Roots Report: Strictly Commercial

Okee dokee folks… I don’t go to the movies very often, though I do love to watch films. I just prefer to view them at home with Netflix or a DVD on my 13-inch TV. I can control the experience and be comfortable in my surroundings, and the best thing is NO COMMERCIALS! Occasionally, when I am out with my girlfriend, we decide to take in a flick, and this is where my rant kicks in. Now I remember when you would see quick photo slide-type adverts. Even though I didn’t like those, it was subtle and not offensive to my senses. Somewhere along the line they introduced full-blown, surround sound, action-packed commercials. Previews for new movies are fine, but when you pay $10 – 15 to see a movie, you don’t need to be bombarded by advertisements. Unfortunately this advertisement assault isn’t limited to the theater; it has spread to gas pumps, the internet, phones, billboards and pretty much any place that has a screen. Advertisement is out of control. My philosophy is that the more I see ads from businesses the LESS likely I am to patronize their company. I don’t mind print advertising, and I am not saying that just because it powers this paper. It is good to know about new things, and print advertising does that without annoyance. You can choose to look at the ad or completely avoid it. If you try to read articles on the internet (on sites other than Motif) ads pop up all over like that critter in a whack-a-mole game. How much crap do businesses need to sell us? When is enough enough? They are never happy with their slice of the pie. They want the whole pie and the rest of the bakery, too. Grrrrr… Ok, John, take a deep breath. BREATHE.

Anyway, in all honesty if I go out, I prefer to give my limited funds to a live person performing in a local venue, and I do it when I can. And, guess what? No commercials! Read on, if you choose to, for some suggestions to satiate your entertainment appetite. No pressure.

I am VERY excited about this show: Donovan at the Garde Arts Center in New London on June 3. For those of you who may not remember or may be too young to remember, Donovan (Leicht) is a Scottish singer-songwriter and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame who rose to fame in the ’60s and turned out hits such as “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Atlantis,” “Season of the Witch” and his signature song, “Mellow Yellow.” Donovan, who turned 71 last week (and who I share a birthday with), will be out in support of the 50th anniversary of his Sunshine Superman Tour. We are very fortunate to have a stop on this tour so close to Rhode Island as there are not many US dates of this show. It has been about 40 years since I have seen him live. You may have been lucky enough to catch his opening set for Yes at the Civic Center back in the ’70s or the show he did at Roger Williams Park Temple to Music a few years later. His music is a blend of folk, rock, pop and psychedelia that has endured for decades and inspired countless songwriters, including myself. Also at the Garde on May 26 is Robert Cray with John & Corina opening, and David Crosby on the 29th. For more, “electrical banana” to


At the Courthouse Center for the Arts in Kingston on Saturday, May 27, the multi award-winning bluesman John Hammond will mesmerize you with his guitar and harmonica. Hammond is one of the world’s premier acoustic blues artists, a Grammy winner and Blues Hall Of Fame inductee with over 33 albums made during his 50-year career. He has performed or recorded with Jimi Hendrix (discovered while playing in John’s band), Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, JJ Cale, Tom Waits, The Band, John Lee Hooker, Dr. John and many more. He remains the only person who has ever had both Jimmy Hendrix and Eric Clapton in a band at the same time. A tireless performer, he tours the world annually. Hammond’s sound is complete and soulful with just his voice, guitar and harmonica. For more, “Hoochie Coochie’ to

The Pump House in Peacedale is (almost) literally pumping out shows one after another. On Saturday, May 20, South East Connecticut-based performing artist Krista Baroni will bring her soulful singing, folk guitar and intelligent lyrics to Pump House Music Works for an intimate night of music. A folk-oriented singer-songwriter, Krista takes her inspiration from ’60s and ’70s favorites like Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, and Cat Stevens and contemporary folk artists like Josh Ritter and Patti Griffin. She has released two full-length albums, Oh My Magpie and her sophomore release, The Alabaster Girl, recorded in the style of the Laurel Canyon songwriters of the ’70s. Opening the evening will be Rhode Island native and fellow singer-songwriter, John Farraone. For more, make “Amends’ to

David Tessier’s Band of All-Star Stars presents the debut of their first original piece: Dreams in Hyperspace — a cosmic tale of loss, love, madness and redemption at Dusk in Providence on Friday, May 19 at 10pm. An eight-song, impressionistic space opera, Dreams In Hyperspace tells the story of Lt. Col. Richard, a cosmo-pilot who has spent 4,000 years in hyper sleep searching for his love, Mary, lost in deep space. He’s awakened when his radar finally pings to her tracking signal. He makes the final jump of his voyage and his dreams are filled with fears and horrors, memories and joys. After 4,000 years, could she still be waiting? The band features Jon Patrick Brennan, Paul Sousa, Justin Grankewicz, Stephen Sylvia and Tessier. For more,warp over to

Finally here are a bunch to further complicate your entertainment choices! Bluesman David Jacobs-Strain will be in concert on May 19 at 7:30pm at the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford. FrankieFest will happen on Sunday, May 21 at Firehouse 13 to help support the poor little puppy Frankie who has a broken leg. Scheduled are Lucky United, M.O.T.O., The Worried, Snow Day, and The Essays. Frankie belongs to Jennifer Yakes, the drummer of Lucky United. To help out, go to Athan Phynix, Allison Giuliano, Jay Nova, and others will be at the Mediator on Sunday, May 21 at 7pm. Rhode Island singer-songwriters Tracie Potochnik and Steve Allain will be at The Grange in Providence on Wednesday, May 24. Lift your spirits with songs of peace, love and resistance with Joyce Katzberg at Breathing Time Yoga at 541 Pawtucket Ave in Pawtucket on Saturday, May 27 at 5pm. Salvation Music Series No.10 features An Evening with Peter Holsapple on Monday, May 29 at 7pm at the Salvation Cafe in Newport.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.