Oregon-based Just People with Vineyard connection releases new CD

Ian Ridgeway, guitarist and singer with Just People, is also the captain of the schooner Alabama. — Photo by Kyer Wiltshire

If you frequent Vineyard Haven Harbor, you may know Ian Ridgeway, captain of the schooner Alabama. His band, Just People, based in Portland, Ore., has recently released a new CD called “LIGHT/WEIGHT”

Anything but light-weight, the polished CD is a collection of smooth rock and roll, almost light, with weighty, sometimes Allan Ginsburg-like lyrics. It is a freight train of charged emotional and philosophical force riding on the smooth tracks of mellow rock and roll. The lyrics are a broadside about love and meaning and devotion and the redemptive power of a relationship that can “break down the moon with the heat of our light.”

Mr. Ridgeway plays guitar and sings with the band, which promotes itself as a band on an idealistic mission to spread love and build community. Mr. Ridgeway lived on the Vineyard and attended the Tisbury School for the fourth and fifth grades. It was during a school trip on the topsail schooner Shenandoah that he developed his love for sailing. He attended high school in Santa Barbara, Calif., but has spent most every summer since he was 12 working on the Shenandoah or her sister ship, the Alabama. He has captained the Alabama for the last five summers.

The band formed in Eugene, Ore., where Mr. Ridgeway attended the University of Oregon before moving to Portland. In a recent telephone interview, he mentioned that the group had put together three previous albums but this is their first professional quality production. He is now working full time on band business, playing, networking, and promoting the new album.

In their promotional material, the band claims they’re not trying to take over the world, but they do make a point of incorporating positive messages into the music so it can be a vehicle for social and personal transformation.

“I am still heavily entrenched in the optimism that spurred our previous three albums, but there has been an evolution of the way that we are approaching music,” front man Scott Gilmore wrote in an email.

“What both our band, and I feel our society, must move toward is sustainable idealism,” he wrote. “I am no longer at war with the idea of monetary gain, for it is not the wealth that you possess but more what you do with that wealth to give back to your community.”

Just People’s new CD is more polished and commercial than earlier recordings. The band decided that making radio-friendly music was a good way to spread its message.

“The main concept of this is not to live solely on the faith that everything will work out with a positive attitude and a generous demeanor, but to combine this faith with hard work and dedication directed toward your goals,” Mr. Gilmore wrote.

Mr. Ridgeway said he hopes to bring the band to the Vineyard this coming summer.

For more information about Just People, or to hear their music or buy the CD, visit justpeoplemusic.com.