Monday, October 31, 2005
As you may know from reading this blog, from time to time I chronicle public art within driving distance of the Narrows. This kinda falls into that category, although I couldn't find any permanent public art.
Above is a photo of a sign outside a small storefront utilized by an active living painter. Your humble blogger wandered in and viewed his work, which looked pretty good. Unfortunately, he didn't have any business cards around and he was busy so I never got his name. He's on the main steet in Warren. You can't miss him.
Below is a photo of a guy playing in the "Off Center Coffee House" in downtown Warren. I did get his name: James Power. He's a talented oil painter when he's not strumming the guitar wearing what I think we can call a kilt. Cool!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Pendragon did a wonderful show at the Narrows Saturday night. They were "Celtic before Celtic was cool," but actually have more variety than that implies, in large part because of blues cat Ken Lyon, who also proclaimed the non-bluesy "A White Shade of Pale" as part of the English folk canon. The tune is included in Pendragon's new CD "Artistic License," which also features "The Ann & Hope Waltz," written by member Mary Lee Partington and "Dark Horse," written by member Bob Drouin and dedicated to the late George Harrison, a frequent visitor to Providence to see his son at Brown.
While Pendragon is based in Little Rhody, audience members came from CT and New Hampshire to take in the show, despite the first "shots out of the cannon" (not canon) of Old Man Winter. Icy rain. Went bye bye by late night.
If you are unfamiliar with their work, go to www.riverfolk.org and follow the Pendragon link.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
--Pendragon, tonight (Saturday) at the Narrows. They were Celtic before Celtic was cool.
--When the snow's all melted, we'll welcome Richie Havens back to the Narrows. May 6. Get your tickets as soon as they become available. This one's not on the official schedule yet.
--Rumour: A Waterloo Sunset over the Taunton River? Watch this space!
--Had Friday night off from the Narrows. Went to the Coffee Depot in Warren looking for potential opening acts at their open mike. First time there. Nice place; in fact downtown Warren is happening. As for the performers: only interesting one was some kid who looked like he could be Joey Ramone's son. A real friggin' mess. Sang about needles and Providence or something. High voice. Hung out with his idiot friends after the performance, one of them wearing his hat backwards over his long hair. For two songs he was interesting (that's all they were allowed). Named Milo something-or-other. Keep trying Milo! Other than Milo, nothing floated my boat. Heard perhaps one of the worst versions of John Denver's "Leavin' On a Jet Plane" by a male/female duo who actually had some appeal. I guess it's all about how one edits oneself. Suggested new rule for open mikes: Only one act over the age of 45 allowed per night. My God, some of these people never give up! Make room for a new generation. The sixties are dead, baby. Also, no Bob Dylan songs unless you can do 'em better than Bob. That's setting the bar pretty low! One more thing, this time to the audience (which was largly made up of open mikers and their friends): Shut up, or at least whisper. Or better yet, go home. You just don't get it, jerk. A little respect for the performers, even if they're lousy. Whatever happened to good-old-fashioned manners? By the way, in case you were wondering: the performers do notice and want you to shut up too. I've played many, many open mikes, so I know.
--More people should cover Darrell Scott songs. If you're a performer, learn some. They will improve your show.
--See you at Pendragon!
Friday, October 28, 2005
Nov. 26 Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Dec. 8 Donna the Buffalo
Jan. 14 Leon Russell
Feb. 18 Fred Eaglesmith
March 10 Tom Rush
March 18 Walter Wolfman Washington
March 31 Richard Shindell
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Congrats to Joe & Lisa for correctly answering that Procol Harum did "A Whiter Shade of Pale," which is covered by Pendragon on their new CD "Artistic License."
In the CD booklet, Pendragon writes why they covered the song: "The debut single from English group Procol Harum was the surprise hit of the summer of '67 while Sgt. Pepper topped the British album chart. Ken (Lyon) has always said he thought that this song should be part of the English folk canon and we think he makes a good case for it here!"
Joe & Lisa have won tickets to Saturday night's Pendragon concert.
