Okee dokee folks…Forward. Thank you, America! So, I had a busy week of checking out shows. Trying to make up for lost time. Jesus Christ Superstar at the PVD Social Club was absolutely AMAZING! I honestly wish that they did a longer run of more than two shows. I’ve seen Jesus Christ Superstar many times. Twice with Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson (from the movie) and I honestly enjoyed the PVD version more. David Tessier, Alexander Platt, and Joe Short were all stand outs in the show. I really hope that maybe they will present it again…soon. Sarah Lupo did a phenomenal job at her CD release show at the Met. She told me she was nervous but I never would have known. She wowed the crowd. Did I mention that her CD is awesome? After Sarah’s set, I headed to AS220 for the Empire Review. Keith Munslow and crew never fail to amuse and entertain. Sometimes it is hard to describe Empire Review. I have tried. The best thing you can do is just SEE IT! Cheaper than a movie and far better. You can make plans to catch the next show on the first Sunday of December. The other night I went to the Sweet Little Variety Show at the Roots. It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to get to one of their monthly shows. The night kicked off with a 30 minute set from Connecticut’s Kala Farnhum. The 24 year old singer-songwriter-pianist, who first took up the piano at age THREE, easily has the talent, skill and presence of someone twice her age. Check her out when she hosts the open mic on the first Friday of the month, at the Vanilla Bean in Pomfret, CT. The SLVS also featured a stand-up comedian, a short film and a comedic story teller. All were thoroughly enjoyable. The fitting close to the show was the lovely BettySouix Tailor’s burlesque performance. BST took to the stage in her harvest version of Carmen Miranda. She proceeded to remove articles of clothing (yeah, I know, it’s hard to watch! NOT!), ears of corn, squash, gourds, a can of cranberry sauce and a bag of stuffing and placed them on a table next to a big silver platter. She picked up the silver platter, removed her top and held the platter to her chest. She then turned around and presented her breasts, which were censored with turkey pasties, on the silver tray to complete the PERFECT Thanksgiving dinner! You can witness the burlesque queen of RI in action at the PVD Social Club on November 30 when she is part of a benefit for Hurricane Sandy victims. I had a great time opening for the inspirational Iris Dement at the Narrows last Saturday night. Dement played to a capacity crowd and was roused for an encore by a stomping, standing ovation. And, it was great to meet some of my Facebook friends in the flesh at the show. Alrighty, moving forward…
So, I was informed that this issue is a Gift Guide. That is tough for me. I don’t celebrate the holidays. I haven’t in over 25 years… maybe more. Gave it up. Too much greed, stress and fakeness. I do give gifts to people. Don’t want you to think I am a TOTAL Ebenezer. I just give them to folks randomly, for no reason and attached to no particular day. I buy things that are special for that person for my own reasons. No one else’s. A LOT of folks can’t seem to comprehend this approach but many are envious of the fact that I do it. One thing that you should really heed if you are going to buy gifts this season is to BUY LOCALLY! Try to avoid Chia Pets and The Clapper. There are many, many things that would make thoughtful and wonderful gifts that are made or sold right here in the biggest little state. Music always makes a great gift. Local CDs make an even better gift. Many local/regional artists have released CDs over the past year. They certainly will appreciate you giving their discs as gifts. Some suggestions are: The aforementioned debut CD by Sarah Lupo (www.sarahlupo.com); Kayla Ringelheim’s newest release, “Wandering Feet” (www.kaylaringelheim.com – Btw, Kayla holds her Rhode Island CD release show on December 6th at Local 121); “Imagined” the songs of John Lennon by the Nu-Uptopians (Rex Fowler of Aztec-Two-Step, www.nu-utopians.com); “Cause & Effect” – Aztec-Two-Step (www.Aztec-Two-Step.com); “Everyone Deserves a Home” –Various Artists: A Homeless Benefit Album (www.riverwoodmhs.org); “A Summer Place”, (www.allysencallerymusic.com) the latest by Allysen Callery; Bob Kendall – “Midnight Flower” (www.bobkendall.com); “How Do I Get To The Moon” by Paula Clare (available at amazon.com); “Open Up” by Malyssa Bellarosa (www.reverbnation.com/malyssamusic); Vudu Sister’s “Bastard Child” (www.reverbnation.com/vudusister); The Denver Boot’s “6 to 9, 7, 12” (www.DenverBootMusic.com); and, of course, “Sweet Pain” by Mark Cutler (www.markcutler.com). A somber suggestion for those of you who were patrons of the Station nightclub is due out the first week in December. RI author Marilyn Bellemore writes about the Station nightclub in West Warwick, and the site of the tragic fire on February 20, 2003 – the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in American history. “The Night the Music Ended” is presented in memory of that tragic night and its victims, but is also a look at the nightclub itself, its place in the community, the fire, and the aftermath (www.merryblacksmith.com/?page_id=708). These are just a FEW ideas for you to start with. I hope that you make the best choice of gifts but it is truly important that you give more with your heart.
Live is always the BEST way to enjoy music. You can always buy tickets to a local show as a gift. Many of the area venues do sell advance tickets for shows. Stone Soup, The Narrows, Common Fence Point, Blackstone River Theatre, The Met, Lupo’s, Fete, Chan’s, The Knickerbocker, Sandywoods, and Lily Pads are just some of the local music establishments that I am sure would love to sell you advance tix to a show. I’m not going to list all the websites, they are easily Googled. Peruse the sites when you find them. It’ll be like a gift giving treasure hunt. There has to be one show at at least one of the venues that SOMEONE on your holiday gift list will enjoy. Start Looking!
While the holidays are still a few weeks out there are still plenty of performances going on that you can get to for your own pleasure. You can take someone for absolutely no other reason than to just have fun and hear some great music. If you NEED better reasons, head to the Mediator on November 15th when Alex Agronick and John Pezzillo perform in their first show together. This will be a benefit for The Mediator Stage. Alex and John will be joined by friends Tracie Potochnick, Steve Allain, Aaron Abrahamson Cote and other surprise guests. There will also be an open mic before and after the feature. Music starts at 7pm. This is a BYOB venue and coffee and deserts will be available for a small donation. The Mediator is located at 50 Rounds Avenue in Providence. For more, negotiate over to The Mediator Stage on Facebook. Another fun fundraising show takes place at Blackstone River Theatre on Saturday. November 24th. The annual Homecoming Concert and Silent auction raises money to help BRT keep presenting their diverse and quality shows. Pendragon hosts and performs at the “star-studded” event. Slated for this year’s concert are Atwater-Donnelly, Stefan Couture, Fellswater, Robbie O’Connell & Aoife Clancy, Kim Trusty, et moi. For more, paddle up to www.riverfolk.org.
On Friday, November 30th, Chan’s in Woonsocket wraps up the year’s shows when Ursula George makes its annual appearance to bring fans a fix of Vaudeville and Classic 1920’s-40’s women’s blues. The band features Lori Urso – lead vocals & guitar , Mary Richards – drums, Mitch Chakour – piano, Rich LaTaille – clarinet & tenor sax, Pam Murray – trombone, and David Zinno – upright bass, and Tom Ferraro – lead guitar. Sitting in on guitar will be Cliff Goodwin from Worcester. As a special treat, Jon Butcher and Charlie Farren (remember them? Jon Butcher Axis, Farrenheit, Joe Perry Project) will do a feature performance in-between sets! This event was a sell out last year, get your tix early! For more about this, fortune your way to www.chanseggrollsandjazz.com.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving (Sun, Nov 25th), down in Westerly, The Perks and Corks Sunday Concert Series will present Abbie Gardner and Marc Douglas Berardo’s 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Show. Best known as one-third of the female harmony Americana trio Red Molly, Abbie has listened to the sweet sound of high lonesome harmonies since her first bluegrass festival at three years old. Gardner has been recognized as an award-winning songwriter, with such accolades as the 2008 Lennon Award Winner (folk) and the 2008 American Songwriter Magazine Grand Prize Lyric Winner. Marc Douglas Berardo is the kind of hard working, fast moving, adventure seeking, keen observer who lives for the story and the song. Berardo’s songs have been recognized in some of the biggest songwriting contests in the nation, including The Telluride Troubadour Contest (CO), The Sister’s Folk Festival (OR), and The Rocky Mountain Folk Fest (CO). As a sometime member of The DesBerardo Band with his brother Chris, Marc has been a part of shows with classic rock acts including Little Feat, The Marshall Tucker Band, Levon Helm, The Doobie Brothers, and more. Berardo’s latest CD will be released in Feb 2013. For more, step over to www.perksandcorks.com.
Finally, for your musical wanderings, here are a few choices to possibly put you on a course. Barnaby Bright, Liz Longley, and Sara Azriel at will be at Fete on Dike St. in Olneyville on Thursday, November 15th. Read this and run over there! Back in my high school days when I was learning to play guitar by jamming in the hallways instead of going to class there was a “guest” jammer. His name was Frankie O’Rourke. He played a song that ‘til this day still gets stuck in my head. The song is called, “Valentine”. I could even say this was an inspiration for me to write one of my first songs when I was sixteen. For the longest time I only had the memory of the song but a few years ago I reconnected with O’Rourke and he gave me a recording of the song. Frankie O’Rourke will be at the Bishop Hill Tavern in Johnston on Saturday, November 17th to celebrate forty years of making music. Show starts at 9pm. Set your GPS to 2868 Hartford Avenue in Johnston and get there! Check out Frankie on Facebook for more. Also on Saturday, November 17th, Liam Daily will be playing his first RI show in a long while. He’ll debut some new material and he’d, “love to see you!” Also appearing are Water Liars, Gill Moss Band, and Celadour. For more, “acoustify” over to www.as220.org. The PVD Social Club gets all traditional with Atwater-Donnelly on Sunday, November 18th. To find out more, spoon and bone over to www.pvdsocialclub.com. November 24th at Stone Soup, catch the dynamic duo of husband and wife, Pete and Maura Kennedy. They are one of the “rockinest” folk acts around. For more about this show, pick on over to www.stonesoupcoffeehouse.com. If you have a folky fan on your holiday list another suggestion may be tix to the January 19th Martin Sexton Show at Lupo’s. Sexton has come a long, long way since the days when I first saw him at the Old Vienna Open Mic. Lots of great folks played that room that has long since closed. For Sexton ticket info, “yodel-lay-hee-hoo” to www.lupos.com. Long time RISA volunteer and poet Noël Patoine is leaving The Ocean State and headed back to the Green Mountain State. She has helped and supported many artists over her time here in RI. There will be a going away party for her at the Brooklyn Coffee Tea House on Sunday, November 18th at 8:30pm. Bring an instrument to play and a dish to share. For more, Vermont to www.brooklyncoffeeteahouse.com.
Now that we have been publishing more of a monthly magazine it is even more important that you get me information in advance about events that you would like to see me write about. How far you ask? A month. Seriously, if you don’t know about something you are doing a month in advance you are not planning properly. It takes time to promote shows. Nowadays, for some reason, people send me gig notices a couple of days before or even the day of the show (MAR!!!). Can’t do much with that except show up, and that is even tough as I PLAN AHEAD. Repeat after me, “I will send in my press releases early.” That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. John Fuzek