Andy Herr performs with the Pickpocket Bluegrass Band, Jellybone Rivers and the Maniacs of the Heart, The Space Invaders and the Pinkletinks. He’s also a sound engineer, a guitar teacher, and for the past three years has been hosting open mic nights at Island Music in Vineyard Haven.

“A month ago, we were planning a three-year celebration party,” he said.

The party didn’t take place, though, due to the new normal of everyone sheltering in place. But the open mic nights are continuing every Tuesday night beginning at 5 p.m., hosted virtually by Mr. Herr. This past Tuesday, 25 people performed and the show stretched three hours long.

“We have Island musicians and now some surprises from all over,” Mr. Herr said of the virtual shows. “Last week a guy who goes by the name Breakfast joined and played two original covid-related songs. They were some of my favorites.”

Hosting live shows, with some pre-recorded sets, is not an easy feat, but Mr. Herr has been digging into the new technological necessities and sharing his Zoom knowledge with the Island. From helping to set up musical arrangements for church services, to offering free guitar lessons through the West Tisbury Library, and digital hangouts with Alex’s Place at the YMCA, Mr. Herr said he has been learning on the fly.

But he can talk Zoom software with the best of them and back it up too.

“I’m happy to take the time to help anyone through their audio setup,” he said. “There is always a better way to do something.”

“We all have some way we can contribute,” he added. “I can give people audio advice and music to listen to and look forward to.”
Visit Andy Herr’s Facebook page to sign up or attend an open mic night.

Bill Eville