Music

Phil daRosa
See Phil daRosa at Outerland this Friday. Photo courtesy of Phil daRosa

daRosa's "Better Days"

By Julian Wise - September 6, 2007

When Phil daRosa performs at Outerland to celebrate the release of "Better Days," his debut solo disc, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Island Affordable Housing Fund and The Plum Hill Pre School. This is in keeping with his reputation as an artist who uses music to both spread a positive message and make a tangible difference in his community.

Mr. daRosa, a native of Martha's Vineyard who has relocated to the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts, has been making inroads in the New England music scene during recent years with his blend of socially conscious lyrics, melodic vocals, and skillful guitar playing. After years of performing in the outfit Bathtub Mary, Mr. daRosa has embarked on a career as a solo artist. He will be performing at Outerland with The Phil daRosa Band, a group that includes Bathtub Mary alumnus Jeremy Milligan (drums) and Jackson Smith (bass) as well as keyboardist Jeff Bujak.

Those who have attended Mr. daRosa's shows are taken by his blend of warmth, sincerity, and graciousness, especially when he has the opportunity to reconnect with his community during hometown performances. The Outerland show is part of a busy week of Island events. On August 25 he opened for the Hillary Clinton fund-raiser at the Tabernacle, an event that also included comedy sketches by Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen and musical performances by Carly Simon, Sally Taylor, and Ben Taylor. On Sept. 13, he will perform a solo set on the rooftop of the Mansion House as part of the Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival.

While the New England press has drawn favorable comparisons between Mr. daRosa's band and landmark artists such as The Dave Matthews Band, Ani DiFranco, Ray Lamontagne, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others, Mr. DaRosa is well on his way to carving out a signature sound that stands out on its own. Music journalist Kendra Thurlow of The Valley Advocate was moved by Mr. daRosa's live performance to write, "It's all about the voice. His guitar skills are excellent and his song-writing ability is above average, but his throaty, soulful voice is what makes solo artist Phil daRosa stand out."

Phil daRosa in concert, Friday, Sept. 7, at Outerland, located on Airport Rd. in Edgartown. Doors open at 8 pm. Tickets: $10. For more information or for tickets, call 508-693-1137, or visit outerlandmv.com.

Julian Wise is a contributing writer to The Times.