Willy Mason
Willy Mason. Photo by Ralph Stewart

New, local CD benefits WVVY

By Julian Wise - September 6, 2007

For several years, a dedicated core of volunteers has strived to get the independent radio station, WVVY, out of the planning stage and on the air. The station plans to broadcast on 93.7 FM, provided the station can raise enough money to purchase critical equipment. "Radio Waves-Local Music from Martha's Vineyard" is the new CD produced by WVVY that provides a 20-track sampling of the type of music that may be played on the new station once it begins broadcasting. Proceeds from the sale of the disc go towards helping the station reach its fund-raising goals.

Many of the artists on the disc are relative newcomers to the local music scene. The Billionaires craft a low-fi new-wave sound with dulcet harmonies and synthesizer trills on "The Summer Song," hearkening back to the underrated 90's group "The Rentals." The defunct "Diarrhea Roses" whip up a surprisingly funky groove on "Mommy Salami" as singer Gretchen Baer sounds like a cross between Kate Pierson of the B-52s and Edith Massey in Jon Waters' "Pink Flamingos." Live tracks from Kahoots ("The Coroner Blinks Twice") and Willy Mason ("Pickup Truck") were captured at Island shows while violist/singer Nina Violet unveils "The Dog Tomorrow," a studio track that mixes vocals, acoustic guitar, and violin to create the sound and feel of Americana roots music. The instrumental track "Lament for Baile Gall" by Gregg Harcourt and Mary Wolverton is an original composition on guitar and violin for the Vineyard Playhouse's production for "The Blowin' of Baile Gall," while Squash Meadow's live track "Heard it All Before," recorded at the defunct Little Pete's, is a lively piece of instrumental bluegrass. Kim Hilliard does a credible stab at Chrissy Hynde-style femme-rock with Sugarbowl's "Lousy Lover" while Susie's "I Hate Mondays" is a droll chronicle of high school malaise over crashing cymbals and fuzzed out guitars. Tracks by veteran artists Joe Keenan, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, and Maynard Silva appear alongside the novice artists.

Squash Meadow
Squash Meadow. Photo courtesy of Squash Meadow

Perhaps the disc's most noteworthy feature is its emphasis on fresh, homegrown talent over familiar names. The energy and innovation on the disc suggest that a local independent radio station could be a fountain of new music and ideas for decades to come.

"Radio Waves-Local Music from Martha's Vineyard" CD is available at: Island Entertainment, Aboveground Records, Che's Lounge, Scottish Bakehouse, Island CD, Wind's Up, Island Music, Third World Trading, Alley's General Store, The Boneyard, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore or at or via email to For more information call Maria Danielson at 508-560-1186.

Julian Wise is a contributing writer to The Times.