The Roots Report: Holiday Ranting: Skip the greed and check out the music

Okee dokee folks… This is one of those times where I type the intro to my column and then delete the whole thing a few times. It seems that I cannot properly express what I really would like to say. Let me correct that, I CAN express it but not in a way that can be printed (say whatever the fuck you want, John! -ed.). I tend to pepper my communication with the word “F*@K”! Usually when I write I can control myself and not slip it into a sentence. When I speak, however, it seems that it is every other word that flies out of my mouth. Lately I have been upping the ante and “Samuel L. Jackson-ing” that word and adding the prefix “Mother” to it. I never used to use that word. I kept it simple and simply uttered “F*@K”, but my hatred of a certain vile, orange being has so often prompted the use of the sum of the two words that it has become a part of my lexicon — even in my writing.

So, what has driven my need to use that word so much? Well, we have one year to rid ourselves of that MFer in the White House before he completely destroys this country. 2020 is almost here and we NEED to SERIOUSLY figure this out. The other subject getting under my skin is the (ugh) holiday season. I seriously hate the time from T-Giving until New Year’s. I quit the holidays more than 30 years ago over the greed, gluttony, “fakeness” and stress (oh, and the ritualistic slaughter of turkeys and other critters — I am a vegetarian). The holiday season has gotten out of hand, and yes, I use “MF” when I discuss this as well. So, in a way, I spared you my regular rant, but in a way I didn’t. Whatever. You all get the point, don’t you? It’s just one month until 2020. Tick-tock. Read on…             

The 7th Annual Rock and Roll Christmas Show to Benefit Stand Up For Animals, a humane animal shelter, will be held on Sunday, December 8 starting at 6pm at the Knickerbocker Music Center in Westerly. This fundraiser, founded by local musicians John Speziale and Keith M. Cowley, will present music by The Friends featuring members of The Hoolios, Sunday Gravy, The Ken Serio Jazz Trio, and Men With Guitars; roots rockers Sweet Mercy, strolling fiddler Craig Edwards, stand-up comic Puppet Santa and MC Mark Sullivan will be there. There will also be food, libations, prizes and a Hula dance contest! For more, bark over to


The Gnomes return to Local Brew Coffeehouse on Saturday, December 7 at 7pm for their annual show at the Bay Spring Community Center in Barrington. Their world music repertoire includes Celtic, Scandinavian, Eastern European, Asian, African, Caribbean, Klezmer and Native American. Drownville Station will kick off evening. Take the Gnomemobile to for more!

Now that I have told you how much I hate the holidays, here is an event for those of you who love the holidays! The Sweetback Sisters’ Country Christmas Sing-along Spectactular returns to Common Fence Music on Saturday, December 14. This wildly popular show delivers plenty of Yuletide splendor, trivia, prizes and, of course, the holiday tunes you want to hear. Back by audience request is CFM’s New Year’s Eve Folkstravaganza! Hosted by Rhode Island favorites The Vox Hunters, this talented duo of Benedict Gagliardi and Armand Aromin deliver an exciting evening of traditional tunes, pub singing and square dancing that’s high on audience participation and holiday joy. Joining them are their friends Spitzer & Mareva of the Chicago old-time folk collective Old Lazarus’ Harp, and Mystic, CT-based multi-instrumentalist and roots music extraordinaire Craig Edwards. Instead of watching the ball drop, count down with a hoedown! You may BYOB to both events! For more about these two shows, humbug to

If you want to celebrate the Winter Solstice, the REAL reason for the season, then get to Sandywoods on December 21 and rock out with the band Digg It! Sandywoods also has a New Year’s Eve celebration with The 60’s, a 1960s tribute band, on December 31. For more, Strawberry Alarm Clock to:

Songwriter, piano player and jazz singer Shannon Corey is teaming up with the Joe Parillo Trio to bring holiday jazz standards and original music to Providence’s Music Mansion on December 21. Other backing musicians include Steve Skopp on bass, Brendan Brynes on drums, Mike Maven on guitar/ukulele/vocals, Dave Carroll on saxophone and Susan Aquila on violin. Shannon Corey has toured with Stephen Stills and opened for Lady Gaga, and spent several years living and singing jazz in Europe. She’s also had her original music featured in MTV’s “The Real World.” For more, be-bop to

A couple of weeks ago, Greg Andreozzi, a member of the popular street band Extraordinary Rendition Band (ERB), passed away. On Saturday, December 14 at 12:45, the band, and whoever would like to join in, will meet at the amphitheater near the Hot Club and parade over the pedestrian bridge like they did at PRONK! Anyone who wants to play or just join in to celebrate the life of Greg is welcome to participate.

I know that I have already talked about Empire Revue’s “Bennys: The Musical” CD, but I want to reiterate how good it is. Any true Rhode Islander should have this as part of their CD collection. To get your copy, layaway to Also, don’t forget about The Route 44 Music Series in Harmony on Thursday, December 5 with Sarah Potenza and Ian Crossman. Tickets available at 

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.