The Roots Report: Runnin’ Down a Dream

Okee dokee folks… Last week I had the pleasure of being included in the sold-out Tom Petty tribute show at the Columbus Theatre. Initially I wasn’t part of the line-up, but someone canceled about a week before the show and I was able to fill in. Most of the Petty songs that I knew were chosen by then, so it came down to “Honey Bee” and “The Last DJ.” For a minute or two I thought about doing a solo version of “Honey Bee,” but that was a bit out of character for me. I opted to do a folkier version of “The Last DJ” and added a little harmonica solo to my interpretation. As I practiced the song and (tried to) memorize the lyrics, I realized that this was a bit of a prophetic song for Petty. “The Last DJ” was from the 2002 album of the same name and speaks of corporate and subscription radio taking over — kind of like radio is now. In many ways it worked perfectly as a folk song, and I am glad that it was the song I performed. There were so many great musicians who were part of this show it would take most of my column to name and compliment them all, so I will just say that THEY ALL WERE GREAT and THEY ALL did an AMAZING JOB! I will, however, single out and commend Chrissy Stewart, Dylan Sevey, Michael Panico, Brian Minto and the Columbus Theatre for putting the show together. I would like to personally thank Swamp Yankee Art for getting my name on the BEAUTIFUL commemorative poster that they sold at the show! I thought that I surely would not have made it to the poster because I was an add-on. I had so much fun at this tribute, so a big “thank you” to everyone involved and to everyone who came!

If you are a Tom Petty fan and were not able to get a ticket to see the show, don’t fret (guitar humor). Another, totally different, Tom Petty Tribute Show is right around the corner. This time it will happen on January 27 at The Met in Pawtucket and will be benefit One America Appeal for hurricane relief. This tribute includes such local luminaries as John Larson, Cathy Clasper Torch, Richard Ribb, Paula Clare, Richard Ribb, Mark Cutler, Emerson Torrey, Tanya McIntyre, and many others. For more, run down a dream to

Hey Nineteen
Hey Nineteen

Last month I caught Hey Nineteen Steely Dan Tribute for the first time since their debut show a few years back. The band takes on a lot, not only because of the complex tunes of Steely Dan, but also the size and scope of the band. Led by Dale Dejoy, the 11-piece band has all the right ingredients to make Steely Dan’s music come alive. They don’t take liberties with the arrangements and remain faithful to the tracks that Fagan and Becker laid down years ago. Every vocal, harmony, horn line, solo and sound are attended to with the utmost care. Every member is a master of their instrument and the “Babylon Sisters” backing vocalists not only layer lush harmonies, they are very entertaining to watch! With seven vocalists in the band you get an array of vocal styles to provide the best feel of that number. Hey Nineteen will “Do It Again” at the Ocean Mist on Saturday, January 27. “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” that this is a not-to-miss show. Get your tix early so there’ll be “No Static At All.” Yes, I am pushing the SD puns. Here’s one more for you: For more, “Pretzel Logic” to


“I’ll stick with with Tribute Bands for $1,000, Alex.”

“The answer is, ‘The Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket.’”

“Where can you find Neil Diamond, The Eagles, AC/DC and Rush’s music in January?” Another Tequila Sunrise will perform the music of The Eagles on Friday, January 19. AC/DC tribute Dirty Deeds with Rush tribute Lotus Land will happen on Saturday, January 20. The Neil Diamond Tribute by Simply Diamond will be held on Friday, January 26.

“I’ll take Country Kids for $500, Alex.”

“The answer is ‘LeAnn Rimes.'”

“Who has been topping the charts since the age of 13 and is famous for such hits as “How Do I Live,” “Blue,” “Can’t Fight The Moonlight,” and will be at the Stadium Theatre on February 2, with only limited seating left?”

“That is a bit more than we asked for, but we’ll take it.”

“Sorry, Alex. How else was John going to continue his lame attempt at Jeopardy humor and get the info in?” For more, potent potable to

Folks from South County tend not to go farther up Route 1 North than the Hannah Robinson Tower. It’s as if Hannah’s ghost is doing her best Gandalf, slamming down her staff and screaming, “You shall not pass!” Luckily South County has one of the newest and best music venues around, The Pump House Music Works. On Friday, January 12, RI Songbird Allysen Callery is joined by Boston-based Ryan Lee Crosby for a night of fingerstyle folk, 12-stringed country blues and Indian Raga. Fans of Sandy Denny, Nick Drake and Robbie Basho should take note.

The following night, January 13, it’s the Bob Kendall Band, and on Saturday, January 20, catch the Narrow River Band. Now the question is will Hannah let folks head south? Find out. For more,”One Way Donkey Ride” to

Fellswater, a Celtic music ensemble, will hold a CD release concert for their new album Skipping Stones at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland on Saturday, January 13. Skipping Stones is the band’s third album and first with the new line-up: Kyle Forsthoff, Betsy Ketudat, Jim MacConduibh, Sarah MacConduibh, Andrew McIntosh, Chris Myers and Diane Myers. The band will be joined at BRT by cellist David Cabral, who was one of the featured guest artists on the new album. For more, “Lo delo delo” to or

The Route 44 Music Series at the Harmony Lodge will be presenting the “legendary” Andy Pratt on Thursday, January 18 at 7:30pm. Andy achieved fame in the early ’70s with his hits “Avenging Annie” (which was later recorded by Roger Daltry of The Who), “Summer, Summer” and others from his nearly 30 albums. Pratt is a prolific songwriter and has a wealth of great material beyond his hits. He will be performing solo on guitar and piano. Opening the show will be John Larson and The Silver Fields. If you are worried about getting home in time to eat and then rush to get back out, don’t! The Harmony Lodge has a full dinner menu available. The show ends early, around 9:30pm, so you won’t be out late on a school night! For more, “Shiver In The Night” to and click on Route 44 Music Series.

About 15 years ago I was fortunate to be invited to perform at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. I led a “delegation” of songwriters from RI (Mary Ann Rossoni, Mike Laureanno, Marilyn Manfra, Bill Petterson) and we played a songwriter-in-the-round type show. The Kerrville Folk Fest is one of the top folk festivals in the country and runs for about 18 days every year. Many of the best performances take place around the nighttime campfires and this is where Michelle Shocked was discovered and recorded on the spot about 30 years ago. If you have ever dreamed of playing in Texas, then here is your chance to try. Entries are now being accepted for the 2018 Kerrville New Folk Competition to be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27, 2018, during the first weekend of the 47th Annual Kerrville Folk Festival. The first 800 entries received by February 28 will be judged, and 32 finalists will be named in April. For more, “Graffiti Limbo” to

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.