Got live if you want it

By BOB GULLA  |  September 10, 2008
shelbylynneinside.jpg
FALL RIVER-BOUND: Shelby Lynne will be at
the Narrows on November 13.
Blackstone River Theatre
Our fedoras are off to ye, BRT (401.725.9272, riverfolk.org). The fully renovated and beautiful sounding venue has done an amazing job for eight years. Despite the recent economic downturn, the hall had its most successful five-month stint yet. And looking at their near-term agenda, there’s a lot to like. PENDRAGON, the venue’s “house band,” celebrates its 25th anniversary and the release of a new CD, Still Standing, on September 20. On October 24 and 25, the seminal ’60s folk act, the original HIGHWAYMEN, makes a visit, and on November 16, the young lions of Irish traditional music, BUA, return for a highly anticipated appearance.

Newport Blues Café
Reliably, Newport makes a good deal of noise, and not just from the traffic backed up on the boulevard. The City-by-the-Sea is a solid musical destination, anchored by the high-profile Newport Blues Café (401.841.5510, newportblues.com) on Thames Street. Lately, tribute bands have crowded the Café’s docket, but when they schedule an original artist, it’s usually a good one. New Orleans party beast COWBOY MOUTH appears on September 19. Two tickets to EDDIE MONEY might not get you to paradise, but it will get you and a  friend into the Café on September 25. And JOHN PIZZARELLI alights on December 4. Save that date for some tasty licks and tuneful croonin’.

Chan’s
I’ve been covering this beat for a long time, and one thing never ceases to amaze me: John Chan’s (401.765.1900 or chanseggrollsandjazz.com) allegiance to booking live jazz, blues, and R&B every weekend (and the occasional weekday). Plus he has a taste for quality; the acts are consistently stellar and worth the trip to Woonsocket. This September 19, buxom blues babe CANDYE KANE visits, as does G.E. SMITH the very next night.

Common Fence Music
Quietly, Common Fence Music (401.683.5085, commonfencemusic.org/) does its thing, bringing class act after class act to Portsmouth. On September 20, RED MOLLY kicks off CFM’s 16th season, which also includes a rare appearance by blues guitar legend DAVID HONEYBOY EDWARDS on November 8.

Peeptoad Coffeehouse
Peeptoad (401.647.3105, fosteringarts.org/peep.htm) celebrates its 10-year anniversary as a viable coffeehouse in the basement of the North Foster Baptist Church. It certainly provides the folks in western Rhode Island a place to hear great and sweet roots musics. On October 3, regional favorites AZTEC TWO-STEP, known to friends as Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman, return after a three-year absence — not all that long considering they’ve been touring for nearly four decades.

AS220
Comin’ at ya with the most eclectic mix of talent in the city — a mantle it has worn for more than a quarter-century — is AS220 (401.831.9327, as220.org). In fact, that’s the venue’s MO, and it excels at doing so, offering a forum for all kinds of expression: spoken, read, sung, and visual. A quick peek at its calendar gives you an indication of what to expect. I like the possibilities on September 28, with THE VIENNAGRAM and VERMILLION LIES, a bill which promises to be as quirky as the venue itself.

Narrows Center For The Arts
If you’re ever looking for an excuse to get to Fall River, plan it for a weekend night. Grab some good Portuguese grub and then head to the Narrows (508.324.1926, ncfta.org), which boasts the best Americana-and-more lineup in the area. Their calendar is eye-popping, with appearances on the slate by SHELBY LYNNE (November 13), IRIS DEMENT (November 15), KELLY JOE PHELPS (November 22), and wicked hot roots act CROOKED STILL (November 28). 
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