Roots Report: Music Is Moving Inside

Okee dokee folks … First of all I would like to thank the hundreds of people who sent me condolences about the death of my dog Abigail. It was tough. She was an old girl — 16 years, 3 months and 21 days, but for me it was still was a short life. I will never think that a dog’s age is old enough. My cat, Patches, died two months ago. I really did not know exactly how old he was; he was a stray. I had him for many years and he appeared to be pretty old when I got him. I really wish that animals lived as long as humans do. I said that to a friend and she told me to adopt a parrot because they frequently outlive their owners and there are hundreds of them in refuges. I prefer furry things. Besides, I really feel that birds need to fly free and should never be caged in the first place. Anyway, I am off on another tangent. I am avoiding the grief. It will catch up with me soon enough I am sure. I wish that I could go on and on and tell you how great Abby and Patches were. If you are a pet lover you probably already know. When my other dog Zoey died two and a half years ago I wrote almost my entire column about her. It’s not music related, but it meant a lot to me and to many folks who appreciated what I wrote. I would love to do it again for Abby, and Patches as well, but these days print space is more precious and I must write about music. Onward…

The big, unofficial-end-of-summer bash, Rhythm and Roots festival, provided a musical and fun wrap-up to the season. The weekend was beautiful until about two hours before the end when the sky opened up and poured. Fortunately most of the festival made it in before the monsoon. Nonetheless, it was still a great weekend of music. While the summer shows are winding down, the indoor shows will be picking up again. A few outdoor shows, such as the Providence Folk Festival on Sunday, September 7, are squeaking in before the official, calendar close of summer. For more about the PVD Folk Festival, Roger Williams your way to HearInRhodeIsland.com. Also on the 7th, the 13th annual Narrows Festival for the Arts will take place on Anawan Street in Fall River just outside the Narrows building. The Main Stage features Eric Lindell, Paul Thorn Band, Fruition and The Delta Generators. The indoor stage features TJ’s Music Allstars, The Monteirobots, Cask Mouse and Mark Cutler and Men of Great Courage. For more, spindle over to narrowscenter.org. Slater Mill opens its iconic grounds to the unique, quirky and artsy side of architecture and performance on the weekend of September 6 and 7 for S.A.M.Fest. This is the newest addition to the 16th annual Pawtucket Arts Festival line-up. Performers for S.A.M.Fest include the 10-member Bosch Ensemble (featuring a giant hurdy-gurdy), and the international champion Uilleann piper Torrin Ryan. Award-winning Celtic ensemble Pendragon performs a special send-off concert for Rhode Island dancer Kevin Doyle, who heads to Washington, D.C., to be honored as a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts. NIGHTMOM brings rattlesnake, roots rock; Michelle Cruz and her 18-piece big band perform “Unforgettable: The Music of Nat and Natalie Cole” and you can also experience the music of Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores, and the Chifferobe performers. For a complete listing of events and times, yarn over to slatermill.org or pawtucketartsfestival.org. Stone Soup will also produce a stage at the Pawtucket Arts Festival on Sunday, September 14, at Slater Park. Magnolia and The Superchief Trio perform two sets, each beginning at noon. For more, stir your pot to stonesoupcoffeehouse.com. On Sunday, September 14 it is PRONK! Family Fun Day from 10am-1pm at The Avenue Concept, 304 Lockwood Street in Providence. There will be performances by Extraordinary Rendition Band; costume, instrument, and mask making; an instrument “petting zoo” and more. What is PRONK!? According to Avi David, it is “a one day FREE activist street band festival and parade. We bring street bands from all over the world to Providence for a day of music and celebration. This year, PRONK! takes place on Monday, October 13. It starts around 3pm at India Point Park and parades down Wickenden Street at 5pm. From 6 – 10pm, bands perform sets around the Hot Club and Fox Point Hurricane barrier.” To help raise funds for PRONK! there will be a dance party on Sunday, September 21, from 7pm-midnight at Aurora in Providence. Music will be provided by the What Cheer? Brigade, Extraordinary Rendition Band, TRUNK, and Kickin’ Brass. Local Brew’s fourth annual Fiddle n’ Folk Fest will happen on Saturday, September 13 (rain date is the 14th) from 11am – 5pm at Haines Park, Narragansett Avenue in Barrington. It’s free and features Pendragon, Mr. Whodo, Magnolia, Golden Bantams, Bluegrass Invitation Band, Shamanic, Barry Brown, Bay Spring Folk, Old Fiddlers’ Club of RI, Sunday Night Jammers, Andy Grover, and storytelling by Len Cabral. Fiddlers are invited to join a fiddle jam with Michelle Kaminsky from 9:30-11am. For more, rosin up to: facebook.com/FiddleNFolkFest. This should sum up the remaining outdoor shows.

