Okee dokee folks… I had a Rhode Island moment the other night. The weird thing is that I was in Vermont. I was waiting to go on at Radio Bean in Burlington when the performer that was playing just before me announced that she was from Narragansett. Being in the music business (and a Rhode Islander), I thought I knew just about everyone who played music in RI. Evidently I was wrong. I introduced myself to the 23-year-old songwriter, Christina Holmes, and we spoke very briefly while we did the stage switcheroo. Her music is on the pop side of the singer-songwriter genre. Her originals echo the style of many of the artists that she covers such as Alicia Keys, Train, Jason Mraz, Adele and John Mayer. She writes on her Facebook page, “My main goal is to spread music to anyone who is willing to listen, hoping to help change their day for the better.” As I was taking the stage I gave her my CD and she gave me a very cool “Peace, Love and C. Holmes” tie-dyed t-shirt. I got the better end of that deal! Hopefully I’ll be able to coerce her to play some of the shows that I book. Check her out sometime. For more about Christina, hop over to: www.facebook.com/cholmesmusic.
Most of you may know me as a musician, promoter or writer. In a previous life, college, I was a visual artist. Technically, I still am. That is what I have a Master’s Degree in. I went to school with many talented people and I am still in contact with a lot of them. One of these very talented people is Jennifer Gillooly Cahoon. While I am not one hundred percent sure that we had classes together, we did emerge from the same Art Department at RI College around the same time. I think we “officially met” at the Newport Folk Festival when I ran the early morning stage there. Most of you may know the musician Spogga. He was performing at this stage and Jenn came with him. I believe she was helping him promote his music at that time. Jenn and I became friends and we have stayed in touch through Facebook. Last summer she began to post photos of a series of Dia de Los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) paintings that she was working on. This, from the artist’s statement, sums up what she went for with these paintings: “In the tradition of Dia de Los Muertos, revelers often paint their faces in a ‘sugar skull’ style, honoring the family members which have passed before them. The holiday has its roots in Aztec culture, which developed the ritual some 3,000 years ago. They believed one should not grieve the loss of a beloved ancestor who passed, but should instead celebrate their lives and welcomed the return of their spirits to the land of the living once a year. Cahoon has taken this idea and re-appropriated it to fit into her own view. In her work, many recognizable celebrities who have passed are depicted vibrant as they were in life, adorned with the makeup of the Dia de Los Muertos tradition as if they are taking part in the festivities.”
Among the 30 oil paintings in this collection are recognizable authors, musicians, actors and scientists. The most interesting – and the reason I have included this in my music column – are of the “27 Club” rock stars (Joplin, Morrison, Cobain, Winehouse and Hendrix) that died at the ripe old age of 27. You can view these very cool paintings at Sparrow’s Nest Gallery. The opening is April 25 from 6-8pm. You can find the gallery at 1270 Mineral Spring Avenue in North Providence. For more about the show and artist, brush over to: www.facebook.com/JGCahoonArtist.
For those of you that like open mics, here are a couple of more locations to put on your radar. You can find one at the Shady Lea Mills. But first you have to find Shady Lea Mills. It can be a bit tricky depending on which way you are coming from. Best to use a GPS or Google it. Shady Lea Mills is located at 215 Shady Lea Road, right off Route 1 North. South is a different story, you have to loop around to get on the other side of the highway. Got it? Ok, once you actually get to the mill, the Open Mic is in Studio 200 – The Space To Be. The next Open Mic will take place on April 13 at 6pm. One of the organizers, Cathy Marcotte, writes, “Bring anything you’d like to share… poetry, song… anything that means something to you! The Open Mic at Space To Be has grown over the last year with the help of friends and family and word of mouth. The atmosphere, hmm, I can use the acronym EQA, Energy, Quality and Atmosphere is always the best; warm, non-judgmental and welcoming.” If you need more info, do the Googly-thing and look up “Space-To-Be.” The other new Open Mic will be hosted by Joanne Lurgio and take place weekly on Tuesdays at The Stage Door (part of the Park Theater) in Cranston beginning on April 23 at 7pm. They serve food and drinks and there is plenty of free parking available. Lurgio is a multi-award winning songwriter and open mic veteran. She has been the host of several area open mics over the years. The Stage Door open mic will have no cover (they’ll pass the hat) and feature a different performer each week. Lurgio writes, “Lots of people have been waiting for me to start up again at a new venue… this will be the new Tuesday night Listening Room!” To find out more, exit stage right over to: www.parkstagedoor.com.
Over at What Cheer? they will present a couple live, in-store performances. Do any of you actually know what “What Cheer?” means? Yes, this is a pop quiz about RI history. Give up? “What cheer, Netop?” are the words supposedly spoken to the banished Puritan Roger Williams by the Narragansett Indians when they met on the land that was to be RI. OK, back to music. The first performance will be on Saturday, April 6 at 4pm with Daphne Lee Martin and Daniel Chase. The second is with the group The Feelies on Record Store Day (Record Store Day began in 2008 and is an annual Celebration of Records and Independent Record Stores), which happens to be Saturday, April 20. The Feelies will be at The Met in Pawtucket on the same night if you miss the daytime show. Proprietor of What Cheer?, Chris Daltry, says about the Feelies’ in-store show, “Basically they’re my favorite band of all time. I learned how to play guitar playing along to their records in high school. I also saw them every time they came anywhere near where I lived in Richmond, VA… Anyway, when I noticed they were playing The Met on the same day as Record Store Day, I reached out to them via Facebook. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, but they wrote back and told me they’d talk it over, which they did, and decided they could make it happen. The Feelies (and my wife Jennifer and I) are both from the age of the indie-record store, and for them to play our Record Store Day is both fitting and an honor to us.” A time was not provided for this show so you will have to check in with What Cheer? as the date gets closer. To find out more, fumble over to www.whatcheerprovidence.com.
