Roots Report

Sing a sea shanty with Quartermaster’s Council.

Okee dokee folks… Many years ago, ok, many, many years ago we at Motif were asked to compile a playlist of songs about summer. The reason for the manys is because I have been writing for Motif for twenty years and it was in one of my earliest columns that I did this. In that list, I included obvious songs like “Summer In The City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful, “Hot Fun In The Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone, and Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summertime.” There are lots of songs about summer but the one that I most think of when I am hot and miserable during this season of hell is “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama. It’s not a particularly profound song and there aren’t a lot of lyrics, but it resonates with me. Hot summer streets and the pavements are burning, I sit around, Trying to smile but the air is so heavy and dry… It’s too close for comfort… This heat has got right out of hand… It’s a cruel, cruel summer! This song plays in my head on repeat during the dog days. What’s your summer song? If you don’t have one, it’s time to get one because the hot weather is getting hotter every year. Climate change is real and the Earth is round! Read on…


Blackstone River Theatre is once again hosting their Take It Outside concert series this summer. BRT presents nice, relaxing, entertaining, and open-air summer shows. Mark these on your calendar and make plans to attend. Coming up are four shows — two in July and two in August. On Saturday, June 15, it’s Mari Black & Troy MacGillivray – From Highlands to Islands; on Sunday, July 21, enjoy a Shanty Sing with Quartermaster’s Council; on Sunday, August 11, there’s Cold Chocolate; and, on Sunday, August 25, Elizabeth & Ben Anderson perform Scottish fiddle and cello. You can reserve tickets in advance by ringing up BRT at (401) 725-9272.

For more about what else is going on at this wonderful, Cumberland venue, reel over to

The Weaver Library in East Providence presents their Summer Concert Series on the library’s lawn. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the five free shows taking place July through August. The schedule includes: East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble (7/17), Jesse Liam Band (7/24), The New Providence Big Band (7/31), Superchief Trio (8/7), and the Hightone Jug Ensemble (8/14).The concerts run from 6:30 – 7:30pm.

Check out for more.

Local music legend, RI Music Hall of Famer and director of The Same Thing Project, Mark Cutler, has just released an album of songs from The Same Thing Project workshops. I asked him about the album and he told me, “We’ve been writing songs for the past couple of years and picked 11 songs to be on the album. All songs were written by folks who’ve been participating each week… This includes, folks with disabilities, artists, musicians, retired people, blue- and white-collar workers, folks from the left and the right sides of the political spectrum. We wrote about stuff we have in common and things we can agree on. We’re all really proud of it. The cover art was done by Audra Johnson, she’s a Special Olympic swimmer and wonderful artist. Our sessions were written at Outsider Collective, thanks to Carrie Hyde-Reilly. The album wouldn’t have been possible without help from Ray Memery, a fellow musician and director of Avatar Residential.”

To learn more about the Same Thing Project or Cutler’s new album, compose over to:

The Rhode Island Songwriters Association has been going strong for over 31 years now. If you do not know about this organization and are a songwriter or wannabe songwriter then it’s definitely a group that you should connect with. They host lots of different songwriting events such as workshops and critiques but one of their longest running events is the monthly Songwriters In the Round showcase. This has been going on for well over 25 years. Each month four songwriters are given the same topic to write a song about. This topic is chosen by the audience at the previous month’s show, and at the following show, four new songwriters play three or four of their own songs, and then perform their original take on the assigned topic. This series has birthed many great songs and a couple of CDs as well. Songwriters in the Round shows coming up are: Jan Luby (host) with Craig Sonnenfeld, Ruthann Baler, and Maddie Cardoza writing about the theme “back to my checkered past” on June 13. Allison Rose (host) with Steven Hodge, Jake Hunsinger, and Phil Henry on July 11. Jim Tata (host) with Andrew Potter, Linda Marks, and Patty Keogh on August 8. All performances take place at the Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Street in Cranston at 7pm.

For more about these shows and RISA get round to:

The Rhode Island Folk Festival (RIFF) hosts one of its many pre-festival fundraisers on June 22 from 2–6pm at Crook Point Brewery in East Providence. The RIFF runs entirely on grants and donations to keep the festival free and open to all. This show features: High Planes (duo), Barn Burning (acoustic set), Ed Dean, Ed McGuirl, Morgan Johnston, and Bird & Augur. Drink craft beer and hear great music all while supporting the RI Folk Festival. If you cannot attend but would like to donate you may do so at:

It is my duty as an American to remind you to VOTE BLUE (not orange) in November for the safety, security, and sanity of this country. I will be reminding you of this until November.

That’s it for now. Remember to read Motif to keep up on the latest show additions this summer.