In the summer, many venues on the Outer Banks offer live music and chances are really good it’s going to be quality music. The problem is trying to isolate a favorite musician, or two, or three, or four, or five–so here goes–my list of “don’t miss” Outer Banks musicians.
Ruth Wyand, has a powerful folksy voice, plays a killer guitar and is comfortable in just about any form of music from rock to folk to jazz. Laura Martier, a great local jazz singer, will sit in with her from time to time and these two create a sound that rivals any professional musicians anywhere.
Laura’s husband, Dan Martier, is the drummer for the Tim Reynolds Trio (TR3)–that is the same Tim Reynolds who plays guitar for Dave Matthews. Teamed up with Mick Vaughn on bass their sound is hard rock/jazz fusion; they tend to be pretty loud, but if you can handle the volume, it’s worth it.
Since we’re talking about the Martier family, the Hound Dogs Family Band deserves a mention–that’s Josh Martier on drums and his sister, Lulu, sits in from time to time on guitar and vocals. This is a fun, fun band to see–so, if they’re playing, don’t miss them.
The Hound Dogs Family Band is just starting to make a name for themselves, but on the other end of the spectrum is Mojo Collins, who had a national career in the late 1960s and early 70s, moved to the Outer Banks and plays some of the best blues guitar you’ll ever hear. Widely respected with a well-deserved reputation for his artistry, he is a recipient of the NC Arts Council Fellowship in Music for Songwriting–which is a pretty prestigious award.
Since we’re talking about guitarists with experience–this is a good time to mention Joe Mapp playing some of the sweetest jazz licks ever heard on guitar. When they’re not on tour with TR3, Dan Martier and Mick Vaughn sit in with Joe to form Joe Mapp and the Coordinates . . . and it doesn’t get any better than that. Joe shows up pretty regularly at open mic at Art’s Place, although during the summer he’s off playing, so you’ll find him locally during the off season.
Not everything is jazz and rock, though. Jug Tucker is a bluegrass trio with a bit of a twist. Bluegrass music has increasingly been incorporating some jazz chords and progressions and although they stay true to their roots, they’re not afraid to push the envelope just a bit.
Natalie Wolfe is a singer, songwriter with a powerful voice, good guitar work and evocative, thought-provoking lyrics. This is not sit around a drink lounge music, but for an evening with a little more substance to it, finding where she’s playing, it’s worth the effort.
For a fun night, with music that will make you grin and remember how much fun being on vacation really is–check out The Crowd. They are very good musicians, and they have been playing together of a while so their presentation is seamless and smooth and they understand it’s all about having fun.
Probably the best local resource for entertainment news is OBX Entertainment. The site probably has the most complete and up to date listings around.