Moving indoors, Blackstone River Theatre kicks off their 15th season on September 14 with a dynamic show of young Cape Breton and Scottish fiddle and dance featuring sisters Cassie and Maggie MacDonald, from Cape Breton, and the Brendan Carey Block Band. East Coast Music Award nominees for “Traditional Album” and double Music Nova Scotia Award nominees for “New Artist” and “Roots Album of the Year,” they will be celebrating the release of their new CD, Sterling Road. On September 20, BRT presents the RI debut of new group, The ALT. Grammy nominee John Doyle, a founding member of the group Solas, is one of the most influential and important musicians in Irish music today. He is joined by flute player/vocalist Nuala Kennedy, of the new generation of singers crossing between Irish, Scottish and contemporary music, and Eamon O’Leary, one half of the Murphy Beds. Each member is an instrumentalist and singer of the highest caliber, and together the alchemy is unmatched. Russell Gusetti, BRT executive director, says, “This new CD is one of the finest I have heard in years … great songs, amazing harmonies and fantastic musicianship.” BRT brings Scottish music back on September 21 with the return of the duo Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. The musical partnership between Alasdair Fraser, long regarded as Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassador, and the young California cellist Natalie Haas may not seem an obvious one. Fraser has a concert and recording career spanning 30 years with a long list of awards and has contributed to many movie soundtracks. Since age 15, Natalie Haas has been redefining the role of the cello in traditional music. This show has sold out every time they have appeared at BRT, so get your tickets early! An evening of gypsy and Eastern European music featuring The Bohemian Quartet on September 27 will finish the month of shows at BRT. The acclaimed ensemble featuring violin, viola, cello, and bass specializes in music of the “Romany” or “Gypsy” tradition, along with related Eastern European folk styles. Violinist Stan Renard, a composer and virtuoso player with an impressive list of credentials, assembled the group with the idea of “preserving the tradition and indulging in the virtuosic playing of classic gypsy music.” For more about these and many other shows at BRT, GO TO riverfolk.org for full details.


Singer-songwriter-storytelling-bluesman Roy Book Binder has been rambling around the world for the past 45 years and he rambles into Music at Lily Pads in Peace Dale on Saturday, September 13. Book Binder gave up his Greenwich Village life in the early ’70s and lived in his tour bus for the next 15 years, criss-crossing the U.S. and appearing at festivals throughout Canada and Europe. He traveled with the legendary Rev. Gary Davis in the late ’60s and recorded his first solo acoustic blues album in the ’70s. In the late ’80s he was part of Bonnie Raitt’s east coast tour, which included an appearance at The Grand Old Opry. In the ’90s he often appeared with Jorma Kaukonen who recorded two Book Binder originals. Roy’s latest release of all original songs, The Good Book, has been trending on the music charts. Opening the show will be Michael Tarbox who is best known for his work with The Tarbox Ramblers. The Ramblers’ albums on the Rounder label “explored and revisited American traditional sounds, Appalachian music, backwater blues and gospel with a rough-hewn, direct approach.” Performing primarily as a solo artist since 2011, Tarbox has released two albums of original music that include both folk and rock styled material. Music at Lily Pads can be found at the UUCSC, 27 North Road in Peace Dale. For more and more, tadpole to musicatlilypads.org

