Singer John Cruz returns to the Capawock

John Cruz plays the Capawock on Saturday, Jan. 11. — File Photo by Susan Safford

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Cruz returns to Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, Jan. 11, for his annual middle of winter show at the Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven.

Fresh from a December tour of Australia and New Zealand with Jack Johnson and Paula Fuga, Mr. Cruz, a native Hawaiian with strong New England and Vineyard ties, brings his award-winning music to his home-away-from-home.

Joining him on guitar and vocals will be dear friend and musical warrior Mark Herschler. Island singer-songwriters Alex Karalekas and Joe Keenan will open the show with their folk-based tunes.

The Island is Mr. Cruz’s only planned performance while in the continental states. He and Mr. Herschler are here to record new records, both individually and together. They have written and performed together for more than 15 years. “He records some of my songs I record some of his and we record music we have written together,” he said. They have a stockpile of songs they have written over the last few years that they want to record.

“I always like to do a winter show on the Vineyard,” Mr. Cruz said. “Whenever I play in the summer the Islanders are so busy and it is so expensive to get there. I like to come and play for the Islanders.”

They are recording at studios in western Massachusetts and in Boston. Mr. Cruz will head to Nashville for solo sessions after the Vineyard show.

Mr. Cruz said his friendships with Mr. Keenan and Mr. Karalekas have been long and fruitful. He played in a band with Mr. Keenan years ago and recorded songs written by Mr. Keenan. “I am recording two of his songs when I go to Nashville. We have been compadres for many years.”

Mr. Cruz’s connections with Mr. Karalekas also go far back. He talked about bonita fishing with Mr. Karalekas and his dad in Menemsha when Alex was about 10. “Alex would fish with us all day. He was a pretty good fisherman at that age.” Fast forward about 15 years. “I was in New York standing on a corner on Bleecker Street in the Village and this kid comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, Johnny Cruz, remember me?’ He has his guitar and takes it out and plays a couple of tunes for me and we reconnected.”

Music with John Cruz and Mark Herschler, Saturday, Jan. 11, 7:30 pm, Capawock Theatre, Vineyard Haven. $15. For more information and tickets, visit