some folks are living life “like someone left the gate open” already. I am not ready for this.

A few months ago I designed a t-shirt that read “All Vaxxed Up And Nowhere To Go” and put it for sale in my Etsy store, but I might have been a little late to launch because there are plenty of places to go. I have started scheduling shows, and my first show in more than a year will be this weekend in NH. “Live Free Or Die”? Well, hopefully not.

Anyway, music is mostly happening again, but even though things are returning to normal, my band has a show that was just postponed once again until July 22. This was the sixth date change since spring 2020, so who knows for sure about the concreteness of any schedule. In the meantime, read on to find out what is what at this point in time…


Common Fence Music has paired up with the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown to present a series of outdoor concerts over the next few months. Dick Lynn, the new program coordinator at CFM, says, “I had crafted putting together an outdoor series in April while doing spring Facebook live series for CFM and while COVID was still a major issue. I approached Kaity at Norman Bird Sanctuary and she immediately and enthusiastically said yes. I put together the series and Kaity is putting together a wonderful setting for the shows.” For the series lineup, flap over to or

The Town of Westerly presents another summer of Tunes on the Dunes at the Westerly Town Beach. This series happens from 6 – 8pm with Monday Night Jams and Wednesday Night Blues on the Beach. Highlights include a couple of my favorite acts — Aztec Two-Step 2.0 and David Tessier’s All-Star Stars, as well as Beaver Brown, Dave Howard and the High Rollers, Roomful of Blues, Greg Piccolo and many more. For the complete schedule, drift over to       

The Rhode Island Folk Festival (formerly The Providence Folk Fest) will be happening on August 29 at Larissa Park in East Providence. This year’s line-up includes the Lisa Couto Trio, How’s About Charlie, Michelle Cruz and many others. This community event needs lots of hands to make it work and is recruiting volunteers. If you would like to help, please contact For more info, get the folk over to

The 2021 Rhythm and Roots Festival is something to look forward to this year. Labor Day weekend, the 23rd R&R Fest will once again bring the best musical party and Motif award winning festival to Ninigret Park. Some of the performers for this edition of the weekend gathering are Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi, John Hiatt, Uprooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root and more. Festival organizer Chuck Wentworth says, “Live music eases our minds in troubled times. After the year we’ve just had, the 2021 festival will be a real celebration, but a safe one.” The Labor Day weekend festival brings together music fans, dancers, campers and families for dozens of performances, food of every variety, artisan’s handmade wares, and a reunion-like vibe that’s been described as “chill but lively at the same time.” Health and safety mandates require smaller crowds than in the past so tickets are limited. For more, zy-de-go-go to

Catch the Vox Hunters and Atwater Donnelly on June 4 at the Bristol Maritime Center in Bristol. The Empire Revue presents The Directions Show live at Prospect Terrace Park on June 27. Providence’s premier sketch showcase will happen socially distanced and safe, out in the wilds of Providence! Space is limited so advanced ticket purchase is required, and masks are mandatory ( The Spindle City Fest in Fall River, presented in part by the Narrows, will feature 20 art vendors, two great bands, activities for the kids and food trucks on June 5 from 11am – 4pm. Admission is free. The Narrows also has a lot of great indoor shows coming up as well. Check out their lineup at And the Greenwich Odeum also is hosting some indoor shows. Check out their lineup at Your favorite Dive Bar, Nick-A-Nee’s, has the Bluegrass Throedown on Wednesdays and lots of outdoor live music all summer ( So far Bold Point Park in East Providence only has one show on the schedule for this summer, The Brothers Osborne on August 1, but check back from time to time at

Anyway, I am typing this column with blurry vision. I managed to have a metal splinter lodge in my eye while grinding metal for a new RI Folk Festival stage. Yes, I had safety glasses on, but it breached those. It took me a week to decide go to the eye doctor and have it removed. Did I ever mentioned that I am VERY stubborn, in addition to my get-off-my-lawn personality? On another note, my band, Forever Young, has a live, in-person show at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River on July 16! Yippee! Time to start “Rockin’ In The Free World” again! That’s it for now, thanks for reading.