The Roots Report: Peep at Some Music

Okee dokee folks… Well, it is spring. The peepers are peeping early this year. Average waking time for them is right around Saint Patrick’s Day — I think that they like to get up for the party! Last year they were late and it was almost April before I heard their nighttime chorus. I love to sit outside and relax, listening to the peaceful sound of the peepers. I think — I know — I am going to need a lot of peeper time this year. Election years always stress me out.

This year there is so much at stake. People are losing their minds. Hate is rearing its VERY ugly head! Rational thought is giving way to stupidity. I know that I say this a lot, but the climate is right for intelligent protest music. The ’60s were full of it. “For What It’s Worth,” “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “Eve Of Destruction” very well could be used today. It’s great to play these older songs, but we need a new voice and new anthems. The revolution HAS begun, and it IS being televised, but not in the traditional sense. Please pay attention. Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything!” The WORLD is paying attention and is worried. I am, too. Very. I could go on, but I won’t. Not now anyway. Read on…


Last weekend I attended the David Wilcox show produced by Common Fence Music (CFM) at the Channing Church in Newport. It was a very enjoyable show in a beautiful setting. Wilcox is a master guitar player and wordsmith. The folks at CFM head back to Anthony Road in Portsmouth for their next show on Saturday, March 19, when they will present Canadian rising star, Mo Kenney, a singer/songwriter based in Darmouth, Nova Scotia. This will be Kenney’s first appearance in Southern New England. Catching the ear of noted Canadian rocker Joel Plaskett while still in school, Kenney released her first album, Mo Kenney, in 2012. In September 2014, Kenney released her second album, In My Dreams. Kenney is known for her lyrical prowess and engaging stage presence.

Opening the show will be Vermont-based folk duo Cricket Blue. Their music is inspired by diverse aspects of the American folk tradition: old and current, popular and obscure. Laura Heaberlin and Taylor Smith write songs marked by close-knit harmonies and words about myth, confusion, love and the ends of the things. Heaberlin and Smith met at Middlebury College, where they studied philosophy and literature. Their self-titled debut EP was released in October.

Don’t forget, the rescheduled Fiddlers and Fishermen show is April 2 at CFM. For more, juno where to go: CommonFenceMusic.org

At Stone Soup one of the original founders takes the stage on March 19. Two-time Grammy winner Bill Harley will be joined by Marty Ballou and Rachel Panitch. “As a folk musician in the Seeger, Woody Guthrie tradition, Bill Harley continues to lend his voice to social justice, and environmental and political causes. Whatever Harley’s forum, it’s always all about story, community and connection.” He is well-known for his kids shows, but this will be a Bill Harley show for the adults. For more, Wacka, Wacka, Woo to StoneSoupCoffeehouse.com

The Red Bandana Fund seeks nominations for the Red Bandana Award, given annually since 2013 to a person or organization in the Rhode Island area who embodies the spirit and work of late organizer for peace and justice, Richard Walton. Bill Harley, the Fund’s chair, states, “We’re excited and proud to call for nominations for the Red Bandana Award. We honor Richard and his work by highlighting the work of  the incredible, resilient people in the Rhode Island area who stand up and speak for a just and equitable world. We’re looking for those unsung heroes who stand up and make a difference.” The award will be presented on Sunday, June 5 at the fourth annual Red Bandana Celebration at Nick-A-Nee’s in Providence. To submit a nomination, email RedBandanaAward@gmail.com by April 15.

In New Bedford, The Zeiterion has WGBH Presents: A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn on Friday, March 18. Radio personality Brian O’Donovan hosts a night of Celtic music, dance and storytelling in A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn. This concert follows the format established for the Christmas Celtic Sojourn series of concerts and WGBH’s wildly popular radio hour, A Celtic Sojourn, also hosted by O’Donovan.  This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn will feature traditional instrumentalists, dancers, singers and more than a few surprises. The Celtic Sojourn reaffirms that old adage: Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! Follow the rainbow to Zeiterion.org for more.

Also in New Beige, Vance Gilbert Opens the 2016 Music in the Gallery Concerts on Friday, March 25 at 7:30pm. Gilbert brings his mix of folk, jazz and hilarity to the gallery series at the historic James Arnold Mansion. Vance started out as a jazz singer and then switched to folk. He burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the 1990s. Word got out about this Philadelphia-area born and raised performer, and Shawn Colvin invited Gilbert to be a special guest on her concert tour. Since then, Vance has worked with artists as varied as singers Aretha Franklin, Arlo Guthrie and Anita Baker and comedians Paul Reiser and George Carlin. He continues to refine his unlikely union of humor, virtuosity and the unexpected. For more, stick a stamp on an e-mail to: korolenko8523@charter.net.

The Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston has Cheryl Wheeler on Saturday, April 2. Wheeler is very respected as a songwriter by her peers, which can be seen by how many of them record her songs. Cheryl’s songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Dan Seals, Peter, Paul and Mary, Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Suzy Boggus, Melanie, Bette Midler, Maura O’Connell, Sylvia, Kathy Mattea and Holly Near. If they think she is great, then you owe it to yourself to hear her live. You’ll be glad that you did. Also at the CCA, on March 19 is  a Joni Mitchell Tribute featuring the Debra Mann Quintet, and on April 9, celebrate the music of the ’60s and ’70s with the Dave Tessier All-Stars. For more, Circles and Arrow to CourthouseArts.org

Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland presents multiple Grammy-award winning violinist Mark O’Connor making an extremely rare small venue performance March 19 with his wife Maggie O’Connor performing a show called “American Classics.” On March 26 it will be an evening of Scottish music featuring Ryan McKasson, Eric McDonald, Will Woodson and Jeremiah McLane, and on Monday, March 28, BRT will host a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising from 6 to 9pm. Erin Go Bragh to riverfolk.org for more.

That’s it for now. Go Bernie!!! Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com