Dukes County Love Affair
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Dukes County Love Affair

West Tisbury, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

West Tisbury, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Hip Hop




"CD Shorts: Dukes County Love Affair"

Phil DaRosa used to play with Valley band Bathtub Mary. These days, he’s back where he grew up, on Martha’s Vineyard, making music with his band Dukes County Love Affair.

The latest EP from that group reveals some highly particular songwriting tendencies. On the first track, you’ll find short rhythmic phrases in the vocals, which veer quite near rap delivery at times. When the choruses come around, things tend to get big and bombastic as the choppier rhythms give way to slower-paced, distorted sounds. Big chunks of guitar and keyboard offer a rock swagger that is the EP’s most winning quality. That first tune, “My Delight” is the kind of song that’s likely to get stuck in your head, with its repetetive and catchy chorus.

From there, the sounds turn decidedly toward blues and R&B, with jangly guitar and piano. The choruses stay big, and the verses continue with short rhythmic phrases. DaRosa and company seem to thrive on the big moments when shouts and bombast take over. Their lower-energy moments are solid bridges to the rest, but are more expected in their contours and melodies than the pleasantly noisy tangles of chorus. The keyboard—varying from piano to organ and more purely electronic tones—does a lot of the work of conjuring different moods and feels. It works particularly well when organ or Rhodes tones weave in and out of the noise, all of it punctuated with cymbal-heavy drumming.

Dukes County Love Affair seems to have its own love affair with heavy rock sounds and blues, adding up to a modern band with plenty of old-school, classic rock-style lack of preciousness. Its dramatic music seems particularly well suited to live performance.• - The Valley Advocate (Northampton, MA)

"Dukes County Love Affair goes on the road"

The Vineyard-based rock and roll band Dukes County Love Affair (DCLA) released a new five song EP in December called High Sky, and it rocks with the best of the genre.

It is their third album release and they are getting better. They have taken a step forward in their development as a band and music writers, with a look back to the history of cutting edge rock and roll to produce a hook-filled collection of music that is by turns introspective, danceable, and just plain fun to listen to.

If there were a recipe for High Sky, it would no doubt read something like, go back to the psychedelic 1960s, take a strong rhythmic, danceable bass guitar and drum line, and sail it through the continuum of rock and roll to 2014. Along the way allow it to take on the fellow travelers of melodic guitar fills, rhythm and blues guitar, psychedelic lead guitar, electric piano and synthesizers, poetic lyrics, a bit of rap, a bit of funk, a bit of rockabilly, and an assortment of dynamite hooks and electronic effects. It is a cornucopia of rock and roll and it sounds very, very good. It is a clean, hypnotic EP.

If there is a downside to the new EP, it is that it is not a full album with five or six more songs.

DCLA has been together for more than three years and has toured the country, sharing the stage with G.Love, Deer Tick, Willy Mason, Ben Taylor, and St. Lucia. The current lineup is Adam Lipsky on keyboards; John Stanwood, guitar; Jamie Greene, drums; Mike Parker, vocals; and Phil DaRosa on bass. Johnny Hoy plays harmonica on the song “Blackcloud Mountain” on the EP and Elyse Madeiras sings backup vocals on “High Sky Flyer.”

Mr. DaRosa said that the band has stepped away from how they usually write, adding new elements to the mix, most notably synthesizer keyboards and more backup singing. The EP was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mr. DaRosa at his Print Shop Studio (TPS) in Oak Bluffs.

Now on a month-long “Give Love Tour” of New England in support of the new EP, DCLA is donating a portion of the proceeds of every concert both from ticket sales and DCLA merchandise to either a local community organization that supports sustainability, or one of a selection of nonprofits, such as Doctors Without Borders and The Red Stocking Fund.

“It’s been a crazy few days,” said Mr. DaRosa from the road. “Shows have been great. We’re putting a lot of energy into connecting with local bands in each market we play, and teaming up to do fundraising events with them.” Upcoming shows include January 16 at The Spot in Providence, R.I.; January 17 at The Basement in Northampton; January 18 at Gemstones in Lowell, January 22 at the BBC in Pembroke, and January 23 at Fat Baby in New York City. - Martha's Vineyard Times

"Music : Interview with Dukes County Love Affair"

Late Sunday afternoon brought windy weather and the sounds of bleating sheep outside Dukes County Love Affair's studio in Lambert's Cove. The music slowly died down, and the band, which includes Islanders Mike Parker on lead vocals, harmonica, and megaphone, Jamie Green on drums, and John Stanwood playing guitar, started talking.... - Martha's Vineyard Times


Dukes County Love Affair: Jamie Green, and Mike Parker. It’s quiet out there, at night on the Island this time of year. In town there are a few signs of life. But on the back streets, after the sun goes down and the winter chill takes over, mostly it’s just smoke from a woodstove or a startled rabbit or nothing at all. But looks can be deceiving.
Travel down Lambert’s Cove Road, for instance. Pause for a moment at the John Hoft field station to take in the scenic beauty, the stars somehow seeming closer now during the clear, crisp nights. Keep going. Just a bit farther hang a right down a dirt road. A dog will bark, chase the car for a time, then give up. Up ahead there will be a large sailboat up on blocks, just purchased in New Hampshire and waiting for its first Vineyard summer.

