Joel Harrison
Joel Harrison brings his unique guitar style to the Island for several July shows.

Two favorites, two concerts

By Julian Wise - June 29, 2006

Guitarist Joel Harrison has become a familiar fixture among Island audiences for his potent fusion of jazz, blues, and folk/country Americana. On July 1 at Offshore Ale he will perform with jazz saxophone ace Stan Strickland and Boston-based drummer Eric Doob. In addition to composing film scores for HBO and A&E, Mr. Harrison has followed up his award-winning album "Free Country" (selected as one of the top 50 CDs by Jazz Times magazine) with "So Long 2nd Street" in 2004 and the recent "Harrison on Harrison," a jazz tribute to former Beatles guitarist George Harrison. The July 1st performance will kick off a series of performances at The Ritz (July 7,8 and 27), Featherstone ((July 17), and a final show at Offshore (July 29).

Tom Rush: Photo by Ralph Stewart
Tom Rush, folk legend, great storyteller, and all-around nice guy, relaxes outside the studios of WMVY in Vineyard Haven during a 2003 visit to the Island. Photo by Ralph Stewart

Folk legend Tom Rush will perform at the Old Whaling Church with special guest Kate Taylor on July 3. Mr. Rush continues to refine his winning blend of blues, ballads, and rib-tickling storytelling. His impact on the folk scene since the 1960s has been monumental, with James Taylor citing Mr. Rush as an early hero and influence. His early recordings of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor helped bring these artists to prominence, and his popular Club 47 concerts helped launch the careers of Nanci Griffith and Shawn Colvin. Since signing with Elektra records in 1965 and recording the epochal "The Circle Game," Mr. Rush has continued to set the standard for the folk genre. A 2003 live CD, "Trolling For Owls," captured the essence of his live performances and helped cement his position in the firmament of folk artists. Mr. Rush recently released a 100-minute DVD titled "How I Play (Some Of) My Favorite Songs," in which he shares his slide playing tricks and flat-picking techniques. For longtime fans of Mr. Rush and newer aficionados, the Old Whaling Church performance will be an opportunity to savor the rich gifts of this unique artist.

Joel Harrison, July 1, Offshore Ale, Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs.
Tom Rush and special guest Kate Taylor, Monday, July 3, 8 pm, Old Whaling Church, Main Street, Edgartown.

Julian Wise is a frequent contributor to The Times, specializing in music, film, and the performing arts.