Roots Report

Okee dokee folks…Since this issue deals with health I will include a link to my popular, past column about hearing protection. I often receive emails asking for the link to this column as folks become more aware of possible hearing damage from experiencing live music.


I carry earplugs with me always, sometimes even an extra pair for others. I use them everywhere that sound levels are loud. Concerts are the main reason I wear earplugs but I also use them when snow blowing or using power tools. Damaging decibel levels are all around us and once you start being concerned about hearing, you become very aware of volume levels. Anything is better than nothing when it comes to ear protection! Seriously, read the column and get yourself a pair of earplugs.

Get the health over to:

This is somewhat of a personal PSA about smart (dumb) phones. At concerts and events I often see a sea of screens recording video that more than likely will never be watched. This array of lit screens is distracting and ANNOYING. Back in the day when someone annoyed my brother and me at a concert we would throw pennies at their head. The other night while I was playing music there was a toddler with a smartphone watching videos with the phone volume turned way up. Sure, it may keep the kid busy while their parents ignore them during dinner, but that kid is not learning any social skills and besides, it is just plain annoying. Seeing a trend here? I could go on. Smart phones are annoying and that is not good for my health. See, it’s health related. BTW, I don’t have a smartphone! Read on…

Blackstone River Theatre (BRT) in Cumberland has a host of shows lined up for the new year. If you have never had a chance to attend a show at BRT it’s about time that you do. BRT is probably one of the best run theaters around with a consistent line up of high-quality events and classes on their calendar. All you have to do is go to one show to realize this! Coming up at BRT: Atwater-Donnelly Trio on Jan 20, Dave Gunning & JP Cormier on Jan 21, Kevin Doyle’s Roscommon Soles on Feb 10, The Rhythm Future Quartet on Feb 17, and Matt & Shannon Heaton/ Keith Murphy & Becky Tracy on Feb 24.

For more about concerts and classes, anabranch over to

Stone Soup at The Music Mansion doesn’t start its season until next month but I wanted to get you the info early so you can mark your brand new calendars with the Winter/Spring ‘24 schedule. On Feb 10, check out the Rhode Island Songwriters Association showcase. March 9 features David Roth, followed by on Open Mic series on Mar 14. On Mar 23, it’s all about WS Monroe & Friends. April 13 showcases the talent of Grace Morrison, and there’ll be another installment of the Open Mic series on Apr 18. Apr 27 is Sam Robbins & Undercover Cameo, May 11 is Honey Badgers & Cardboard Ox, May 16 is another open mic series, and June 2 is the annual fundraiser. There you have it. Do people still use paper calendars? I do.

Progresso over to

Even though Westerly is at the bottom end of the state, it is still part of RI, and the Knickerbocker Music Center is a Little Rhody gem. Nothing in this state is too far away. For over 90 years, the Knickerbocker has been a place for great entertainment. What’s more, the Knickerbocker has the adjacent Tap Room (TR) for more intimate, acoustic shows. There are lots of shows coming up and here are just a few: Soul Shot/Red Lion on Jan 12, followed by Johnny and the East Coast Rockers on Jan 13. Ed Peabody and the Big Blue Thing (with free dance lessons) takes the stage on Jan 17, with Allysen Callery in the Tap Room the next night (1/18). The month rounds out with Take It To The Bridge (1/19), Knickerbocker All Stars (1/20), Otis Read & Jimmy Corwin (TR, 1/25), and last but not least, The Wolff Sisters/Undercover Cameo (1/27).

For more about these shows and others, choo-choo to

OK, I know that I list my own shows from time to time: but only when they are special shows and involve other performers. On Thursday, Jan 18 at the new-ish Pawtuxet Village venue, The Blue Room, Ed McGuirl, Dan Lilley, Amy Bedard, and I will be performing in concert. Sure, all of us play almost every weekend, but we are usually not playing our own music. At this show we’ll be playing all self-penned material. On top of that, we’ll be sitting in with one another to add a little something extra to the songs. Between the four of us, you’ll hear guitar, violin, harmonica, mandolin, and maybe a few other instruments as well. In addition to live music, there’ll be a LOT of bad jokes and stories, because we’re full of them and we’d love you to come out and hear it all.

For more, cerulean over to

That’s it for now. Listen to my podcasts at: Thanks for reading and listening.