Roots Report: Find Great Music and Then Look for More


Music Events for the Entire Summer

Okee dokee folks … I leave it to you to decide where to get your entertainment information, but realize that other papers may overlook a lot of great events. I’m going to try to be as inclusive as possible. My friend Melanie Moore, who can often be seen dancing in her gypsy garb to the music of local bands, wrote, “There’s some great music out there waiting to be found. And when you find it, keep looking because there will be more. Find it. Let it find you. Dance to it, sing with it, feel it, soak your weary bones in it. Let it be your drug. Go out and see a live band you’ve never seen before. Fall into their groove. Feed your soul with their art. One of the best feelings in my world is that first hit of new music moving through my body finding its way to my soul.”

I couldn’t have said this better. I will include as much as I can, but there will always be something else out there to find. In the meantime you can start here. Ready? Begin!


Just June
If you wanna kick up yer heels, git yer butt to the College Hill Contra Dance at the Community Church of Providence located 372 Wayland Ave. Elwood Donnelly does the callin’ on Friday, June 6 ( At The Coffee Depot open mic in Warren on Friday, June 6, the feature is Deanna Merchant and Tom Farley. They close out their season with The Rebel Kellys on June 13.
One of my biggest musical influences, Aztec Two-Step, will be at The Met on Saturday, June 7. The show will include Aztec fan favorites, selections from their Simon & Garfunkel Songbook show and their tribute to The Everly Brothers. At The Local Brew Coffeehouse on the 7th, Len Cabral joins Bay Spring Folk for a night of expressive storytelling woven with traditional music. Local Brew Coffeehouse happens at the Bay Spring Community Center on 170 Narragansett Ave. in Barrington ( The 7th brings Bluegrass sensations Cold Chocolate to the Wamsutta Club, 427 County St. in New Bedford ( Also on June 7, at 8:30pm, The RI Songwriters Association (RISA) hosts the final Saturday Songwriter Session before the summer break. This session features Lisa Martin, Junko Ogawa and Annalise Emerick. RISA and The Church Street Coffeehouse in Warren present the annual Women of RISA show on June 14 at 8pm. On the bill are host Jan Luby, Kala Farnham, Kayla Ringelheim, and Amy Herrera ( At Pearl Restaurant and Lounge on Charles St. in Providence on June 7, Ursula George celebrates the early 20th century jazz and blues of the women of the black vaudeville era.

The Red Bandana Fund is proud to name Henry Shelton and the Providence Student Union as the recipients of the Red Bandana Award for 2014. The Award honors individuals and groups whose work embodies the spirit and work of Richard Walton, a longtime activist in Rhode Island who died in 2012. The awards will be presented on June 8 at Nick-a-Nees, 75 South St. in Providence, from 4 to 7pm. The event is open to the public and is family-friendly. As a longtime director of the George Wiley Center, Henry Shelton is known throughout the region for his steadfast commitment to bettering the lives of all Rhode Islanders, especially the poor and disadvantaged. The committee also recognized the groundbreaking work done by the Providence Student Union in addressing important issues of education in creative and powerful ways. Music will be provided by Mary Ann Rossoni, Bill Harley, Dylan Harley, Phil Edmonds and Chris Thompson (

Melissa Etheridge does her thing, solo, at the Zeiterion in New Bedford on June 9 ( If you miss Melissa, Sherri Lynne sings the Melissa Etheridge songbook at Deville’s on June 27 ( Conquer your trixadexaphobia and get to the Skyline Lounge of Lang’s Bowlarama for Tammy Laforest and The Dust Ruffles, and Justin Davis and Just Express. If you haven’t figured it out, that is Friday the 13th (of June). Tammy is celebrating the release of her brand new CD, Copper. An open mic will follow the show ( Also on the 13th, Voices Under Cover features the songs of Lucinda Williams as sung by the award-winning singer-songwriters Allysen Callery, Heather Rose, Becky Chace, and Tracie Potochnik. This is an encore of last year’s show and will be held at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston ( On June 14, Music at Lily Pads presents a special concert featuring the 14-member ensemble Mother Falcon from Austin, The Family Crest from San Francisco, and Brooklyn’s Christopher Paul Stelling. This will be evening of original songs with rich instrumentation and vocals, and bands that bring symphonic orchestration into contemporary music ( Dean Petrella of the Complaints steps out for a rare solo acoustic performance on June 14 at 8pm. The free show will be held at Alibi Café located at 18 Bassett St. in Providence (

