Widgets Magazine

The North Fork Music Scene, Scripts, and that Special North Fork Scent with Musician and Writer Mark Anderson

Photo taken at Jamesport Vineyards by tasting room manager Christie Hoyt. Q: Have you always been a musician?

A: I was a musician and a writer sporadically, but I put it aside to have a successful 10 year career in NY real estate. After a decade, though, I was burned out. So seven years ago I left it and moved to my family’s summerhouse in Jamesport, which they’d had for many years.

I decided to honor all the things I loved to do that I’d neglected for many years: writing, music, working with animals—I do marine mammal and sea turtle rescue with the Riverhead foundation.  We released three rehabilitated seal pups last Sunday.

This is the first year I’m a full time working musician and writer; I did it on the side before. I play year round; the busy season here is April through October, but there are vineyards and restaurants out here that employ musicians year round. I’m booked solid now through October.

Q: Sea turtles? I’m not used to thinking of sea turtles as a local species.

A: Sea turtles end up here because they don’t migrate far enough South in time, before the water gets cold, and they get cold-stunned. Essentially they go into a coma, and the fishermen and locals find then and bring them in or call the foundation.

Q: You mentioned being a writer. Are you a song writer?

A: I’ve written songs, but songwriting isn’t the writing I love to do. I write TV scripts.

This winter I locked myself in a snow bound house and wrote a bunch of scripts, sent them out, and I’ve been getting a great response, so now I have representation.

Q: TV scripts? Can you say anything about them, or is it still hush-hush?

A: Well, they’re both being given serious looks right now, and my lawyers would kill me if I say much of anything. All I can really say right now is they are both TV dramas, and both set in Manhattan; one in the 1920s, one in the 1990s.

Q: Why do you like writing TV scripts?

A: It’s a great story telling format. Each episode needs to be open ended, not resolved—otherwise there would be no reason to watch the next one.  And in a dramatic series there is so much time to focus on character development, let the people really drive the plot.  At least, ever since Sex in the City and The Sopranos created the modern TV drama form.

Q: Returning to your musician hat, what might someone who comes to see you perform hear?

A: What I play depends on who I play with. It’s always acoustic, from the 60s Otis Redding to Radiohead. I even do a Rhianna song. We do play a few originals, but the vacation crowds usually want familiar tunes.

Q: So you do have some originals; do some song writing.

A: Well, yes, I’ve written songs over the years. .A friend of mine in New Orleans, Ingrid Lucia, just asked last week if she could record a song I wrote several years ago. It’s called Another Sunday. I wrote it on piano.

But I enjoy singing other people’s songs and mostly do that, including originals written by musicians I work with.

Q: What’s the North Fork music scene like?

A:  The scene is mostly homegrown talent, especially in the slower season, although there are always festivals and special concerts. The venues vary from the vineyards to outside and seaside restaurants to bars to parks, churches and special places like the Jamesport Meeting House.

Q: So there’s music year round?

A: Oh yeah. Sure, there’s less off season, but all year some vineyards and venues have live music. During the busy season there’s music all week long, not just on the weekends.

Q: Yeah, now I’m listing some 40 shows a weekend, and during the week Corey Creek, Laurel Lake, Martha Clara, Duck Walk North and others regularly have shows.  What’s the name of your band, so people can find you in the listings?

A: I’m just “Mark Anderson and Some Dudes” on Facebook, because I play with a rotating cast of musicians. People can follow us on Facebook or reverbnation.com.

Q: Are there any local musicians you try to make a point of seeing?

A: Yes. Jon Divello—I love his style. Bryce Larsen is very talented too. Chris Hurley, Nick Kerzer. Larrin Gerard, the Second Hands, Billy Walters.  I’ve played with all of them at one point or another, and I go see them, and when I managed vineyard tasting rooms, I’d hire them. They’re all terrific.

Q: What is it about the North Fork that led you to put down roots here

A: The North Fork is the hometown I never had. As much as I loved Manhattan, it’s here I found the nurturing community, the friends and place I’d never had.

There are four places in my life that are just really special. They’re peaceful, the smell is just intoxicating, and they have a healing quality: Hawaii, Santa Fe, Bermuda and the North Fork.

The two best smelling places on earth are Bermuda and the North Fork, because of their farms, the salt air, and the flowers that are blooming.  The chestnut trees are blooming now. Before that it was the locust trees, which smell even better.