Ready for a Way Back Weekend? The Locals in Centredale will host two shows by performers from the ’70 and ‘80s. The first is the “legendary” Andy Pratt. About 30-40 years ago, radio was very listenable – they played music. You could actually hear a great song on the air. In 1973, one of those great songs was “Avenging Annie.” Unfortunately, Pratt only had the one hit. But what a hit it was. Forty years later, it is still remembered and Pratt has over 20 albums to his credit. Roger Daltry of The Who even covered the song on one of his solo albums. I have done shows with Andy over the past few years and he still has it. His new material is very good. Get to the Locals on Friday, April 26 at 8pm for a special dinnertime show with Andy Pratt. This is a free concert but donations for the performers are welcome and the purchase of food or beverage is encouraged! Opening this show will be RI’s own Greg Lato. The Way Back Weekend continues with Robin Lane on Sunday, April 28 at 7pm. In 1980, Robin Lane and the Chartbusters were ascending the charts and making it big. They had hits such as “When Things Go Wrong,” “Why do You Tell Lies” and “Don’t Cry.” Lane had been involved with music for many years before the Chartbuster days. She sang with Neil Young on his Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere album and was even married to Andy Summers of the Police for a short period of time. Nowadays when she performs, her shows are interlaced with stories from her past. Her new music rivals the hits she had back in the day. If you never saw Robin in the ‘80s or if you loved her then, you really should be at the Locals for this show. The duo Elevator Tribe (John Stout and Jim Harvey) will open the show. Tix are just $12 and available at the door. For more about these shows reminisce over to: www.hearinrhodeisland.com
The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame is very active these days. They are offering the Tune In & Tune Up health program geared towards professional musicians and industry professionals (discussed in length in this issue on page XXX). Besides being busy working on bettering musicians’ health, the RIMHOF is ready to induct another group of RI music folks. The ceremony will be held at The Met on April 28. The Hall of Fame’s nine 2013 inductees are:
Steve Smith & The Nakeds, The Cowsills, Paul Geremia, Eddie Zack & The Hayloft Jamboree, Bobby Hackett, Jimmie Crane, Bill Flanagan, Sissieretta Jones and George M. Cohan. The music of the Cowsills, Steve Smith and Paul Geremia are more than enough reasons to attend the RIMHOF show. This year, reacting to last year’s sold out show, the RIMHOF board has broken the event into afternoon inductions and performances from 2-4pm and separate evening inductions and performances starting at 7pm. During the evening, Rudy Cheeks will pay tribute to Rhode Island musicians who have passed on since the first induction ceremony including Stone Soup’s Richard Walton. All proceeds from these annual ceremony events go toward creating the museum displays, acquiring recordings and memorabilia, and digitizing the collection for permanent online access for future generations. The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, formed in 2011, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating, honoring, and preserving the legacy of Rhode Island musicians, educators and industry professionals who have made significant contributions to both the national and Rhode Island music scene. For more, crescendo over to: www.rhodeislandmusichalloffame.com.
I’m running out of room but briefly here are a few shows that you should definitely find your way to. Stone Soup Coffeehouse presents a double bill (no, that’s not a freak show duck) on April 20 with Liz Longley and Seth Glier. (www.stonesoupcoffeehouse.com) We Killed Vegas (www.wekilledvegas.com) will be at The Spot on April 28. The Lurgio-Norbrega Quartet brings alive the Great American Songbook, playing music of the ‘30s through the ‘60s at Peeptoad Coffeehouse in Scituate. (www.fosteringArts.org) Scotland’s Battlefield Band brings an inspired mix of ancient and modern Scottish traditional music and song to Sandywoods Center For the Arts in Tiverton on Saturday, April 6 at 8pm. (www.sandywoodsmusic.com) On Sunday, April 14 from 3-4:30pm at the Jamestown Philomenian Library (423-7280), Motif Award nominees the Folk Support Group and the Dead Blues Society will play some folk, blues and jam music. The Roots in downtown PVD welcomes back Eight to the Bar with Stella Knows Blues on Saturday, April 20. Free swing dancing class at 7pm just before the 8pm show. (www.rootsprovidence.com) Common Fence Music presents pop songwriter and guitarist Michael Johnson on Saturday, April 6. He is the performer that brought us songs such as “Bluer Than Blue,” “Give Me Wings” and “That’s That.” (www. commonfencemusic.org) The Mediator open mic on Thursday, April 18 will feature Wyatt Lema and you can catch Tracie Potochnik on April 25. Doors open at 7pm for sign-up. (www.facebook.com/ChurchOfTheMediator)
And while it’s not music related, I have to include this because I’m such a huge animal person. Animal Prints hosts a silent auction and photo gallery of portraits featuring some of Rhode Island’s biggest personalities alongside shelter animals from the East Greenwich Animal Protection League (EGAPL). The proceeds of the event benefit EGAPL, a private, no-kill animal shelter in East Greenwich. It will be held at Crestar Picture Framing, 51 Liberty Street in East Greenwich on Friday, April 12 at 7pm. The event will feature a silent auction of more than 20 professional prints, raffle items, champagne toast, cash bar and hors d’oeuvres! Tix are $20.
Please send me your event info. and press releases at least a month prior. I whittle down my info. for this column from over 25-30 pages of text I collect every month! Thanks for reading. www.johnfuzek.com