Yesterday's Island Today's Nantucket
Featured
Articles
Volume 40 Issue 7 • June 17-23, 2010
now in our 40th season

Roof, Tiling and The Shingles

by Stephen William Bowler

“The Shingles,” an island band made up of Nantucket year-rounders, are a bit of a mystery.  For starters, they can be arranged as a five piece acoustic string band playing a mix of “folk, bluegrass, blues, pop, rock and country,” or, if the situation calls for it (as it sometimes does), a six piece band, when they pull out their amps & electric instruments to become what band member Dave Provost calls “definitely a rock band.”  If that isn’t confusing enough, there is the dizzyingly busy schedule that each group member maintains, making it simply a wonder that they find time at all to practice, let alone play shows.  And lastly, of course there is the final point of intrigue – just where did the band name come from and what does it mean?

“I think I actually came up with the name,” Dave says. “All I’ll say about that is that ‘there is nothing ironic about the Shingles.’” Mysterious indeed. When band singer Cary Hazlegrove was asked to comment on the formation of the band and the inspiration for the name she simply stated, the “band started about three years ago when I sat in on a gig that Dave, Andy [Bullington], and Michael [Kopko] were doing at the Atheneum,” leaving out any mention of the band name entirely. The band has a video online at http://vimeo.com/9092011, and the opening sequence is simply a close up of  what appears to be a bumper sticker that reads “got shingles?”

Shingles

At least we know they have a sense of humor, and perhaps, with all the tongue-in-cheek relating to their name, its appropriate that the group, comprised of Cary (vocals), Dave (guitar, vocals), Andy (Cary’s husband, on guitar), Michael on the bass guitar, and Chris Westerlund (mandolin) - the band uses Ben Champoux on drums when in the 6 piece configuration - will serve as the house band for this year’s Nantucket Comedy Festival.

The band stays busy – frightfully so.  They write and play lots of their own music. “Dave Provost is a published singer/songwriter,” explains Cary, “and we perform his work and original material that Andy and I have written.”  In addition to original material, the band also works on cover songs, including (time consuming) rearrangements of classic and popular songs such as a “folk/bluegrass version of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated,’” and bluegrass versions of popular “Pink Floyd and Cheap Trick tunes.”  Cary claims the band has “60+ songs” in their repertoire with Dave adding “we try to cycle through material regularly and change up the set so that it doesn’t get stale.”  He also notes that “the setlists very definitely depend on the occasion and the crowd” and provides an example, stating that “the Atheneum gets more of our quiet, complex stuff, and the Box gets a livelier collection of songs.”

To stay on top of such a large collection and work in new material the band needs to practice. “Typically we get together once a week to rehearse, drink beer, and discuss politics. We play a couple of gigs a month on average – sometimes more, sometimes less.”

And like many groups on the island, many of the members also play in other groups. Andy plays with Molly Glazer as part of the Glazer/Bullington duo, in Earth Got the Blues, and also with Jeff Ross of the Atlantics. Chris Westerlund plays with the Shep Cats, the band Eelgrass, and with Eric Wendelken and Chuck Colley in the Chuck Colley Trio.  Dave plays solo pretty regularly.

Besides the Comedy Festival, The Shingles will be playing numerous private functions in the coming months, as well as hitting up island favorite Cisco Brewers on various Mondays throughout June and July.  In the past few years they’ve played gigs at the Brotherhood, Cisco Brewery, Cambridge St., Rose & Crown, Bennett Hall, Dreamland, Jetties Beach (Comedy Festival) and Children’s Beach, and have also been hired for a whole bunch of private parties. Phew… and I haven’t even mentioned what they do when they are not playing music.

Cary Hazelgrove is an accomplished photographer, Michael Kopko is Innkeeper at the Safe Harbor Guest House and currently serves as Chairman of the Nantucket Board of Selectmen, Dave Provost is head of the New School and Executive Director of Strong Wings, and Andy Bullington teaches the guitar and often composes soundtracks for documentary films.  Impressive to say the least, but, as Cary puts it, “ [music is] too fun not to fit it in,” adding, “we are on opposite schedules. Dave frees up in the summer and the rest of us have a more stress. But we still find time to squeeze it in.”

If they can find time to squeeze it in, maybe you should too. Check them out at the Comedy festival late this July, find a way to have a beer at the brewery on a random Monday, or at the very least stop by the video page (http://vimeo.com/9092011).  More shows will also be announced as the season moves on, and, as always check out the “Nantucket Local Music Scene” page on Facebook.

Stephen Bowler is a part time Nantucket resident who has lived in both Boston and San Francisco. He has spent the last two summers on Nantucket working at Epernay Wines and the past two winters travelling throughout Asia and South America. Questions and comments can be sent to swbowler@gmail.com.

 

Nantucket’s most complete events & arts calendar • Established 1970 • © © 2017  Yesterday's Island • yi@nantucket.net