Music

Roots Report — Wild Youth and Wilder Shows

roots

April Shows that Cover Decades of Music   

Okee dokee folks… Technically it’s spring, though it isn’t spring in my book until the peepers start peeping. Those little frozen froggies should have been thawed and tweeting by now. They are late. Something is amiss. The “peepers” are generally pretty punctual. Right around St. Patrick’s Day is when I will usually hear one lone peeper. As the days go on it builds into a chorus. By the time it starts to really warm up they are so loud that it sounds like a peeper pep rally. Granted, you need to live near a pond or swampy area to get the full effect, but if you have never heard them, you should. When the bullfrogs warm up they start their deep throated (get your mind out of the gutter) croaking. They are more of a solo act. Their husky grunts punctuate the peepers’ performance. The sounds of nature are some of my favorite sounds. Some nights I will sit outside and listen to the woodland critters for hours. It’s therapeutic. If you would like to know what other wild music is out there, read on.

Back in my “yute” (see My Cousin Vinnie) we used to drive around in my 1965 Rambler station wagon. It wasn’t a very cool vehicle, but it could hold six or eight of my friends. Sometimes I didn’t even know who was way in the back. We would put two dollars worth of gas (it was 50 cents a gallon) in the tank and drive around all night. Of course we would be up to no good. Often there was beer involved … maybe other stuff. Shhhh! The soundtrack for our jaunts was provided by the then state-of-the-art EIGHT TRACK TAPE PLAYER. Now these things were not the greatest devices to play music on but it beat AM radio’s selection of three stations. Often, to make the tape player function, you would need to wedge a matchbook under the tape. Sometimes two tracks would play at once (or was that because we were buzzed?). One of the more interesting features of an eight track player was when the tape switched tracks in the middle of a song. You would be really getting into a song and then “chu-chunk,” track change. Now if the songs were short and the producers did a good job, this didn’t happen often but with longer songs it would go through two or even three track changes! Back then a lot of what I listened to fell into the long song category. One of my favorite bands to listen to while driving around was Yes. If you don’t know, they were a progressive, synth-rock band that was very popular in the ’70s. They were almost as famous for their Roger Dean-created Yes Logo and fantasy landscape album covers. Remember, this was the ’70s — think vans, shag carpets, black lights. So, once again I am taking the “ROUNDABOUT” way of telling you something. Vocalist Jon Anderson, singer-songwriter and 35 year member of band Yes will be performing at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket (if you say woooon-socket, please exit the state now) on Tuesday, April 22. The show promises to deliver an exciting mixture of material from Anderson’s prolific career, including classic Yes songs, collaborations with Vangelis, and new compositions, all highlighted by humorous and enlightening stories told by Anderson. As the former lead vocalist and creative force behind Yes, Anderson was a major creative influence behind the ground-breaking album, Fragile as well as the series of epic, complex pieces such as “Awaken,”,“Gates of Delirium” and especially “Close to the Edge,” which were central to the band’s success. Additionally, Anderson co-wrote the group’s biggest hits, including “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Roundabout,” and “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” In addition, Anderson had great success with a series of albums he did with Vangelis, and most recently released the critically acclaimed solo album titled Survival and Other Stories. The Stadium Theatre is located at 28 Monument Square in Woonsocket. For more about this show and others at the Stadium, “Relayer” your way over to stadiumtheatre.com. Do you want more Yes? Yes? OK, you are in luck. “An Evening With Yes” will be presented at the Newport Yachting Center as part of the Newport Concert Series on July 13. If you know the history of Yes, the line-up has changed many, many times over the years. One incarnation even included the infamous Buggles (Video Killed the Radio Star) And I did see this version in concert! The current touring band consists of members: Jon Davison — lead vocal, Chris Squire — bass, Steve Howe — guitar, Alan White — drums, and keyboardist Geoff Downes. Tickets for this show go on sale Thursday, April 10. For more about Yes and other shows at the Newport Concert Series, “Fly From Here” over to newportwaterfrontevents.com

Back in the early ’80s, (EEEK!!!, my least favorite decade) Bryan Adams emerged as one of the darlings of the MTV generation. With hits like, “Cuts Like A Knife,” “Summer of ’69” and “Run To You,” he was in heavy rotation on TV and radio. I have to admit that “Cuts Like A Knife” was a video that I actually liked. Well, I liked the girl in the bathing suit that was in the video more than I liked the song or actual video! OK, I liked the song, too. This Canadian singer-songwriter topped the charts for many years and crossed over into the subsequent decades with songs like, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” “Open Road” and most recently “Thought I’d Seen Everything.” He is one of the world’s top selling artists with over 65 million records sold and he is Canada’s top selling rock artist with 20 Juno awards to his credit. This year, the 54-year-old Adams will be out on tour, with just a guitar or two and possibly a side person on keys. The “Bare Bones” show will give fans a rare opportunity to see Adams as they’ve not seen him before: solo, acoustic and in an intimate venue. Reports of the show have Adams playing hit after hit from his three-decade, 16-album career, in a stripped-down acoustic performance to sell out crowds. If you were a young fan back in the ’80s and your love for has Bryan has endured (mostly talking to the ladies here, but I don’t discriminate), you hear his songs incessantly on corporate radio and they are drilled into your head so you need to go and free the demons, or if you are a recent fan and just really love the music, then this is a must see show. I am thinking that it will surely be a nostalgic, sing-a-long kind of night, so bring your best audience participation attitude! Oh, did I mention the show is at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Providence on Cinco de Mayo (May 5 for all of you not “with-it” folks)? For more info about this show and other at the Vets, run to: vmari.com

