No Money Down, Free Fest Jam Nourishes Spirit of Community

Waban Park last Saturday was reminiscent of days when folk music swept the nation and outdoor concerts became legendary events representing a social movement of peace, love and community.

People lay in the grass, kids ran around and blew bubbles, and many local bands played short sets, including Willy Mason, Nina Violet, and the duo Jemima James and Dan Waters.

When Going Viral Meant Passing Posters, Folkies All Flocked to the Moon-Cusser

In the summer of 1963, America was on the brink of being split apart by the tumult of the Viet Nam War, the Civil Rights movement and Bob Dylan going electric.

The folk music revival was in full swing and was making a big impact in the popular culture. Martha’s Vineyard got caught up in the folk music movement that summer when David Lyman, the manager of a coffeehouse in Boston, and Philip Metcalf, a college student with a car and knowledge of the Vineyard, opened a coffeehouse called the Moon-Cusser.

Paying Homage to Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dread Follows Fondly

Tuesday, August 9, was the 16th anniversary of the death of Jerry Garcia, the lead singer of the Grateful Dead. In honor of the late songwriter and musician, the Grateful Dread, a band of Island musicians who play Grateful Dead songs with a reggae flair, and play every Tuesday night at Nectar’s, decided to pay homage not with a moment of silence, but with an extra long guitar solo.

Songs from the Heart of the Vineyard

Few people embody the statement “still waters run deep” more than Island singer-songwriter Willy Mason, equal parts thoughtful and lighthearted as he considers his musical roots and his career.

He is half done with his next album, which should be released around January. In August and September, he will be playing festivals in the United Kingdom.

Gentle Art of Audience Seduction

The audience is the boss. Performance is a seduction. Never give up something for nothing. Livingston Taylor eagerly passes along all this and more to his students at the Berklee College of Music, and now to readers who pick up a copy of the new edition of his book, Stage Performance.

Missed Newport? Never Mind, It’s Jazz on the Vineyard Time

Ken Alleyne doesn’t let rain get between him and jazz. Sitting on his beach chair, even when it meant simultaneously clutching his umbrella, Dr. Alleyne will take in the acts at the world famous Newport Jazz Festival, which goes on rain or shine. But as he and his wife began spending more of the summer on the Vineyard, he started missing the annual outdoor jazz event. So instead of tearing himself away from his home in Harthaven, Dr. Alleyne decided to bring jazz to Martha’s Vineyard.

Sassy Start to African American Theatre Festival at Playhouse

Not to start on too bossy a note, but do go out and catch all five plays and musical productions of the African American Theatre Festival being performed, mostly, at the Vineyard Playhouse and running this week through early September.

The festival began this past Wednesday with Root, a one-woman play written and performed by Vanessa German and directed by Heather Arnet. The play travels from 1980s Los Angeles to the Civil Rights marches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to drug-saturated Juarez, Mexico to a battered and drenched New Orleans.

Thanksgiving Over, Chamber Society Plays On

C lose your eyes and you’ll think you’re at Carnegie Hall. Open your wallet and you’ll find you’re still solvent.

This Saturday, Nov. 26, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Whaling Church, the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society will present an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary music performed by a quartet of world-class musicians, and the tickets will cost only $20 at the door.

Musicale Era Dawns at Daybreak

Jameison Sennott was three years old when he first heard Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called To Say I Love You and picked out the melody on keyboard. Soon after, he climbed on to the bench of his aunt’s piano and played a rendition of Chopsticks. In high school, he found out he had perfect pitch.

Dead Man Rises to Play with the Dread

When David Gans was sent to Jamaica in 1982 by his employer, Record Magazine, he never suspected he would be setting in motion the rest of his career. While in Jamaica, Mr. Gans met photographer Peter Simon, with whom he would later coauthor his first book, Playing in the Band: An Oral and Visual Portrait of The Grateful Dead.