Hudson Valley Roots Band, Spuyten Duyvil (pronounced: SPITE+en DIE+vil) will make their Rhode Island debut at Sandywoods Center for the Arts in Tiverton on September 27. This band has quite the buzz and has been chalking up a list of accolades, DJ love and chart success. Spuyten Duyvil is a husband-and-wife-led, six-member band whose original/alternative/traditional sound meanders through the last 100 years of roots music and infuses it with infectious energy. After their debut at the 2014 New Bedford Folk Festival, the band’s summer tour included stops at The New York Mets Plaza Concert Series, The Brooklyn Folk Festival, The Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Caramoor American Roots Festival and shows in Maine, DC, and New Jersey. For even more, menhaden to sandywoods.comThe Z in New Beige has Isaak on Sunday, September 14 at 8pm. Multi-platinum artist Chris Isaak brings songs from his catalog and his latest collection. “Isaak and his band try to recapture the hepcat brilliance of the classic songs cut during the glory days of Memphis’ Sun Studio in the mid-’50s, while also getting to the heart and soul of his own deeply rooted musical identity.” Isaak is known for his smooth baritone voice, coiffed hair and shiny suits as well as his chart-topping hits “Wicked Game,” “Somebody’s Cryin’,” and “Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing.” The Z is found at the end of the alphabet, actually it is the Zeiterion Theater and it is located at 684 Purchase Street in New Bedford, For all of you RIers afraid to cross state lines, it is a quick drive and parking is always EZ at the Z. PS, I love the Z. Nice theater! For more, Aaaaaaaaah-iiiiiiiiiiiii over to Zeiterion.orgThe Rhode Island Songwriters Association Saturday Songwriter Series at the Brooklyn Coffeehouse on Douglas Avenue in Providence has a new host for the new season. Greg Klabon takes over the MC and booking duties formerly held by Steve Allain. For those of you who have caught shows at the Brooklyn in the past couple years, you may recognize Klabon as the guy who assisted Steve Allain with sound. Klabon also recorded many of the shows. Greg has booked the early part of the 2014-15 season and starting on  September 6 and continuing on the first and third Fridays of every month you can hear members of RISA strumming their stuff at the Brooklyn. The opening show features Jason Valcourt and Bruce Hammond. The September 20 edition presents Tom Smith and Alex Solomonoff. If you are interested in these shows or RISA, compose your way over to RISongwriters.comOK, there’s just a little bit more space to quickly mention a few more shows. At the Mediator on September 11 is Open Mic with host Don Tassone and featured performer G.W. Mercure. He will promote his new CD called 50 Rounds, which was recorded live at the Mediator Stage. On the 18th, the Open Mic feature is Ray Wyatt Lema, and the 2014-15 Season Opener “Cover Me, Too” on September 25 presents performers paying tribute to each other by covering each other’s songs. The last time they did this was in 2012 and it was a big success. Slated to do the covering is Courtney Gallagher, Bob Fitzgerald, Tracie Potochnik, Steve Allain, Marilynn Manfra, Melissa Guillet, Mitch Kaplan, Frank Martyn, Andrew Lewis, Jan Luby, Scott Lewis, Allison Giuliano, Jim Tata and host Don Tassone. For more and more and more and more, reconcile your way to: facebook.com/mediatorstage. And finally, on September 12 at Chan’s in Woonsocket, Rory Block who “is one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” picks, plucks, sings and throws her head back while playing with amazing passion, will be taking to the egg rolls and jazz stage. Don’t miss it! For more, sloooowly, sensually, sliiiiiiide over to chanseggrollsandjazz.com

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.