Kahoots performs with Willy Mason on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Kahoots

Local artists on the move

By Julian Wise - April 27, 2006

Call it the "Ready for their Close Up" concert. Kahoots and Willy Mason perform a double bill at Offshore Ale as both acts sit on the cusp of potential stardom. Local fans will have the chance to see these acts before both embark on tours that will widen their appeal beyond the watery confines of Martha's Vineyard.

After more than a decade of releasing their own records, Kahoots has signed with I and Ear Records, an upstart label out of New York founded my musician Robbie Lee. The label, also home to indie acts Mazarin and Mike Wexler, will provide national distribution to the band's latest album "14 Ghosts." The band will celebrate a record release party at The Knitting Factory in New York City on May 5 before launching a brief east coast tour at the end of the month. The band recorded "14 Ghosts" at God City Studios in Boston with guest artists Robbie Lee, Chris Brokaw, and Kurt Ballou.

Willy Mason, an Island favorite. Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Offshore show will be Willy Mason's final performance before heading to Europe to open for Radiohead. The band extended a personal invitation to Mr. Mason to open a series of club dates. Earlier this year Mr. Mason toured with KT Turnstall and Beth Orton. This summer Mr. Mason will record a sequel to his debut album "Where the Humans Eat" on Astralwerks.

In response to the buzz surrounding these two acts, Fader Magazine is sending a journalist to cover the Offshore performance for a two-page feature article about the burgeoning independent music scene on Martha's Vineyard.

Jimmy Ryan appears at Offshore Ale on Friday. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Ryan

Boston-based musician Jimmy Ryan is swiftly becoming a legend among fans of the alt/country and Americana genres. His virtuosity on the mandolin and the ease with which he blends traditional, world, and rock music together has made him a hot commodity. His current album "Gospel Shirt" is produced by Grammy award winner Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow) and Billy Conway (Morphine, Twinemen) and features musical guests Duke Levine, Billy Beard, and Andrew Mazzone. Mr. Ryan began his musical career in the punk outfit Decentz before moving onto the bluegrass band Pine Island and the bluegrass-tinged rock outfit Blood Oranges in the 1980s. He will be joined at Offshore Ale by his musical partner Mark Spencer. The opening act will feature singer/songwriter Erich Luening accompanied by Job Yacubian and Buck Shank. Mr. Luening will debut new material from his forthcoming EP.

Kahoots and Willy Mason "14 Ghosts" CD release show, Saturday, April 29, 9 pm, Offshore Ale, Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs. Tickets $5 for all ages.

Jimmy Ryan and Job Yacubian Friday, April 28, 9 pm, Offshore Ale, Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs.