Roots Report: October 15 to 31, 2023

Matt Andersen. (Photo: courtesy of the artist)

Okee dokee folks… Today I was thinking about contests. Songwriting contests to be more specific. I have a lot of Facebook friends from all over the world and a good deal of them are songwriters. Occasionally one of them will announce that they have won a prize in a song contest and will post a clip of the winning song. Reluctantly, I will check out the song and more times than not I cannot listen past the first 30 seconds. I just don’t get it. Now, I am not elevating myself above anyone by not liking these songs but I do know good music. I look for clever lyrics and good melodies and frequently these winning songs are devoid of these essential ingredients. I cannot understand how these songs could have earned any prizes.

I receive emails daily about contests but I just move them to the trash. I have never really been much of a fan of contests involving music: It is far too subjective. Judges like different things – different songs, genres, and artists. Honestly, I find the best meter of a song is playing it for lots of people, over and over again, and gauging their responses. Some songwriters write in a bubble and never get this kind of judgment. A good way to have a song assessed is by attending song critiques such as the ones offered by The Rhode Island Songwriters Association (RISA).


At RISA, fellow songwriters listen and comment on the song you present. There are no prizes awarded at critiques, just suggestions that you can take or leave. Anyway, I am off on another rambling tangent. I guess what I am basically trying to say is that just because a song wins a prize doesn’t make it a great song. We all like what we like and to us that is all we need to determine a song is great. No contest needed. Read on…

Powerhouse performer Matt Andersen will bring his soulful live show to the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River on October 26. After numerous sold-out shows in his native Canada, the acclaimed singer/songwriter is embarking on a US headliner tour to perform his latest album, The Big Bottle of Joy, a collection of blues, rock, Americana, and gospel styles. The Big Bottle of Joy is Andersen’s tenth studio album and follows 2022’s acclaimed House to House.

For more, just “Let It Slide” over to

If you like guitar music then don’t miss this FREE concert by finger-style guitarist Claude Bourbon. He will be performing at the Tiverton Public Library on November 8 at 6:30pm. Claude’s last Tiverton performance was to a packed house in 2019.

Bourbon is known throughout Europe and America for his blues, Spanish, and classical guitar style. He incorporates all five digits on each hand independently but in unison, plucking, picking, and strumming with speed and precision. Registration is not required for the event.

For more, turn the page to

At Providence Performing Arts Center, the preeminent horn band, Tower of Power, blows into the majestic theater on October 28 when they join forces with The Rhode Island Philharmonic. For over 55 years, Tower of Power has delivered the best in funk and soul music. The band has traveled the world, recording hit singles on their own and backing artists including Otis Redding, Elton John, Santana, the Grateful Dead, John Lee Hooker, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, and countless others.

For more, “Get Yo’ Feet Back on the Ground” and get to

The Greenwich Odeum has two shows this month that you should check out. On October 20, SNL Alum Colin Quinn brings his “Small Talk” show to East Greenwich. If you are familiar with his work then you know why you want to be at this show. If not, go watch his Netflix specials, I’ll wait. His work is clever, funny, and thought-provoking.

The other show is Richie Furay on October 26. Richie was one of the singer-songwriter-guitarists in the legendary band Buffalo Springfield. His 60-year career in music also includes Poco, the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, and induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His newest album, In The Country, focuses on his love of country music and songs that Furay has been listening to for decades. Opening the show is Chris Berado, Westerly singersongwriter Marc Douglas Berado‘s brother.

Don’t have a “Sad Memory” from missing these great shows, just get over to for more. Listen to my podcasts at Thanks for reading and listening.