Ending on a high note

Pathways closes the season with a musical bang.

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The PathwaysARTS season will come to a close this coming weekend on a high note. Back-to-back nights of music will cap off the winter/spring schedule of literary, dance, video, theater, and visual art events presented at the Chilmark Tavern and points around the Island.

On Friday, April 22, a collaborative music experience will entertain the crowd at the tavern. The collective known as the Martha’s Vineyard Medicine Show is made up of musicians and musical groups from the Island who have joined forces to help spread and foster and promote Vineyard talent and bring original music to points beyond our shores. 

According to a press release, “The Martha’s Vineyard Medicine Show is a multi-genre project, composed of Vineyard-based singer songwriters and musicians working collaboratively to create new music to be showcased on tour in venues off-Island. The goal is to bring together musicians who contribute to and cover each other’s songs, creatively cross-pollinate and inspire new work, akin to the spirit of ‘The Last Waltz.’” 

Miguel Samuel, one-half of the duo Wolftrap and co-founder of the project along with Sean McMahon, explains the genesis of the M.V. Medicine Show. “We talked about creating a vehicle for songwriters to team up and learn each other’s songs and go out and present that music coming from the Island. We hope to build and reinforce existing bridges between other music scenes.”  

The press release lists the upcoming performance as “part acoustic; part rock ‘n roll, with an extended rock anthem; it includes experimental Latin rhythms, with a variety of influences each performer brings to the stage.” 

Currently the medicine show includes nine musicians, playing in four groups, as well as solo.

The members expect more musicians will join the caravan as it develops. Referencing popular Island musicians like Willy Mason and Nina Violet, whose careers have extended beyond the Vineyard, guitarist Rich Giaimo says, “I think that the energy of those musicians is still here and still happening. Sean [co-founder Sean McMahon] and I feel that it’s important to continue to pour gasoline on that fire.” 

The Pathways show will mark the first time that the musicians have performed as a collective on-Island, although they recently played a sold-out show at the Burren in Somerville. 

Samuel notes that the musicians all contribute their own styles to the mix, which he describes as “a blend of indie rock, folk, reggaeton and funk,” with a few other surprises thrown in. 

On Saturday, the Convertibles will hit the Chilmark Tavern’s makeshift stage, performing a fun themed set of tunes from movies and TV shows. Giaimo calls the performance a concept show, something the band has never done before but an idea that they hope to expand upon. 

The Convertibles formed four years ago, playing jazz standards. The band is ever evolving musically and the upcoming performance will give the members a chance to stretch their boundaries with the wide range of styles that the themed show will represent. To give an idea of the scope of genres represented, audiences will be treated to familiar songs and soundtracks  from “The Pink Panther,” “The Deerhunter,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” and “Superfly.” TV selections will include music from various Peanuts specials and the theme from “I Dream of Jeannie.” The group will even perform a couple of tunes from popular 1980s video games, which will allow them to dip their toes into metal with the theme from Castlevania.

The Convertibles are made up of Giaimo on guitar, Becky Williams on piano and vocals, Mike Alberice on drums, and Steve Turner on bass. The concept show will allow each member to bring their own influences and interests to the mix. Giaimo notes that Turner suggested the theme from “Superfly,” while Giaimo himself added the “Doctor Who” theme song which will include effects provided by a theremin emulator to reproduce the sounds of the original recording. 

“We’re going in a slightly different direction,” says Giaimo, “giving a little more weight to the electric and the tone color.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Medicine Show, Friday, April 22, 7 to 9 pm. Pathways finale with The Convertibles, Saturday, April 23, 7 to 9 pm. Gather from 6:30 pm for conversation. Both shows are free and open to all ages.

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