Okee dokee folks… YIKES! I am 60! How did this happen? I still think I’m 30, but my body feels like I’m 90, so I guess that averages out to 60. The first time I met Pete Seeger, he was 60 and he seemed old to me then. I don’t think I am old, but I suppose that I really am. At least I am coming out of the other side of the pandemic alive and healthy unlike 575,000-plus Americans. I am fully vaccinated and now have immunity. Getting the vaccine was a relief. Both shots were painless and neither bothered me in any way — except maybe that pesky third nipple that popped up. KIDDING!!! The same applied for my girlfriend and parents, they were all fine. It is a huge step toward hope — hope that we can start playing gigs again and can get back to whatever normal will be. I was supposed to play a show last week but it was canceled because of COVID restrictions. I was disappointed, but understood. This thing is winding down, but it’s not done with us yet. Jumping the gun is a mistake and precautions still need to be taken. I wish that more people would understand this. I still see people arguing against mask mandates and won’t get vaccinated. I have actually seen a man standing by the side of 295 protesting mask wearing. Seriously? When I went to Japan in the late 1980s I was freaked out when I saw people wearing surgical masks. I didn’t understand why. I found out that it was polite to wear a mask if you were sick. Thirty five years later and this is something that many Americans are CHOOSING to complain about: common sense! Until society comes together completely over this and complies, the pandemic will linger longer than it has to. Venues are beginning to open and host live music. Some of it will be outside, some of it is limited indoors while some still remain shuttered. Safety precautions will hopefully remain in effect for a while. A handful of festivals will take place this year, such as Newport Folk Fest, Rhythm and Roots Fest and The RI Folk Festival (formerly PVD Folk Fest). Details about these events are still being hammered out. As far as the Rhode Island Folk Festival in East Providence, this year will be a lower key event. It takes months and months to raise the money, coordinate the artists and volunteers and do all the other things that go on behind the scenes. It is hard to pull together with less time as well as gamble on the whims of an unpredictable pandemic. I am sure that this will apply to other events that require lots of advanced planning, so take this into consideration if you are going to be cranky about abridged affairs. I know you are tired of hearing this, but wear a mask and get your damn vaccine! Read on…
The Narrows Center for the Arts continues its Friday Night Streaming Series with Heather Maloney on May 14, The Blue Ribbons on the 21st, and Tom Rush on the 28th. George Winston is performing a limited audience show on May 7, but that is only because Winston is strictly piano music and there is no singing, which is currently prohibited indoors in Massachusetts. Alas, this show has already sold out. The Colby James show on June 12 is already sold out as well. For more, navigate to narrowscenter.org for updates on in-person shows as well as the streams.
With the weather warming up, the Millrace Music Series will be getting underway. On May 7th, this eight-week, Friday night series kicks off with The Kickin Brass Band outside on the patio of The Millrace Kitchen, 40 South Main Street, Woonsocket. The free shows begin at 6pm and continue to 8:30pm. The series continues with Kim Trusty on the 14th, Lisa Bello May on the 21st, Dynamite Rhythm on the 28th, High Planes on June 4 and Eastern Medicine Singers on the 11th. Seating is limited and all COVID-19 capacity limits will be enforced. For more, side by each to: Facebook.com/MillraceKitchen
The Greenwich Odeum is presenting a livestream in May with Marielle Kraft and The Naticks to help raise some clams for the Odeum. The Odeum’s calendar also boasts a few limited capacity, in-person shows so it’s best to get your tix before they go. Coming up: Hubby Jenkins from The Carolina Chocolate Drops on May 15, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins on May 21 (it will be streamed on the 22nd as well), The Verve Pipe on May 22, Richard Shindell & Lucy Kaplansky on June 10, and The queen of mall concerts, Tiffany, on June 25. To stay in the know about the O go to greenwichodeum.com
The Evening Sky band’s One Mic, Two Weekends was recorded over two weekends in 2020 by musicians Eric Hastings, Gino Rosati, Chris Brooks and Joe Potenza, with amps and drums strategically placed in the same room around just one stereo ribbon microphone. The eight-song disc features guitar and pedal steel instrumentals with a country twang, bluesy-jazzy-funk feel. Some of it even leans into the Allman Brothers’ “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” territory. You may even hear echoes of the Grateful Dead and Asleep at the Wheel in there as well. Slide over to eveningskyband.com for more, or catch them live at the Pump House on May 14 or The Music Mansion on May 30.
Unfortunately, we lost another member of the Rhode Island music community to COVID last week. Bill McGrath, a musician who was also a staunch supporter of other local musicians and produced showcases for up-and-coming artists, passed away after a month-long battle with COVID. This loss has heavily affected many in the music community as well as his daughter, singer-songwriter Allison Rose.
Anyway, chin up, mask up-over the nose, please. That’s it for now, thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.com