If you are looking for a great outdoor music festival without having to travel hours to find it, The Blackstone River Theatre Summer Solstice Festival returns to Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland on Saturday, June 21. Five stages focus on Celtic and world music, dance and culture. Featured performers include Burning Bridget Cleary, Cantrip (from Scotland), Aoife Clancy, Eastern Medicine Singers (Algonquin drum, song and dance), The Gnomes, Matt & Shannon Heaton, Laurel Martin, Mark Roberts & Kieran Jordan, Robbie O’Connell, the Panache Quartet, Pendragon, Harvey Reid & Joyce Andersen, and Torrin Ryan & Mark Oien. There will also be nonstop Irish step dance featuring Tir Na Nog Irish Dance as well as participatory set dancing with Devine’s Diner. Also returning will be the after-festival music session back at the Blackstone River Theatre at 8:30pm (

The 39th Annual RI PrideFest and Illuminated Night Parade takes place Saturday June 21. Starting at noon on South Water St. in Providence, catch performances that include Poppy Champlin, Heather Rose In Clover, Aiden James, drag queens and more ( Other Pride-related events will take place at Deville’s in Providence on June 20 with Karyn Oliver, and on the 21st there will be a block party with Sister Funk.

If you want some fun for once in your life, you are in luck. The Schemers will play a reunion show on June 27 at The Met ( The 100 Watt Suns and Longshot Voodoo are at the Courthouse Center for the Arts, Saturday, June 28 at 8pm (

Just July
On July 3, check out East Providence’s fireworks and the music of Kicking Hole and Crushed Velvet at Pierce Memorial Field. The 1st annual Bluegrass on the Pawtuxet Festival happens July 4 – 6 at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. Some of the scheduled performers are Blues Highway, Steeldrivers, Tony Trischka & Great Big World, Pete and Joan Wernick, the Carter Brothers, Suzahn Fiering, The Kropp Dusters, and George Harper. Master class workshops, indoor and outdoor jams, and a farmer’s market are all part of it ( One of your best “bang for the buck” folk festivals around is the The New Bedford Folk Festival. The 2014 festival will feature top contemporary, traditional and Celtic folk music on seven stages from Saturday July 5 through Sunday July 6. Featured among the nearly 50 musical acts are Barbo, Beaucoup Blue, Craig Bickhardt, Benoit Bourque, Kate Campbell, Ronny Cox, Joe Crookston, Chrissy Crowley, Cliff Eberhardt, Jonathan Edwards, Marina Evans, Gail Finnie, Bob Franke, Vance Gilbert, John Gorka, Grace and the RSO, Bill Harley, Matt and Shannon Heaton, Anne Hills, Pete and Maura Kennedy, Mike Laureanno, Christine Lavin, Zoë Lewis, The Murphy Beds, New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus, Chris Pahud, Poor Old Shine, Hayley Reardon, RUNA, Chris Smither, Devon Sproule, Spuyten Duyvil, Art Tebbetts, Steve Tilston, Jeff Warner, and Don White. The festival is located in the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and the Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford ( Swamp Stomp 7 takes place on Saturday, July 12 in the swampy, back woods of West Kingston with performances by Ha Ha Tonka, JP Harris & the Tough Choices; Girls, Guns & Glory; and Smith & Weeden ( Set aside your beach blankets and coolers this summer at the North Kingstown Town Beach and enjoy the Family Summer Concert Series. All shows start at 6:30pm. July 10 is Ben Rudnick and Friends, July 17 is Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys, July 24 is Stacey Peasley, July 31 is Toe Jam Puppet Band ( Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche pop into Music At Lily Pads on July 20 ( If you’re into a road trip (3 hours), some camping, and a who’s who of Bluegrass in the Catskill Mountains, then get away to the Grey Fox Bluegrass festival on July 17 – 20 at the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, NY for Nickel Creek, Del McCoury Band,Carolina Chocolate Drops, Gibson Brothers, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, Keller Williams w/Travelin’ McCourys and more ( From July 25 – 27 it’s the Newport Folk Festival with acts such as Band of Horses, Jimmy Cliff, Nickel Creek, Mavis Staples, and Jeff Tweedy ( The sixth Annual Newport BridgeFest happens July 28 – 31. BridgeFest is a four-night celebration of local music and musical events at various local venues throughout Newport County “bridging” the world famous Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals (

Just August
August 1 – 3 brings back the Newport Jazz Festival with Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Bobby McFerrin, Dr. John, David Sanborn and more ( A Blues Barbecue Bash at the Salon Concert Series takes place at the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford on August 2. Featured is Mississippi Bluesman Sherman Lee Dillon ( The AS220 FOO FEST takes place in Providence on August 9 ( The best festival (party) of the year is the Rhythm and Roots Festival at Ninigret Park in Charlestown, August 29 – 31. This year’s festival includes Steve Riley and the Mamu Playboys, The Duhks, Sarah and the Tallboys, The Travelin’ McCourys, CJ Chenier, Donna the Buffalo and more ( There are also some sporadic free outdoor concerts at Ninigret Park. On July 13 at 5:30 it’s David Gerald and on August 24 it’s Forever Young (

Just September
The first annual Providence Folk Festival will take place at Roger Williams Memorial in PVD on September 7. Catch two stages of music by some of the best local and regional performers ( The 6th annual Sidy Maiga’s West African drum and dance festival, Afrika Nyaga, is bringing musicians and artists from across New England and West Africa to perform. On September 20, Sidy Maiga’s West African drum and dance festival includes a daytime drum circle and African dance that is great for both children and adults. AfriManding and Oumou Sangare will also be performing (

Summer Series
The Downtown Sundown Series is now in its fourth year and gains steam with every show. Performances are free, start at 7pm and run until 9:30pm at Roger Williams National Memorial on North Main St. in Providence. Experience an outdoor coffeehouse! This year’s schedule: In the event of rain, the concerts will be held in the visitor center. On Saturday, June 21 will be Steve Allain, Emma Joy Galvin, Tracie Potochnik, Lisa Couto and Ray Cooke. On Saturday, July 12 will be Kala Farnham, Heather Rose, Kristen and J, and Rank Strangers. On Saturday, July 26 will be Jesse and Jack Gauthier, Dan Lilley and Scatman, Lisa Markovich, and Bethel Steele. On Saturday, August 9 will be Michelle Cruz, Lily Faith Milne, Dylan Sevey, and Vudu Sister. On Saturday, August 23 will be Marc Douglas Berardo, Allysen Callery, Bob Kendall and Ed McGuirl (

The Newport Concert Series (formerly the Newport Sunset Festival) keeps upping the ante and bringing in more great shows! Every year local performers play the Point Stage (PS) as the opening, opening act. Get there early to check them out. On June 19 will be Dierks Bentley with Lisa Martin at PS, on June 20 will be Ziggy Marley with Louis Leeman at PS, on July 6 will be KC and the Sunshine Band with Heather Rose at PS, on July 12 will be John Hiatt and Robert Cray with Ed McGuirl at PS, on July 13 will be Yes with Steve Allain on PS, on July 18 will be Barenaked Ladies with Bob Kendall on PS, on July 25 will be The Machine (Pink Floyd tribute w/ laser show) with Joe Auger at PS, on August 1 will be Three Doors Down with Emma Joy Galvin at PS, on August 6 will be Boz Scaggs with Lisa Couto & Ray Cooke at PS, on August 10 will be Gregg Allman with Dean DePalma at PS, on August 14 will be Josh Turner with Tracie Potochnik at PS, on August 16 will be the Beach Boys with Joe Silva at PS, on September 20 will be Chris Young with Michelle Lewis at PS. More shows will be added (

Newport Rocks the Fort at Sundown. On Thursdays there are free concerts on the north lawn at Fort Adams in Newport. Starting at 6pm and ending shortly after sunset, talented musicians and other performers from Newport and beyond will share their talent. On June 19 is Red Eye Flight and Peter Warburton; on June 26 is The Steamahs; on July 3 is The Conversation and Sundown Big Cat Blues; on July 10 is James Ragland, Anne Marie and Rich Davis; on July 17 is We Own Land and friends; on August 7 is Andy & Judy, Matt Bruneau & Leslie Grimes; on August 14 is Acoustik Nyte and Black Jade; on August 21 is Lisa Couto & Ray Cooke, Ed McGuirl and company; on August 28 is Triple Threat Blues Crusade; and on September 4 is The Merge & Friends. Each evening will be hosted by local comedians and other talents. The concerts will include casual food from local vendors as well as alcohol service (

Summer Mash
On the first Tuesday of every month, from 7 to 10pm, an open mic is held at Sandywoods Center for the Arts in Tiverton. Other highlights at Sandywoods this summer include on June 7 – The Tarbox Ramblers; on June 21 – Allysen Callery, Ryan Lee, and Lys Guillorn; on June 27 – Debra Mann Quintet; on July 4 – Laurel Casey; on July 5 – Little Compton Band and Four Bridges; on July 23 – Village Harmony; on July 26 – Session Americana; on August 2 – Aine Minogue; and on August 22 – Jen Chapin (

