Martha's Vineyard TimesPat Guadagno returns to Oak Bluffs

By Tony Omer
Published: June 4, 2009

All too infrequently we have the bittersweet pleasure of feeling music viscerally, goose bumps and that feeling between sadness and indescribable joy that twinkles down our spine. It is music we want to hear again and again - we just can't get enough.

Pat Guadagno, Martha's Vineyard
New Jersey folk singer Pat Guadagno performs at The Dive Bar this Friday and Saturday.

Photo courtesy of www.PatGuadagno.com

That describes much of Red Bank, New Jersey native, Pat Guadagno's music. He is at heart a folky but draws on many musical styles.His covers of Bob Dylan are moving adaptations of often lesser known works of that American master. One song that it took me a minute to pick up on was a beautiful reworking of an old Donovan song. Mr. Guadagno's touching rendition of the Warren Zevon song, "Don't Let Us Get Sick," is played on the Emmy award winning Showtime series "Californication."

 Mr. Guadagno will bring his sharp acoustic guitar stylings and a gutsy voice to The Dive Bar on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs (formerly The Rare Duck) tomorrow and Saturday evenings.

A folk singer in the finest tradition, Mr. Guadagno has performed on the Vineyard for many years. He has played with many local musicians, including John Cruz with whom he played his first Oak Bluffs gig. He draws on many musical styles, traditions, and musicians. This weekend, he will likely include a humorous song or two, possibly a topical bar tune as well.

About 20 years ago, Mr. Guadagno gave up a successful concrete business for a guitar and his music - or perhaps for people. He looks like a guy who might live down the street, the one who always has a smile on his face and is ready to give a neighbor a hand with anything he might need - unless, in Mr. Guadagno's case, the Yankees are on TV. The father of three daughters and grandfather to a granddaughter, might credit his even demeanor to living with so many women. He just looks like he couldn't be having a better time than when he has a guitar in his hands, singing on stage.

His smile comes across in his music, music that runs the gamut of American folk, rock, anything that sounds good and moves him.

When asked by a reporter why he chose rock and roll over a promising career in the cement business, Mr. Guadagno replied, "Out of an abiding love for music and diner food." His simple workingman persona is real, but it can be deceiving.