Musicians, performers, family, and friends gather on Main Street in Vineyard Haven every other Tuesday for Island Music‘s open mic night. Performers are encouraged to share two songs with a general audience of peers at Martha’s Vineyard’s only music store. The formula is always something very special, considering the Island’s amazing community of supportive and seasoned artists and musicians.
Last week a dozen of the Island’s finest songsters chose a diverse selection of music ranging from polished and heartfelt original material to opera, classic rock, folk, country (both kinds), pop, and even a song in French. At one point in the evening, Rich Giaimo performed a guitar rendition of an extremely popular video game theme that had many in the crowd looking for coins and blocks to break.
Store employee Lucy Mayhew handled stage management, sound engineering, backup vocals, kazoo, rhythm section, and also shared an exquisite guitar and vocal performance. Tre Carter, who recently relocated to the Vineyard from New Orleans, tore the roof off with his rendition of “She Talks to Angels.” At one point, Corinne de Langavant directed the nimble fingers of Matt Stamas to help lead the entire crowd in a round of songs that happened to line up with each other. By the time she was done, all of the voices were singing four different songs at once, and it sounded amazing.
Island Music is well-suited for an open mic night, especially if you need a clip-on tuner or quick capo during a performance. All are welcome to perform any style of music, but management asks that the material is family-friendly. Having a place for musicians to gather and share their art with one another is crucial, and performing gives musicians a very important feedback loop.
Island Music manager Becky Williams says open mic night will continue every other Tuesday as long as the positive response continues. Recent successful events have included Mike Kerr and Brook Zern’s workshops for lead and flamenco guitar technique respectively, and more artist showcase workshops are planned for the Island’s musical instrument store. Check out Island Music’s Facebook page for updates on store events, and consider performing or just stopping by.