Brewster Blog: ‘Music Brings Us Home’

Written by Andrew Carleen. Originally published in the Old Colony Memorial on June 18, 2014.


Jake Hill (center) with Jason Myles Goss (left) and Dietrich Strause (right) at the Acoustic Nights Summer Concert Series 2013.

“Music is the universal language of mankind.” That oft-quoted observation by the great Bay Stater Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was made over 130 years ago. Nineteenth-century music had no top-40 lists, no metal-band pyrotechnics, no Lady Gagas emerging from eggs before tens of thousands of fans. Music in Longfellow’s day was personal and intimate. Friends and families would gather around hearths in the home, in church or on a village green. Instruments were homemade and the line between performers and audiences blurred or nonexistent. Music was not the product of some far-flung multimillionaire; music was indelibly linked to community.

Here in New England, the misery we endure during winter gives us a unique appreciation for the summer months. Even if we’re not conscious of it, our senses are more honed to the smell of flowers and the ocean, fresh-cut grass and the warmth of the sun than people who make their homes in less dramatic climates. For myself, another sensation inseparable from summer will always be the sound of outdoor music on Plymouth’s waterfront. As a child I remember dancing to brass bands at the Showmobile, climbing trees, and basking in that youthful ability to completely lose oneself in a moment.

Today, I have the pleasure of being able to help put on many such concerts as a part owner of Brewster Productions. Through our shows on the Hedge House lawn, the Plymouth Independent Music Festival and others, I have had the privilege to work with and get to know many talented musicians. Local songwriters Jake Hill and Hayley Sabella, as well as dozens of other artists from in and around Plymouth, prove that the South Shore is an unsung incubator of a genre of art characterized by homespun honesty.

Two years ago, I was deployed in Afghanistan. Six thousand and five hundred miles away, in a place that could not be more foreign to a kid from Massachusetts, I would put on my headphones and press play on a Jake Hill song. Instantly I would be pulled away from the alien mountains, the acrid air, the dusty skies, the anxiety and the tedium, back to summer on the waterfront. For a moment I would feel a salty breeze, smell frying fish and taste cold beer. Music has the power to bring us home.

This summer, I hope you will build your own memories with us and experience music the way Longfellow did – viscerally and tangibly. Show your gratitude for our fleeting northern summer by coming out and reveling in it. In that sea of sensations, carve your own path through memory that will always lead you home.

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