Now for the big list of random shows taking place around the state during the month of April. Ready? Begin. Read it and run! On Thursday, April 3, Luna’s Ladies Night presents Chris Pureka at Fete Music, 103 Dike Street in Olneyville. Pureka is described as “her tunes have the grave Appalachian flavor of Neil Young and Gillian Welch; her guitar playing is subdued but quietly virtuosic. And her voice can be a desolate whisper or a bitter accusation.” Nicole Reynolds opens the show at 8pm. For more, hurry over to: eventbrite.com. At the Coffee Depot in Warren on Friday, April 4, the open mic feature will be Marilyn Manfra, who will coincidentally be celebrating her birthday that night. I have a rough idea of her age, but I won’t tell, mostly because she would kill me! So bring your guitar and a song to play (and maybe a gift for Marilyn) or just sit and enjoy. Admission is free, but they will pass the hat and you should help fill it. The Rhode Island Songwriters Association’s Saturday Songwriter Sessions brings together RISA members Bethel Steele, Earl Faria and Bill Nottage on Saturday, April 5. $5 at the door. Get there early for a good seat. Music starts at 8:30pm. Compose your way to: risongwriters.com for more. “Keep the cake out of the rain.” That line was included in the e-mail I received from Dennis Costa of Wakefield Music, about an upcoming concert they are having at the store on Sunday, April 6. Now, I am not sure if he is referring to Jimmy Webb, Richard Harris, Donna Summer, an actual reference to a cake in the rain, or maybe a song by the group that is performing. It was kind of cryptic, but I liked it! The Boxcar Lilies are described as a “high energy Americana trio with a knack for heavenly harmonies and exceptional songwriting.” To listen to the lovely ladies, swing your ear to: boxcarlilies.com. Esmerée Skye opens the show. The store is located at 58 Main Street in Wakefield. For more info, give the store a jingle at 401-783-5390. This next statement sounds like the epilogue of a true crime show, but it’s the teaser for the upcoming Empire Revue show at AS220 on Sunday, April 6. “Every sketch in this show will be based on a true story or feature a dare that the beatniks have been dared to do! Come see what terrible things we’ve done and will do for your entertainment!” I don’t think I need to say much more than, “Get there early for a seat!” these shows pack ‘em in and is some of the best entertainin’ around! This month’s guests include: Sokeo Ros, Mertz, Joanne Lurgio, Anthony Scibelli, Niraj Shah and Emeline Easton. For more, sparkle over to as220.org. On Monday evening, April 7, The Aurea Concert Series presents “Melville and the Great White Whale” at Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Avenue in Pawtucket (if you say PAW-tucket, please exit the state now). For more, industrially revolute to slatermill.org.

Ok, catch your breath for a minute and read on … Stone Soup keeps the good stuff coming with Bill Staines on Saturday, April 12. Staines has 26 recordings to his credit and has written over 300 songs, many of which have been recorded by the likes of Peter, Paul, and Mary; Makem and Clancy; Nanci Griffith; Glen Yarborough and Jerry Jeff Walker. His music is sung at campfires and folk music gatherings and in homes and churches all around the country. On stage, Staines is an intimate, compelling performer. He will mix in traditional tunes with his own contemporary folk ballads. His humorous tales of life on the road and observations of everyday people provide an entertaining blend of story and song. WS Monroe opens the night. For more, stir your way to: stonesoupcoffehouse.com. Lucille and the guy who make her sound so sweet, BB King, will be at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on Saturday, April 12. Tix are $50-$75. Doors at 6:30pm. For more about this show and others at Lupo’s, slide it over to: lupos.com. Also on April 12, Chris Monti and Marjorie Thompson will each play a one hour solo set (and will probably play a couple of songs together too) at The Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland. Tix are $12 at the door. For more, pattern pick to: riverfolk.org. Yet another show on the April the 12 is Jonah Tolchin and the Honey Dew Drops. You can see/hear them at Music at Lily Pads 27 North Road in Peacedale. For more, drizzle over to: musicatlilypads.org. At Manchester 65 in West Warwick on April 13, Mary Ann Rossoni and her original band will kick off a show at 4pm, and her other band, Midnight Honey featuring Cathy “Little Bit” will follow at 5:30. They will be playing on the patio if weather is nice or inside if not. Food will be cooking on the grill and sold — hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza. For more, get your buns over to: manchester65.com. The Master of the Dobro, Jerry Douglas, who has played on more than 1,600 albums and  as a sideman for artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Phish, Dolly Parton, Paul Simon, Mumford & Sons, Keb’ Mo’, Ricky Skaggs, Elvis Costello and Johnny Mathis, as well as performing on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack will be at The Met in a rare solo appearance on Sunday, Sunday, April 13 at 6pm. Mark Cutler opens. For more, resonate your way to: themetri.com.

I would be chastised by my bandmates if I did not mention that Forever Young will be playing a special acoustic show at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Greenwich on Saturday, April 5. For more about this show, gavel over to: courthousearts.org. Also, Allysen Callery would probably like me to mention that she and I will be playing a show at Perks and Corks in Westerly on Wednesday night, April 16 from 8-11pm. Pop on over to perksandcorks.com. Oh, and if you want to see me make a fool of myself in the finest way, then PLEASE come to the Motif Music Awards on Monday, April 28 when Bettysioux Tailor and I host the prestigious event at The Met.

Time to do some ORGANIZING! I am TRYING to get better about what I cover in my column. I have made a LIST. Watch out world! We’ll see if it helps me sort things out. I may be too scattered and beyond help, but I am going to try. If there is something that you would like me to consider writing about, please send me an e-mail. I will send you a reminder of my writing deadline so you can get it to me on time. Send to: risongwriters@yahoo.com

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!  John Fuzek www.johnfuzek.com