Music : BravEncore rocks
Kate Poole Murray is a firebrand. She sings, she acts, she teaches. She is the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School's drama instructor. When her program was facing budget cuts last year, she helped organize students and parents who wanted to help keep the drama program strong into a group called BravEncore. Last Thursday evening, BravEncore sponsored Rock for Research at the regional high school's Performing Arts Center. The concert, which students helped produce, was a benefit for BravEncore and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease Research, in memory of Ms. Murray's mother, Virginia Poole.
Photos by Susan Safford
Ms. Murray asked two talented friends to help out - Chris Hicks, lead guitarist and primary singer in the Marshall Tucker Band, and guest artist, singer songwriter Tom Glynn.
Boston-based songwriter-singer Tom Glynn is not new to Martha's Vineyard. He was in the band Five-O, which played at the old Hot Tin Roof a number of times. One of his songs, "Living Proof," won the "Best Rock Song" by listeners at Our Stage in an online competition among thousands of songs last year, and he has won numerous other song-writing awards.
It quickly became apparent why. He opened the show, singing to the surprisingly small crowd. Beginning with guitar and during his set switching to the piano, he sang moving ballads of love and loss in his wonderfully expressive voice. One of his songs, "Waiting to Be Born," was inspired by a late-night New Age cable program. His songs are rock solid and a perfect fit with his self-accompaniment. He ended his set with a beautiful song, "Never Quite the Same" inspired by his father.
Following a short break, headliner Chris Hicks took the stage. From Macon, Georgia, Mr. Hicks has spent most of his career deeply enmeshed in the tradition of southern rock and the blues, performing with such musical icons as Gregg Allman and Lynyrd Skynyrd. His stylings reflect an understanding of the nuances of the genre. It is no wonder that he has played lead guitar and sung for 14 years with The Marshall Tucker Band, while fronting his own Chris Hicks Band.
This evening he played solo, and while he is no doubt more at home with a hard rocking band behind him, his winning, upbeat stage presence, sense of humor, moving voice and guitar work kept the crowd clapping and in motion. He called on the backup vocal help of his wife, Jenny, and Ms. Murray on several songs. He sang many of his own songs and a couple of Marshall Tucker Band standards. He also moved to the piano and then brought Tom Glynn back on stage on the piano while he played guitar and sang.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening of music.