Join them! Tickets available by visiting www.ncfta.org.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Pendragon have enlivened the Rhode Island area for a long, long time. Their personnel has shifted a bit, but the mainstays are still around: Bob Drouin, Russell Gusetti, Ken Lyon and Mary Lee Partington. As the crew at the Narrows knows from doing at least one previous show (maybe more; I can't remember), these are some of the nicest, most down-to earth performers we've worked with. About a decade ago, your humble blogger helped produce a CD called "Invincible Summer" which included a track from Pendragon, and that's when I first got to know these folks. Talk about low maintenance! No egos, just caring.
And they now feature a step dancer--Kevin Doyle--and Josh Kane on whistles and flute.
Okay, now let's talk free tickets:
On their new CD they feature a cover of the song "A Whiter Shade of Pale." The first person who emails me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the group that did this song back in 1967--and you must spell their name correctly--wins a pair of tickets to Saturday night's Pendragon show.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
(Sorry, I don't have the exact date, but we'll post that soon.)
Neil gets himself an official Narrows Center for the Arts t-shirt, signifying that he is a man of wealth and taste.
Leon Russell was and is a true Renaissance music man. He easily associated with the hippest and squarest music makers as an instrumental whiz and producer during the 1960s and beyond. Whether it was Joe Cocker or Frank Sinatra, Leon was hip to what was going down. I've read that his work on the "Gary Lewis and the Playboys" records in the 1960s made those poppy confections from Jerry Lewis' son a lot better than one might expect.
And he wrote some wonderful tunes, including "This Masquerade," which was a hit for George Benson, but first appeared on Russell's "Carney" album in 1972, which hit the toppermost of the poppermost.
As I write this, I am looking at my copy of the album--record, not CD--from that period. I'm pretty sure I got it around 1972. It's on A & M.
On it are Leon's monster hit "Tightrope," "This Masquerade," and my favorite "If the Shoe Fits," which goofs on groupies and hangers-on, and has a lyric that goes something like: "We're from Rolling Stone, so it's okay."
Among the musicians on the album was Carl Radle, who played bass for Derek and the Dominos, but was actually a longtime friend of Russell's, even playing in Gary Lewis and the Playboys for a time.
One of the drummers was Jim Keltner, who also worked with Gary Lewis and the Playboys, but also the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and even Fiona Apple!
Monday, October 24, 2005
The Drams, composed of most of the members of the now defunct Slobberbone, unveiled their new sound--less country, more rock--and lineup--new bass player and the addition of keyboards--Sunday night at the Narrows. Their first CD as The Drams should be released early in the new year.
The Drams are based in hot and dusty Texas, but group leader Brent Best commented he was enjoying the cooler weather during the band's Northeast tour. We're glad he is, but we're shivering!
The group, The High Strung, out of Detroit City, opened for The Drams, with a power pop sound reminiscent, at times, of the early Who.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
--was part of the legendary "Wrecking Crew" of studio cats who played on a zillion records out of the Left Coast (Glen Campbell was also a member);
--wrote a song covered by "The Carpenters";
--wrote a song (maybe more; I'm too lazy to check) covered by Joe Cocker and toured with him;
--stole the show at the "Concert for Bangladesh";
--played with Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra (?), the Rolling Stones, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.
--wrote a song that was a big hit for George Benson;
--sings a bit like the Disney character "Goofy" talks;
--confused everyone when he went country.
Who, Who Are Youooooooooo. If you email your guess to email@example.com, we can contact you to give you an official Narrows t-shirt if you're the first one with the correct answer.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Photos for your enjoyment.
Narrows mainstay Louie Leeman opened the show with grace and musicality. Photo down below.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Okay, so this one's a bit egotistical. But California dude Deke Dickerson is a guitar hero to your humble blogger, who attempts a manly strum on Deke's guitar in the photo above. The blue wristband, by the way, says "Knowledge is Power." Most importantly, it only cost your humble blogger a buck at the Providence Public Library.
Anyway he rocked the Narrows on Thursday night. Some photos for your amusement.
Down below is the opening act, Lonesome Jukebox, out of the southern Boston suburbs. Gee, they didn't talk with a southern accent!