The Mediator Stage keeps going all summer with host Don Tassone. Features are as follows: June 5 – Jim Tata; June 12 – Joel Greene and Deep Waters; June 19 – Bill Nottage; June 26 — Bob Fitzgerald; July 10 – Charlie Cover; July 17 – Fred FJ Round Two Meltzer; July 24 – Kari Tieger; July 31 – Tammy Laforest; August 7 –TBA; August 14 – Athan Phynix; August 21 – RISING Student Songwriters; and August 28 – Rick & Hannah Mariotti ( The Greenwich Odeum presents Kind of Blue – A Tribute to Miles Davis on July 12 and  Jim Carpenter with the Hoolios on July 19. The Odeum is located at 59 Main St. in East Greenwich (

The Towers in Narragansett keeps a summer tradition of dancing near the ocean alive every Thursday night until September. It starts June 12 with Eight to the Bar, on June 19 is The Revelers, on June 26 is The Superchief Trio, on July 10 is Reminisce, on July 17 is James Montgomery, on July 24 is Li’l Anne and the Hot Cayenne, on August 7 is Roger Ceresi, and on August 21 is Firecracker Jazz Band. Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys will do their annual show at the Towers. Check website for the date (

Every Sunday till someone tells them to stop it’s the Return Of The Son of the Classic Open Mic with Host Joe Auger. It happens Sundays at 7:30pm in the Fatt Squirrel (formerly The Century Lounge and The Roi) at 150 Chestnut St., Providence. The Northwest Farmers Market at the Peterson Farm (just past Stick’s Tavern) on Route 44 in Chepachet will host music performances during the market hours of 11am – 2pm. Artists such as Dan Lilley, Malyssa Bellarosa, Jacob Haller and more can be heard among the fruits and veggies. The Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) has some great shows to lure you inside on a hot summer night. The legendary Ringo Starr brings his all-star band to PVD on June 15, Crosby, Stills and Nash are back on July 15, Beck odelays in on July 26, and Jackson Browne plays a solo, acoustic show on  August 20 ( On the lawn at the Meeting House of Tiverton Four Corners Arts, it’s their Concert and Food Truck Summer Shows. On June 29 is Smith and Weeden with The Little Compton Band, on July 27 is Kate Grana & Friends and on August 3 is WindSync ( Also, the 27th annual Tiverton Four Corners Arts & Artisan Festival takes place at The Mill Pond location on Saturday, July 19 with music by Gary Fish, the Little Compton Band and other local favorites (

At Manchester 65 in W. Warwick on June 13 is Melissa Ferrick and Mary Ann Rossoni; on June 14 is The Toasters, w/ Oshun Roots, Bad Larry, Sweet Babylon; on June 15 is Simone Felice w/ Able Thought, Brian Recupero; on June 21 is The English Beat, w/ The Copacetics, Rad, The Stone Unturned; on June 22 is Mary Day Band, Jury; on June 26 is Jamestown Revival, The Wind & The Wave, Kris Orlowski; on July 13 is Maggie Rose, Michelle Cruz; on July 27 is Everlast; on August 1 is Tyler Ward w/ Gary Palumbo, Christina Holmes, Como Brothers; on August 9 is Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad; and on August 15 is Bobby Carlson & Stones River (

At Chan’s in Woonsocket: June 7 is Popa Chubby, June 13 is New Orleans Trombonist Glen David Andrews, June 14 is  Jon Butcher Axis Celebrating the Music of Jimi Hendrix, June 19 is Curtis Salgado, June 20 is Chris Thomas King, June 21 is Dennis Gruenling & Doug Deming Band, June 27 is Brian Maes Band, June 28 is Joe Moss, July 11 is Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, July 12 is Sue Foley & Peter Karp, July 18 is Commander Cody, July 19 is Fat City, July 26 is Duke Robillard, August 1 is Chris Cain & Debbie Davies, August 7 is Tinsley Ellis, August 8 is Roomful of Blues, August 15 is Matt Schofield, August 29 is Reverend Raven & The Chain Smoking Altar Boys, and August 30 is Coco Montoya ( Every Sunday afternoon at Small Axe Café, located on the grounds among the emus, chickens and goats at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, you can catch live music performed by local artists such as Ed McGuirl, Dan Lilley and others ( The Empire Revue at AS220 keeps you laughing all summer long with great music and comedy skits every first Sunday of the month. On July 6 they celebrate their 8th anniversary (

If I missed anything, it was not intentional. I will keep you updated over the summer. If you would like me to consider something for my column, please send an e-mail to That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

John Fuzek