“Bill Staines to perform Saturday with Chuck Colley Trio at NHA
BY PETER A. SUTTERS JR. INDEPENDENT WRITER
PHOTO BY LARRY MARCUS Bill Staines
Folk singer Bill Staines will perform in concert with the Chuck Colley Trio this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Whaling Museum. Tickets are $10 for Nantucket Historical Association members and $25 for the general public.
Staines blends his original works seamlessly with traditional folk songs. He may even throw in a yodeling song or two, as his Web site proudly proclaims him as the 1975 National Yodeling Championship from the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas.
Many of Staines's songs have been recorded by such popular artists as Peter, Paul & Mary, Makem and Clancy, Nanci Griffith, Mason Williams and The Highwaymen. His radio and TV appearances have included a number of local programs on PBS, A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage and The Good Evening Show.
Entering his fourth decade of playing and recording folk music - he has recorded over 22 albums - Staines' real passion is on the road. He still plays over 200 concerts per year.
Colley, a shop teacher at Nantucket High School who plays guitar and sings vocals, has been playing folk music for over 25 years, opening for such acts as Pierce Pettis and Bill Morrissey and has participated in a number of festivals, including NectarFest, Thomas Point Bluegrass Festival and the Ossipee Valley Bluegrass Festival.
Colley is not the only faculty member from the high school who moonlights plucking strings and belting out vocals of original and traditional folks music songs. He is joined by fellow teacher Erik Wendelken, who plays the bass and also contributes vocals to the group. Wendelken has been playing on the island for 13 years.
Wendelken has been actively performing and recording acoustic folk music with several groups, including the Chili Brothers, the Dave Poland Trio, the Shep Cats and the Clancy's. He has performed at the Kinsale Jazz Festival (Ireland) and the Newport Irish Folk Festival and is also a regular member of the talented Bob Lehman Trio.
The last member of the trio is Chris Westerlund, who plays the mandolin and splits his time with the Chuck Colley Trio, the Shep Cats and is a founding member of the local folk band Eelgrass.
Please call 228-1894, ext. 0, for additional information. I”
- peter a. sutters
“The Chuck Colley Trio has been playing its blend of acoustic music on-island for more than thirteen years. The group has entertained audiences both on and off Nantucket, and has opened shows for artists such as Pierce Pettis and Bill Morrissey. They have played numerous festivals including NectarFest, Thomas Point Bluegrass Festival, and the Ossipee Valley Bluegrass Festival.
Chuck Colley (guitar and vocals) has been playing folk music in New England for over a quarter of a century. Not long after moving to the island, he started making music with Chris Westerlund (mandolin and vocals) and Erik Wendelken (bass and Vocals). Chris Westerlund, an accomplished mandolin player, performs with the Shep Cats and is a founding member of Eelgrass.
Erik Wendelken has been actively performing and recording acoustic folk music with several groups including the Chili Brothers, the Dave Poland Trio, the Shep Cats and the Clancys. He has performed at the Kinsale Jazz Festival (Ireland) and the Newport Irish Folk Festival and is also a regular member of the Bob Lehman Trio.”
“Island bluegrass band Eelgrass set to release debut album
By Aidan Feeney
Long-standing island bluegrass band Eelgrass is on the verge of releasing its first album. Although the group has been playing on Nantucket for many years and has gained a dedicated fan base, it has never entered the studio to record an album.
Photo courtesy of Erik Wendelken
Eelgrass’ Erik Wendelken on bass, foreground, and Chuck Colley on guitar during the recording of the band’s first album at Nick Ferrantella’s Nantucket Music Productions.
The group is composed of Erik Wendelken on bass and vocals, Ben Murphy on banjo, Chuck Colley on guitar and vocals, Chris Westerlund on mandolin and Bob Day on guitar.
Eelgrass originally formed 13 years ago. The members of the band had known each other through work and prior friendships but it was their common interest in roots music that brought them together.
“We all knew one another and eventually the music just brought us together,” said Wendelken of the band’s origin.
Eelgrass recorded the album last spring and it should be ready to buy for the holiday season.
“The album is really a mixed bag.” said Colley. “There are a couple of new tunes we wrote and some of the old regular songs that Eelgrass faithful will know.” The CD has 12 tracks in total featuring both original songs and cover tunes.
Recorded on-island in Nantucket Music Productions’ studio, Nick Ferrantella produced and engineered the entire album. “Nick was really into it,” said Colley. “He always had good feedback and comments. He really has an ear for it.”
Once a week Eelgrass would meet in the studio and record a new track. They would sit down and play together the way they have for years while Ferrantella recorded. As simple as this sounds, it did prevent a few technical difficulties.
“It was a challenge to keep the mics separate because they were all playing together on the same track but the final product sounds really good,” said Ferrantella. “They are all really nice guys and great musicians. It was a pleasure to work with them.”
Recording was not the end of the project, however. The album had to be sent off to be mastered and get touched up. “It has been the mastering and all the technical details that have taken up most of the time,” said Wendelken. The project is now approaching its end and production should be finished in close to a week. CDs will be available at stores on the island soon after that.”
- aiden feeney