Thursday, October 20, 2005
We guarantee that this will be an entertaining and uplifting experience. Darrell somehow mixes country and folk with a lot of bluesy and jazzy improvisation that never betrays the song.
As he said in the interview we published earlier: songs, songs, songs.
Bring a little money and purchase one of his CDs. Remember, this guy was ASCAP's 2002 Songwriter of the Year, so you pretty much can't go wrong.
See you Friday night?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Left Coast Rockabilly Dude Deke Dickerson makes a triumphant return Thursday night to the Narrows.
Tickets are still available.
Ever wonder where some of our artists go AFTER they play the Narrows?
Wonder no longer.
Here's the Dekester's schedule:
Narrows Center for the Arts
Fall River MA
South Paw (with Big Sandy and Los Straitjackets)
New York NY
Dangerous Pie Shop (with Monsters from the Surf)
St. Petersburg FL
Baton Rouge LA
San Antonio TX
Fortune Valley Hotel and Casino
Central City CO
Fortune Valley Hotel and Casino
Central City CO
Fortune Valley Hotel and Casino
Central City CO
1160 Club at the Ramada Inn
Los Angeles CA
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Don't know exactly which day and time. If anybody knows, please leave a note in the "comments" section. I couldn't find a schedule on the WUMB website.
WUMB, by the way, streams on-line and also can be heard in some areas at 91.9 FM.
Don't forget--Friday night, the guy who wrote hits for the Dixie Chicks and others will be at the Narrows.
Get your tickets ASAP.
By the way, you can hear an interview with Darrell on the "Nashville Nobody Knows." Scroll down the page to July 19 after you click here. Also, your humble blogger posted an interview with him right here on this very blog. Just scroll down to October 12.
Darrell is a musician's musician, and a songwriter's songwriter.
This is a guaranteed great show, even for those unfamiliar with Darrell. If you recognize and appreciate quality, imagination, creativity and good-old-fashioned talent, you'll love this show.
Monday, October 17, 2005
The Associated Press, for example, reported that his piano was "overturned among mud and debris," and his "electric keyboard sat against a wall cover in dried mud, mildew and mold..."
Fats is one of many New Orleans musicians suffering from Hurricane Katrina, which is why the Narrows Center for the Arts is supporting the "New Orleans Hurricane Relief Fund." When you go to our shows, we have a big bottle in which you can put money, or you can click right here.
Although we hope Fats has the resources not to have to tap into this fund, most musicians haven't had the professional success he had--and their income may be derived from club dates at clubs that no longer exist.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
The wild Avett Brothers brought their "cacophonous bluegrass" (my term) to the Narrows on Saturday.
As usual, your humble blogger used his digital camera for soul-revealing candids. Up above is Scott Avett. As you can see, he seems to have a different attitude than one might find at the Grand Ole Opry. But his brother Seth, below, would positively get hung from the rafters with that hat. (Is it me, or does he look like a young Barry Gibb in this shot?)
The "normal" Avett Brother is not even related (as far as we know). His name is Bob Crawford and his photo is down below:
Opening the show was Jimmy Ryan, who has played the Narrows many times. Jimmy wowed the folks with his fingerpickin'--a talent not unexpected since he's often tapped to be a sideguy either on record or on the road by various artists, including (the late) Warren Zevon, Sarah Borges and Catie Curtis.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
Flower power guy Donovan is raising his profile. He's got an art show, a record, and a memoir.
And you can hear an interview with him on NPR by clicking here.
Hey, maybe we'll bring him to the Narrows!
Would you come to a Donovan show? Leave a message and let us know!
Thursday, October 13, 2005
So what's being said about April? Here's a sampling:
Toronto Star: “Playful and flirtatious, whimsical and wry, no longer the studious slave of her instrument, Verch is in peak form, having reached a transcendent level of musicianship where hard-earned technique can be safely abandoned. She even proves…that she has an absolutely captivating voice, as pure and naïve as her fiddle work often is, and tinged with the same kind of faint melancholy.”
