Roots Report

The Time Is Now: Music fuels the revolution

Okee dokee folks… Welcome to the ’20s, the year of the next presidential election when we have the opportunity to return this country to a state of normalcy and move forward with a progressive and positive agenda. My hope is that the people of this country take inspiration from others and take to the streets demanding justice, social change and a complete revamp in how we treat this planet. If it takes shutting down workplaces and highways with protests to accomplish, so be it. Wake up folks, look up from those damn phones, the time is now. Change does not occur with apathy.

The 1960s were rife with protest because people were being immediately affected by the day’s issues, such as the war, the draft and racial inequality. These days, folks are duped by false news sources, a lying commander in chief, religion and basically, their own stupidity. One of my favorite quotes is from professor and author Isaac Asimov: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Folks need to understand that income inequality, corrupt politicians, greedy billionaires, climate change, health care, needless war and so many other issues are affecting us NOW. This country and the world are a mess and need to be fixed.

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What has any of this to do with music? Everything. The arts have always had a finger on the pulse of society and artists have always helped spread the word and stir rebellion. Read on…   

As a columnist for Motif, I have the opportunity to talk with many musicians and comedians. This month, I spoke with Paula Poundstone and rather than transcribe my interview with her, I am going to let you listen to it on the Motif website at motifri.com/xxxx. This is the second time that I have had the pleasure of talking to Poundstone, who will be bringing her comedy to Veterans Memorial Auditorium on January 18. For more, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” get to thevetsri.com  

Here are a few more shows for you to check out this month. The Sweet Little Variety Show’s 10th Anniversary celebration is Thursday, January 9, at Askew. This month features mentalist Rory Raven, burlesque with Bettysioux Tailor, performance artist Elizabeth Keiser, Baby Oil, poet Vatic Kuumba, Tânia Montenegro & Nancy Lucia Hoffman, belly dancing with Manuela Ameena Birner, Jodi Jolt and The Volt, and host Eva Destruction (facebook.com/SweetLittleVarietyShow).

Common Fence Music brings singer-songwriter Jefferey Foucault to the Common Fence Point Arts, Wellness & Community Center on Saturday, January 11, for this Wisconsin artist’s first solo performance at their venue. Foucault has become one of the most distinctive voices in American music, refining a sound that is simple and emotional and a blend of blues, country, rock and folk. Foucault often tours and accompanies his wife, singer-songwriter Kris Delmhorst (commonfencemusic.org).

The Odeum on Main Street in East Greenwich keeps their stage busy with great concerts. Coming up is Everclear on January 16, The Stranger, a Billy Joel Tribute on January 18, Phil Vassar on January 19, Forever Young, A Tribute to the Music of Neil Young with Napoleon in Rags on January 25 and Marc Cohn with Mark Erelli on February 13 (greenwichodeum.com).

The Narrows Center for the Arts has a lot of great music slotted for January. Cheryl Wheeler with Special Guest Kenny White performs on January 11, Bob Mould has a solo show on January 17, The Englishtown Project performs on January 18, Entrain is on January 24, and Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish with Professor Louie & The Crowmatix perform January 31 (narrowscenter.org).

On Sunday, January 12, The Met will host a benefit for Carl Sugerman who is dealing with health issues. Stepping onto the stage to support Sugerman is Spogga, Kris Hansen, the Greg Rourke Band Mark Cutler, Jimmy ” Boney” Beaupre, Manny Vincent from the Probers, Dan Lilley and the Keepers, The Bickersins, Greg Allen, Eric and the Nothing, and, Fringe Religion. The benefit show runs from from 4 – 9pm (themetri.com).

At the Ocean Mist on January 18 you can hear the music of Steely Dan as performed by the tribute band Hey Nineteen (oceanmist.net).

The Pumphouse, the best music venue in South County, always has a lot happening and January is no exception. The Paula Clare Band plays a RI Food Bank Benefit on on January 12, singer-songwriters John Faraone, Lily Porter Wright, Chip, and Sara Azriel perform their own music on Friday, January 17; and the Pump House’s monthly Open Mic/Potluck happens on January 25 (pumphousemusicworks.com).

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com

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