There is a small building. Go inside. Upon opening the door the sound of a lone guitar will welcome you. Something folky. Maybe Woody or Hank or, wait, the beat is building. It’s getting faster. Keep walking toward the stairs, past the room with all the pianos waiting to be refurbished, the Steinway laboratory, if you will, of David Stanwood.

A drum kicks in. Sharp, crisp notes. The music is moving again and so are you up the wooden stairs. Layers of punk. A hint of Velvet Underground, Green Day but still with that folk underpinning on the guitar. But faster now. Much, much faster.

Then the voice joins the music. The Beastie Boys comes to mind. But it’s not as angry. Something more intelligent and soulful. You stop trying to place the genre, there are too many swirling at once. But it all comes together and when you reach the top of the stairs you are hit by the sound, loud and fast, and you feel it all the way down to your ankles and the first thing you want to do is run back downstairs, out through the door and into the field shouting at the moon and the stars and the rabbits because you feel so good.

Never mind the guitars, Jamie green mans the sticks. But you stay because what you want most of all is to keep riding the wave pulsing through your body.
The room is spare and the walls mostly bare. Wood floors, a few rugs, one battered coffee table, a surfboard slouching in the corner. Front and center the makers of the music keep going. They are the band Dukes County Love Affair (DCLA), a trio consisting of John Stanwood on guitar, Jamie Green on drums and Mike Parker at the microphone. It is the week before the release party for their first CD and they still need to put on a few finishing touches.

The music is tight, the band members loose. A perfect mix of skill meets amiability. They are all of them Islanders. Jamie and John have known each other since the fifth grade when they met at the Charter School and have been playing music together ever since. Mike, well, he was into sports and not a part of the other guys’ scene.

“I didn’t really like Mike until about two years ago,” Jamie admits.

That’s when they all met on the ferry coming back from various off-Island walkabouts. Mike had just returned from Peru, yet another far-flung adventure taken after a devastating loss made him rethink who he was and what he wanted to do with his life.

“My dad passed away when I was in high school,” Mike says. “Before that I didn’t really value life as much as I think someone should. Then it was as if my brain exploded and I saw that life is short. He had cancer so it was really long and drawn out and through all that I discovered this love of adventure. And along the way music found me. I wasn’t really looking for it.”

They practice loose, they play hard. On the ferry ride the guys talked about music and maybe playing together. One of those offhanded comments, the spark of which is usually extinguished once the boat docks.

Phil daRosa engineered the CD. But something about the energy among them, even while just talking, kept the moment alive on shore. They began jamming. At first it was just for themselves and just for fun. But gradually word got out that these three young guys were doing something special. The Island’s thriving music scene is a tight-knit group and talent isn’t allowed to hide indoors for very long.
“Other friends we looked up to as musicians from around here were really supportive,” Jamie says. “They helped us get more serious right off the bat.”

“It’s been really surprising how much everyone has supported us,” John adds. “I didn’t think we were that good. I still don’t think we’re that good, but what do I know?”

Evidently not much. Every time the band plays the audience gets larger.

The band came together right when Nectar’s opened up on the Island, taking over the old Hot Tin Roof and making it vital again. That first summer, in 2009, DCLA became sort of the house band for Nectar’s, getting a weekly gig. They began playing regularly in front of friends and the Vineyard summer crowds. They took in various bass players too, broadening their sound and for a while last summer a - Martha's Vineyard Gazette


High Sky - 2013
Engineered, mixed & Mastered by: Phil daRosa

Ghost Town Sessions - 2012
Recorded and mixed by: Greg Ashley
Mastered by: Phil daRosa

How Do They Shine - 2011
Engineered by: Philip daRosa
Mixed by: Matthew Cullen



Dukes County Love Affair, or DCLA have been tearing up the New England music scene with their livewire performances for over three years. Hailing from Marthas Vineyard, they grew up on an island that is wrought by the duality of adrenaline fueled, celebrity laced, work-all-day-party-all-night summers, and cold, dark, storm-ridden, seemingly isolated winters. But DCLA is surely a band that has found success on the mainland and even abroad. Within a few short years, they have played along-side musicians such as Lorde, Washed Out, Deer Tick, Willy Mason, John Cruz, Dwight & Nicole, Here We Go Magic, Spank Rock, Neon Indian, Ben Taylor, Kodacrome and Badfish, among many others. After multiple residencies, and a string of concerts between Boston, Mexico and Buenos Aires, DCLA has cultivated a diverse sound blending an eclectic form of Rock, Blues, Latin Folk, Hip Hop and a Gypsy footed rhythm that is sure to induce movement.

Born in a moment of serendipity when three high school friends ran into each other during a boat ride back home, the music began as a way to cure the boredom that can set in on the long harsh winters of the Vineyard. Vocalist Mike Parker, Guitarist John Ripley, and Drummer Jaime Greene, began playing in a shack in the woods, eventually moving to a space above a piano shop. Their friend Jesse Sylvia, a poker player turned venture capitalist put up the loot for their first self-released LP entiled: "How Do They Shine." Adding Phil DaRosa on Bass soon thereafter, their music drifted over the fields and through the woods and eventually all over the US. 

Mike Parker was exposed to to the world of performance and entertainment early on. Born in the Florida Keys to a family that at one point even ran an actual traveling circus, Mikes lyrics contain the wisdom of a worldly traveler, someone who has seen life first hand and is not afraid to share his take on it. Combining diverse backgrounds, united by a common love for the place that they live, DCLA at its core is a group of friends just having fun creating music.

Band Members