Roots Report

Poster image courtesy of Kerrville Folk Festival.

Okee dokee folks… The past couple of issues (and many before) I have started my columns discussing subjects that I have opinions about. Some of my views tend to rapidly stir the pot. So, I want to let you in on the not so secret reason behind my pot stirring: I do it to rile things up! I hope my columns encourage a conversation about whatever subject I have discussed, but some folks don’t understand this and get annoyed. I like to bring ideas out into the light of day, let them breathe, stretch their legs, and maybe get some traction. So next time I write something, please remember what I am trying to do. (Just wait until we get closer to the election!) Anyway, I babbled on quite a bit last month, so I will start this one with more shows for you to consider. Read on…


Last year, the film Jesus Christ Superstar had a special screening at the Greenwich Odeum in celebration of its 50th anniversary. I spoke with “Jesus” (Ted Neeley) about the screening for my Roots Report Podcast. Neely was one of the cast members that made an appearance at the screening. That show was a sell out. Neeley is a very down to earth and personable guy. He answered questions, chatted with the audience beforehand and sat with them while the film played, and even took photos with fans after the show. This year the film and some of the cast are coming back to The Odeum for an encore weekend. Yvonne Elliman will be part of this year’s screening. Elliman, who played Mary Magdalene on stage and in the movie, also achieved success with a string of hits, including “If I Can’t Have You,” “Hello Stranger,” and, “Love Me.” I spoke with Yvonne for my podcast, which you can listen to here: rootsreportpodcast. In addition to the film screening, there will be a separate concert the night before featuring Ted Neeley and Yvonne Elliman. They will sing separately and together on songs from the film, other musicals, and the hits they’re known for. The concert takes place on Saturday, March 30 and the film screening happens appropriately on Easter Sunday, March 31. Also coming up at The Odeum: The Vagina Monologues, Jim Brickman, The Wailers, Mickey Dolenz, Dustbowl Revival, Southside Johnny, and much more. To find out “What’s The Buzz,” get to:

Last year was not a good year for the music community. We lost a couple of beloved members to automobile accidents. One of the musicians was Justin Grankewicz of the band David Tessier’s All-Star Stars. It was a devastating day for the band and their many fans. In remembrance of Justin, David Tessier’s All-Star Stars is hosting what they hope will become an annual event, JustinFest. The commemoration will serve as a tribute to ensure his legacy lives on through an annual celebration filled with joy, the arts, and community spirit. The fest begins with an open mic from 6–7pm followed by The Glare, Beth Barron, and the band that Justin was a big part of, The All-Star Stars. One of the sponsors, Hangar 420, is supplying gift cards for free pre-rolled “Joints on Justin” to enhance the celebration. Justin Grankewicz will be remembered fondly for his talents, his passion, and his dedication. The gathering will take place at Narragansett Brewery from 6–9pm on Saturday, March 2. For more, get your “ASS” over to:

This one is for all you songwriters who are looking to springboard their careers. Entries are now being accepted for the 2024 Grassy Hill Emerging Songwriters Kerrville New Folk Competition. The finals will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26 during the first weekend of the annual Kerrville Folk Festival in the Texas Hill Country near Austin. The first 800 entries received by March 15 will be judged, 24 finalists will be named in midApril, and six. songwriters will take home the title of 2024 New Folk Award Winners after performing at the Threadgill Theater on the Quiet Valley Ranch Campgrounds. A Kerrville New Folk Award Winners concert is slated for Sunday, June 1, during which each winner will play a 20-minute set. Songwriters may submit an mp3 audio recording of two original songs in any genre via the Kerrville Folk Festival. Established in 1972 at the urging of Peter Yarrow, the Kerrville New Folk Concerts have become a highlight of the annual festival that is geared towards singersongwriters of various musical styles; it is one of the longest continuously running festivals of its kind in North America. Past finalists and winners include: Nanci Griffith, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, James McMurtry, David Wilcox, Ellis Paul, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Antje Duvekot, and Anais Mitchell. The festival has always been a great place for networking and playing music around campfires. Some may remember Michelle Shocked’s first album, The Texas Campfire Tapes, an impromptu set played around a campfire at the Kerrville Folk Festival during the mid 80s that was recorded on a Sony Walkman. Hear In Rhode Island (the RI Folk Festival producer) presented an official showcase at the Kerrville Fest in 2000, featuring performances from Mary Ann Rossoni, Bill Petterson, Mike Laureanno, Marilyn Manfra and myself For more, compose on over to:

I know there are very few fans of Ticketmaster. Their sales debacles are well documented as are their excessive fees. For three days I tried to get Neil Young tickets and was unsuccessful. I first tried during the fan presale. As a Neil Young subscriber, I should have had the code but for some reason I couldn’t get mine. Then I tried with my bandmate, Dan who failed to get tix as well. The following day I gave it another shot during another presale with yet another code, and still I was unsuccessful. Finally, during the public sale, I made another attempt. I repeated the purchase process over and over again that day. No luck. I surrendered and decided not to go. I am one of Neil Young’s biggest fans and I was turned away by technology. I do miss the days when you waited in line for tickets, sometimes even camping overnight. The tickets were all at that one window and the clerk rifled through a pile of tickets to find you the best seats. It may have been inconvenient but it worked just fine. C’est la vie.