Legendary RI rockers The Schemers are playing a benefit show this weekend at the Parlour on North Main Street in Providence. The Saturday June 24 show is a fundraiser for The Same Thing Project, a weekly songwriting workshop held at The Artists Exchange in Cranston. It’s led by Mark Cutler, guitarist and founding member of the band.
The Same Thing Project
In an interview with What’sUpRhodeIsland, Cutler described the program.
“The Same Thing Project is a free and open to the public songwriting program that I developed over the past few years. I’ve found that no matter who we are or whatever gifts or challenges we are given, most people want to be understood, want to express themselves, want to feel like they matter and feel valued.”
The Project is open to all and includes developmental challenged songwriters, many of whom are served by other programs at The Artists Exchange. Cutler explained:
“I want to help form collaborations between people from all parts of the community. That includes, working folks, retired folks, artists, musicians and yes, folks who have developmental challenges. My mission is to provide a place where anyone can feel free and safe to express his or her ideas, thoughts and feelings. I’m trying to encourage meaningful human interaction and so far, it’s been a glowing success.”
Cutler has worked with similar programs including a documentary on the Ladd School.
“Film director Jim Wolpaw asked me to write music for a documentary about the Ladd School called “Who Belongs Here.” He had a cool idea that I’d collaborate with folks who have developmental challenges. My partners, (and now friends) include Jimmy Isom, Bob Macaux, and Samantha Smalley. The folks at Advocates in Action, Deb Kney and Dianne Ross, played a huge part in this project. Around the same time, Patrick Norton, from the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River asked me to run a music program for people who have intellectual challenges. I created a songwriting program that I continue to do to this day.
“I’m hoping that The Same Thing Project takes off and I can expand it to other locales,” he noted.
Cutler on Songwriting
Cutler, a member of the RI Music Hall of Fame, who has written more than a few great songs in his day, shared his ideas on the craft of songwriting:
“Try to avoid clichés, don’t wait for inspiration to come. I tell people that you have to invite the muse. So set a nice table with cloth napkins and shiny silverware and try to set aside time every day to work on your songs. You might strike lightning on the first day but if you don’t, I almost guarantee that you’ll be in a flow by the third day. You have to keep at it.”
Saturday promises to be a great night of music at one of the area’s best venues. “My brothers in the Schemers have come through and we’ll do an early set that night with Hope Anchor closing the joint. There will also be some special guests,” noted Cutler.
The suggested donation is $15 and the revelry starts around 7PM – further details here.