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As much as anyone, touring musicians have been hit especially hard by COVID-19. The spring quarantine and subsequent regulations regarding crowd size have made it difficult for artists to play live. Slowly, live music has been returning to the region, with venues like Askew in Providence leading the way.

A makeshift stage on the sidewalk of Chestnut Street has become the performance space at the popular downtown hangout, where weekend nights and Sunday brunch have featured live music for the past several weeks. Saturday night, we witnessed a pair of leading artists working their craft like they hadn’t missed a beat.

RI born and bred Charlie Marie is a rising star in country music. That’s right, a Rhode Islander singing Nashville with the best of them. Accompanied by the talented Brian McKinnon on guitar, the singer-songwriter worked through a set of originals and covers, including sweet versions of a few that you might not expect – Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” and Three Dog Night’s “I’ve Never Been to Spain.”

She also showed off her traditional country chops on covers like “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and her original “Rhinestones” where she calls out a poser…

“Just because you wear a Stetson
And you say you were made in Texas
Doesn’t mean you’re country and western.”

Will Dailey demonstrated that rock and roll is alive and well, just laying a little low for a while. His trio performed a fine set of tune including originals “Eliza,” and “Good to Me” along with covers “I Will Die 4 U” by Price and a scorching version of Neil Young’s “Don’t Be Denied.” He’s a monster on guitar, covering different styles throughout his set. Be sure to check him out when you get the chance.

WhatsUpNewp photographer Rick Farrell was there to capture the magic and shares some photos below.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and more. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.