Precarious Pandemic Predicament: Dying for music, but don’t wanna die for music

Okee dokee folks… I am in a bit of a precarious pandemic predicament. One one hand I REALLY want live music to start happening again; I want to get back to performing, writing about what is coming up, and reviewing and photographing shows. On the other hand I REALLY don’t think it is wise to be out because people are still getting sick and dying from the Trump Virus (COVID). Rhode Island WAS doing well, among the top states handling this, but we have started to backslide, so I don’t want to encourage anyone to go out when I don’t really want to go out. These days I only venture to the grocery store, and sometimes I feel like I am one of the few people taking this pandemic seriously because I have seen people publicly flaunting the fact that they are infected with the Moronavirus by NOT wearing a mask in a store or social distancing. People have been going out and having fun; I guess there is just no stopping them even in life-and-death situations. Some venues have been getting creative about presenting live music by holding drive-in concerts, socially distanced performances and livestreams from empty venues. I played one private show a few weeks ago. I felt safe because I was outside under a tent and roped off and distanced from people, and everyone in attendance wore a mask. In all honesty, if I did not feel safe I would have left and not done the show. As much as I agree with the sentiment, “Stay the fuck home!” I can’t force anyone to stay home, not even my parents or my girlfriend. They go out to casinos, restaurants and wineries, but I will not, not until the all clear is loudly sounded. Sure, you can take your chances, but PLEASE practice social distancing and try not to affect anyone else, especially if you have the Moronavirus. By the way, alcohol increases the affects of the Moronavirus, just so you know. Read on…

Festival fans have gotten extra depressed over the past couple of weeks and probably will continue to sink deeper in the coming weeks. The COVID cancellation of festivals like Newport Folk and Jazz, Falcon Ridge, Grey Fox, Rhythm and Roots, and Providence Folk Festival have left huge holes in the souls of the tribes of annual festival gatherers. Many have tried to connect online and listen to streams of past shows or livestreams of some of the artists who were scheduled to perform. While the internet is no match for a true festival experience, the upside is that you won’t have to use a port-a-john!

Some live music is coming back under strict guidelines, though the openings may be changed as the virus progresses. It is very important if you do attend any performance that you adhere to the rules that are in place for everyone’s protection. If they are not followed it could cause problems for the venue and cause another shutdown of that establishment. Don’t be the reason for closure and more importantly, don’t spread your germs!

Here are a few places that are currently presenting performances, though you will need to check for updates because the virus doesn’t play by the rules and can alter schedules at will. If you are in need of a good laugh, the Comedy Connection in East Providence has some big names stopping in for multiple dates. Chelsea Handler takes over from August 10 through the 12th, and you can take a “Break” with Michelle Wolfe, August 28 and 29. Giggle over to ricomedyconnection.com

The Rathskeller Tavern has a nice outdoor set up (according to my girlfriend) and has quite a few bands on the remainder of their summer schedule. Wild Nights, 7 Day Weekend, Paula Clare Blues, Nick Bosse, Another Tequila Sunrise, Steve Smith, Take It To The Bridge, Underestimated Prophet, Dirty Deeds and others are slated for shows until the end of August. For more, hit the back roads to thecharlestownrathskeller.com

PumpHouse Music Works in Peacedale lets the music play on their front lawn! Coming up: Sidy Maiga and Afrimanding with Rhode To Bali, Tai Chi Funk Squad, Dysfunktone, Guess Method & Smug Honey, Troy Gonyea Band, The Honk & Country DNA, Leland Brown Quartet & Blue City Quartet, Slurp & Dudemanbro, Duke Robillard, Will Evans, Fellswater and more. They will have an outdoor bar and food trucks available. Shady Lea to pumphousemusicworks.com for info and reservations.

The Complaints will be at Finn’s Harborside in East Greenwich on August 14 (finnsharborside.com). Strings Bar & Grill on George Waterman Rd in Johnston has Juxo & Lisa Marie on August 8 (stringsbar.com).
On Sunday, August 16, enjoy a Blues Concert with Helen Sheldon and The Trash Pandas at the Lippitt House Museum on Hope Street in Providence (preserveri.org/contact-lippitt-house-museum). The Last Resort in Smithfield has Aerosmith tribute Last Child on August 8 (thelastresortri.com).

Common Fence Music will present Jake Blount, an award-winning banjoist, fiddler and singer in a free online concert on Sunday, August 9 at 7 pm. A link will be provided at commonfencemusic.org at showtime and all tips go to the artist. A Musical Journeys interview with Jake will immediately follow the concert.

Lucy’s Hearth, Newport County’s only homeless shelter for children and their families, announces its virtual summer concert, We Love Lucy’s Hearth, slated to air Wednesday, August 19 at 8pm. Scheduled to appear are Nancy Paolino, Alan Bernstein, Mike Renzi, Slackwater String Band, John Monllos, Joanne Rodino, Dopey Lopes, Jimmy Winters, Carrigan Nelson, Jonathan Perry, Leslie Grimes and Matt Bruneau. Being homeless during this pandemic places additional stress on families and the services provided by Lucy’s Hearth. The suggested donation is $25. Warm up to lucyshearth.org for donation and viewing details.

A few years back, Canadian songwriter Kathleen Edwards quit the music biz and opened Quitters Coffee Shop in Stittsville, Ontario. If you are a fan like me, that was a disappointing decision. Edwards has done a bit of an about face and will be releasing her first full length recording in almost eight years. The album, Total Freedom, will be out the second week of August. To pre-order your copy keep your “Options Open” and get to kathleenedwards.com.

Brianna White, a Motif Music Award Winner, has just released new project called Resonate. White is known for her use of looping devices to enhance her solo performances. Her recorded material is radio friendly, catchy and slick. Check out her video for the song “Jaded” on her YouTube channel. Brianna is definitely one of the bright spots on the Rhode Island music scene. For more, hop over to brianawhitemusic.com 

Neil Young has reworked the lyrics and released the song “Looking For A Leader 2020” as a protest against the squatter in the White House. He is also considering bringing suit against the mango moron for his use of “Rockin’ In The Free World.” Go Neil! You can hear the song and read Neil’s take on things at NeilYoungArchives.com

One more thing, someone made a comment on Facebook last week that there is a lack of coverage for the local music scene by the RI press. That is completely untrue! Remember: If I don’t know about it, I can’t write about it. You have to send a press release at least two weeks before an event to be considered for coverage. It is just that easy. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. If you all get sick from going out I don’t want to hear about it! JohnFuzek.com #DumpTrump2020