Dirty Linen: “Canadian fiddler (and step dancer) April Verch is one of those enviable people who can seemingly play anything with skill and ease.”
Boston Globe: “Among the most promising new fiddlers in roots music today…Verch is never afraid to lace her playing with clever twists of bluegrass, blues, and pop.”
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
On Friday, October 21st, we'll welcome him to the Narrows for the first time as a solo performer. He played the Narrows as a sideguy for Tim O'Brien a few years back.
Darrell is originally out of Kentucky, and cut his teeth as a player in his dad's band. Eventually he ended up in Boston, before locating to Nashville.
We recently emailed him some questions.
Q) You're seen as a songwriter and sideman. Are you seeking to add "solo performer in your own right" to this, or is the tour, the CDs more of a side project from the main gig?
If I am seen as a sideman and songwriter, it is because those who see me as such have not taken notice of the 5 solo albums (one as duo record with Tim O'Brien) that I have put out. Meanwhile, I am working on solo albums 6 and 7 which will be finished before this year is up. And still, I may be seen as a songwriter for others or sideman--go figure.
Q) You spent some years in the Boston area, which is 50 miles north of the Narrows. Were you a student up there? How did living there affect you?
I lived in the Boston area for 9 years. I graduated from Middlesex Community College in Bedford, Mass then graduated from Tufts University in '88. The education of poetry and literature--the arts--as well as being an audience member to great folk and jazz affected me nearly as much as the English degree.
Q) Your dad was a songwriter, is my understanding. What role has he played in your life artistically?
I was given a license to play music. It was an acceptable and encouraged way to make a living, and the exposure to great songs (my dad knew what great songwriting was) gave me a huge education in songs.
Q) When people come to see you at the Narrows, what kind of show might they expect? Upbeat; more of a ballad show. Country, folk?
All of the above--songs songs songs--I usually do not have a set list--I go by how I feel at the time and how it feels in the audience--I make it up as I go--extended improvised guitar solos/ bass solos--musical interludes between songs, sometimes running 2, 3 or 4 songs morphed together--mostly my own songs sometimes a cover of other's great songs--each night is pretty different--it is all singer/songwriter stuff with a lot of improvisation
Q) What artists are you listening to and recommending to others?
Loudon Wainright's new one (any of them for that matter)--Rodney Crowell's "Fate's Right Hand" is great--I have not heard his new one yet--Kevin Gilbert's "Thud"--I go through periods of not hearing much of other people's stuff--I am in one of those periods now
Q) Exactly how many instruments do you play?
On the road I may play 2 or 3 --I fool around on a lot at home or in the studio--no horns and not really any bowed instruments
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Adrienne Young, who's damn near the top of the chart, is playing the Narrows in early 2006.
To view the chart, please click here.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Michael battled cancer before this recent bout, recovering enough to handle a heavy touring schedule. But right now he's too weak to do much; still there's very much hope.
So much so that he's booked to play at the South Florida Folk Fest in January and a member concert on WFMT, Chicago in March. (His management says there are places who won't book him because they're afraid he'll be too ill to perform--and that Michael and his management understand this, and bear no ill will.)
Various fundraisers are planned to help Mike and his wife cover costs not paid by insurance (and there are a lot), including one on December 17th at the Narrows, featuring Mary Ann Rossoni, JP Jones, Art Tebbetts, Daniel Jacobs, Johnny Botelho and Manny Perry.
For ticket info, please email BakerMom2000@aol.com.
Michael, you're in our thoughts and prayers.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Cheryl Wheeler did, as expected, her compelling and just overall fun show Saturday night, at a humid-for-October Narrows. Cheryl fans will recognize her sideguy, Kenny White, who just knocked everybody over with his musicianship.
It was so humid--and Kenny works so hard--that he changed from the white shirt he wore during his opening set.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Came across this rather bizarre display on a small hill up from the main roadway. The work was done by Louise Bourgeois, a French/American sculptress born in 1911. PBS has done a special on her and you can see some clips by clicking here.
This work is called "Eyes" and was created in 2001. If I may editorialize: it gives me the creeps.
