Rhythm & Roots returns to Ninigret starting Friday

Rhythm & Roots returns to Ninigret starting Friday

CHARLESTOWN — Westerly native and blues master Johnny Nicholas comes home this weekend to play at what many fans consider to be the nation’s premier roots-music festivals — Rhythm & Roots.

Nicholas, who performed with Duke Robillard in the 1960s, is well known for his contributions with the Grammy award-winning western-swing group Asleep at the Wheel, which will also make an appearance. 

On Sunday, Taj Mahal Trio, featuring the two-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, film composer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who was feted with the Lifetime Achievement for Performance Award, will close out the evening — and the festival — at 9:30 p.m.

The 21st annual Rhythm & Roots Festival begins Friday in Charlestown’s Ninigret Park, which means, for music fans, three days full of swing, blues, rockabilly, Tex-Mex and plenty of country and rock. Make sure to check the festival website for updates and changes.

A sampling of the artists scheduled to play is below.

On Friday at 1 p.m., the Boston-based band Session Americana kicks off the fun on the Rhythm Stage. Simultaneously, 17-year-old Quentin Callewaert, who’s been creating a major buzz as one of the most gifted guitarists around, will open the festival on the Roots Stage (sponsored by the United Theater & Knickerbocker Music Center). Meanwhile, the dance stage opens with Zydeco Hogs and Zydeco dance lessons. The family stage, sponsored by the Tomaquag Museum, opens with Rhode Island storyteller Len Cabral.

On Saturday, Cedryl Ballou will open the day on the Rhythm Stage, followed by the Zydeco Trendsetters, Say Darling, Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Bonerama, Dustbowl Revival, Asleep At The Wheel, and ending with Leftover Salmon. 

On the Roots stage Saturday, Veronica Lewis will bring her joyful sound to the stage beginning at 1 p.m. and Donna the Buffalo will close things out later that night.

On Sunday, the Beehive Queen herself, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez, will join the Sin Sisters on the Roots stage to start the day, which will come to a close with Dustbowl Revival.

For a full schedule, and a list of dos and don’ts, camping info, parking info and ticket info, visit rhythmandroots.com.

Nancy Burns-Fusaro 


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