When not tending to the farming at Beetlebung Farm in Chilmark, it is a safe bet that Jason Nichols might be playing his guitar and singing, and Chris Fischer just might be preparing an incredible dinner of Island-grown foods.
Well, that’s what they were up to Saturday night, April 14, at the Chilmark Community Center. The second Beetlebung Festival of the Arts was a celebration of Island foods and music. The first was in November.
It was obviously spring in Chilmark as the plaid flannel shirts and work boots did battle with the cotton tees and sandals. Susan Johnson’s plein-air paintings filled one wall. The center was comfortably full as the crowd chowed down on a meal of Grey Barn and Farm pork, kale from Beetlebung Farm, and Mermaid Farm yogurt with honey for desert. Todd Christy’s Chilmark Coffee Company coffee was flowing, honing a fine caffeine edge.
“The idea was to have a night of music and entertainment and to raise money for Beetlebung Farm,” Mr. Nichols said, who works at Beetlebung Farm. In addition to his guitar and mellow vocals, Mr. Fischer’s sister and Berklee School of Music student Lydia Fischer sang a moving set of mostly original songs, accompanied by her own guitar.
The headline act was a three-piece band from Cambridge called “You Won’t.” They are a band worth making note of. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Josh Arnoudse, a friend of Mr. Nichols from their days at Hampshire College, sang his own songs with a distinctive tenor voice. He had a captivating stage presence.
At times sounding like a mix of The Everly Brothers, Jackson Browne, and Nirvana or like Bob Dylan with The Band and The Who or, maybe, they just sound like You Won’t — a fiercely talented group.
Borrowing from just about every imaginable musical genre, they turn out intelligent lyrics, original arrangements, unique instrumentation, and some sweet melodies and harmonies. In spite of volume and mixing issues, they were a joy to listen to. Drummer Raky Sastri sang, played harmonica, a keyboard, and drums, often at the same time. He is also an accomplished saw player, playing it like a Theremin. Bass player Tony Leva did extra duty on the melodica and trumpet. They said they plan to return to the Vineyard and I hope they do, soon.