Friday, October 07, 2005
It seems that Densmore won't give permission for Doors music to be used in TV commercials. Have you seen the car ad with the Led Zepplin song in it? The tune originally was supposed to be "Break On Through" by the Doors.
Except Densmore, who has a vote on how the music of the LA legends will be used, says nope. He's driving his former bandmates absolutely nuts, because they want the green.
Read on by clicking here.
And he looks forward to performing with the other Doors--the day Jim shows up.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Plenty, in fact too damn many tickets available for the Hothouse Flowers' Liam O'Maonlai in concert at the Narrows Friday night. That's him up above in a photo taken by a fan and posted on the Hothouse Flowers' website.
Uh oh, are we suffering the curse of the Red Sox, where people stay home to watch the game instead of getting off their chairs so they can sit in one of ours?
Do we have our very own "Curse of the Bambino"!?
Not good for business, especially for a non-profit that's barely getting by, even though we don't pay staff.
Or maybe people are forgetting who the Hothouse Flowers are. So we turn to Wikipedia to provide the story. Please click here, then please click here to buy your tickets.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I went to Jamestown--couldn't find public art.
I went to Wickford--couldn't find public art.
I went to Narragansett--aaah, beautiful Narragansett has public art. Sculpture by Anne Mimi Sammis, who lives in Narragansett and Mexico. It's right there on the waterfront, along with the surfers, girls in bikinis and the men who love them, dog-walking people, people-walking people trying to avoid their second heart attack, and obnoxious bloggers seeking to document what everybody down there knows anyway.
This is called "Dance of Peace":
There also is a smaller version of the same piece nearby. (See the original in the background; your blogger understands visual dynamics--ha!)
Okay, so who is the artist?
You can see here on television and find out. She just started a show on Rhode Island PBS (Channel 36) called "Mimi's Art Studio."
By the way, a few years back, the artist did a piece for Queen Elizabeth II (the person, not the boat). I grabbed this photo off Mimi's website, which I encourage you to visit by clicking here.
Maybe a show at the Narrows is in the future? Hmm. Let's work on that.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Go to www.ncfta.org to find more info and to order tickets.
In other news...in the first few months of 2006, the Narrows will be presenting some monster shows (some not yet listed) including sexy blues goddess Rory Block (I love your boots Rory!), Tom Rush and, for the first time, Richard Shindell.
Monday, October 03, 2005
The importance is doing. Let others contemplate your actions. As Jack Kerouac wrote in his novel "On The Road":
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to
Frankly, such enthusiasm gives me a stomach ache, so let's not get too carried away with action either. And remember, roman candles are illegal without a permit.
Since I try to write about art--not religion--this next quote is out of place, but I think it is worthy of a bit of shallow contemplation. Please don't go beyond two minutes on this.
The quote is from St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians. By the way, I don't know his last name, so "St. Paul" will suffice. But to paraphrase a line from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail": Who made him a saint? I didn't vote for him.
Still, his letter to the Philippians, sent when postage was only 2 cents, is kinda artsy:
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Session Americana, a changing group of highly talented musicians based in the Boston area, played the Narrows Saturday night. Up above, during the break WUMB Radio announcer Barnes Newberry chats with Session Americana's Sean Staples.
That's Sean up above playing guitar. Behind him is Dinty Child on keys, Billy Beard on drums, Kimon Kirk on bass, Jim Fitting on harmonica, and next to him Ry Cavanaugh. I climbed up on a ladder to take this shot, risking life and limb for something different. Hey, I'm a flippin' artist!
Saturday, October 01, 2005
When you visit the Narrows in the months ahead, you will likely see a big jar in which you can make donations to the Preservation Hall fund to help New Orleans musicians make it through these very trying times due to the hurricane.
For more information, please click here.
Speaking of the hurricane, our warm thoughts and prayers go out to Susan Cowsill, whose brother Barry--in New Orleans during the hurricane--is missing. More info is available here.
Their hits included "Hair," "Indian Lake," and "The Rain, The Park and Other Things."
The Cowsills were originally from Newport, Rhode Island, just a hop, skip and jump from the Narrows.