OSM Peeps at 40 Steps in Newport with a photo bomb by local fisherman (photo: David Bergman)
I’ve finally taken a moment to reflect on what was four fun-filled days in RI—my Ocean State Of Mind festival. Rooted in the quintessential New England waterfront town of Bristol. The majority of the guests stay at the newly remodeled Bristol Harbor Inn.
Set on the banks of the bay, the views are stunning and it makes for the ultimate location to walk to all the events. Here is how it all shook down….
I debuted my new song, “EEEEEEEEE!”. (Photo: Steve Biro)
The whole thing kicked off on Sunday afternoon up on the roof of Thames Waterside overlooking the tranquil Bristol Harbor laden with sailboats and yachts. OSM attendees do one thing very well—they show up in masses, on time, early in fact, ready to start the party! Everyone took a seat along the railing, at the tables, belly up to the bar, really there was not a bad seat in the house. They mingled with one another, rekindled old friendships from Down The Hatch or last year’s OSM and made new pals.
This is a really sweet group of people, very like minded and respectful—all about the music and enjoying the experiences that I present to them…they trust me and I truly trust them. I knew from our first song that afternoon that we had an excellent audience for 3 days.
I was joined by Patrick McAloon and Jonathan Bryan Williams, both incredible talents in their own right.
We played through some requests, then asked Ellis Paul to take the stage to give the crowd a taste of what a veteran singer-songwriter of his caliber is capable of.
Ellis is so versatile, his writing is so unique and the delivery is just everything. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand, literally actually his hands, asking Melissa McDonald (OSMer) to hold the lyrics to a song he had just written and dropped on us. A hysterical tune about learning to speak the local lingo when traveling, something we all related to.
Jonathan and Patrick each got a chance to do what they do, and what can ya say…they’re just brilliant. JBW’s tunes just have a way of sucking you in. Patricks pristine voice was sounding sweet on this warm fall afternoon.
Colby James took the stage next. It really only takes Colby singing a few words to remind us of his awesomeness. If we were all in those cheesy chairs on The Voice it would have been a unison button pressing 180 spin. Colby rocks, plain and simple.
Ellis even debuted a song he had written entitled “Colby James”. Officially making all the other musicians jealous they didn’t make the lyrical cut into one of Ellis’s masterpieces.
After the three hour hang outside at Thames, we headed just across the parking lot to DeWolf Tavern. A spectacular property on the historic registry that served up individually plated lobster tails, shrimp, beef and more to our guests in our own private room that we turned into a music venue for the night.
The stage was set, so high that in fact any performer over 6 foot had to sit down as to not knock them selves out on the low ceiling (or trigger the sprinkler system). It made for a cozy atmosphere while the tall glass of water that is Ellis Paul looked like a giant playing in a Smurf house. Ellis, Colby and Patrick rocked “3000 Miles” together, such a treat knowing that they used to cover it back in the bar gig days.
Colby pretty much played the greatest version of “Bring it On Home” I have ever heard, Patrick and JBW also rocked their tasty tunes all night weaving in and out of my material.
It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday eve, and it was all capped off at Judge Roy Bean when Jonathan splurged and bought delicious hot pizza for all those burning the midnight oil.
I should mention the pre-party on Saturday for the early bird OSM crashers was really a great hang at my local hotspot, Bluewater. Patrick, Jonathan and I played until the wee hours of acceptability in this sleepy seaside town I call home, Barrington, RI. Both Patrick and Jonathan never cease to amaze me with their raw talents. I’m so blessed to have them bookend me on stage and raise my songs to such great heights night after night with their powerhouse vocals and mad skills on their instruments.
Ok back to OSM…
We all met down at Agave restaurant on the water just a short walk from the hotel for a morning hang. Guests helped themselves to a sweet breakfast spread. I was thoroughly impressed with how many Blood Mary’s and Mimosas I saw in OSMer’s hands. Jonathan Bryan Williams set up in the bar area and honestly this was one of his best sets. At 9 AM! I don’t know how he does it?! He rolls out of bed and sings like a total badass. I know people see Jonny in PMB and are aware of his vocal prowess but when you get to hear him play his own tunes, you truly understand the man. It was the ideal music for that sleepy morning. The sun came out and warmed up this salty little town. I’m quite certain Jonny’s baritone had something to do with that.
JBW’s breakfast show wrapped up around 10:30 AM. So guests had some free time to explore all that Bristol had to offer, which is a lot or could be as simple as sitting in an adirondack chair sipping a drink. I did love seeing that my guests picked up local art, clothing, jewelry and helped support the mom n’ pop shops up and down Thames St and Hope St.
Some of us dudes, hit the links over in Warren. My father, Hugh, set up the whole thing. The weather was unreal—the ultimate golf weather, cool, sun out, no wind. We all hit at least one shot (some a whole lot more than others) that made us not give up on the game. That’s the thing about golf, there’s that one shot where you are just as good as the best of the best. My dad I’m sure won. And if he didn’t, we should give it to him out of respect. I played 3 holes with each foursome.
My Superlatives…Closest to the Pin (and most professional)—Dad McGee, Longest putt (and biggest guns)—Eric. Wayne also won longest putt, Happiest Golfer: Stan (he smiled as much as Wang did in Caddyshack). Most Prepared: James (he brought bluetooth tunes), Most stealth: tie for Mark & Tim (laid low and crushed it), Most Helpful: Jeff (he loaned me the club that got me on the green). Most Appreciative: Dan (he thanked me the most), Most Intimidating, a tie: Brian, Alex and James Mac (they were dressed to impress and had a general vibe of “we’re gonna beat you”). Making jeans on the green look acceptable: Eric, Wayne, Bill and I. All in all, we were quite the sportsmen.
We arrived at Bristol’s authentic Irish pub, Aidans, just after 1 PM. I picked up the first round for everyone of “the best poured Guinness” while the real deal New England Clam Chowder & Clamcakes were served up by yours truly (with help from Jonny and Patrick) as to not interrupt Ellis Paul’s beautiful set of music that included a first for me…
Ellis read us one of his children’s books that he had penned. As in Ellis Paul read 80 people a bedtime story. It was magical, perfectly weird, amazing, comforting and we were entranced, then he sold a crapload of books. Noted! I shall finish that book I started, thanks for the nudge Ellis!
Gareth Asher and Nicki Thrailkill rolled into town just in time to bust out a truly moving set after Ellis took his final OSM bow. Gareth has that ability to captivate an audience in a matter of moments. He was setting the tone for the rest of his performances at OSM. Nicki’s harmonies are always on point and help serve up the sweetness to Gareth’s raw delivery.
Guests had a few hours to relax and prep for the evenings activities. Having the hotel rooms one block away from the majority of the events was key. Allowing retreats for anyone to come and go as they wish.
PROST! Thats “cheers” in German! So yeah, we had ourselves a real deal Oktoberfest right here in little old Bristol, RI. Redlefsens restaurant (just a few blocks down the road) has been hosting these events at their authentic German eatery since I lived in town (yet, OSM gave me the opportunity to finally attend one).
They brought out all the stops, the dancers, the accordion players, the professional Das Boot drinkers, we did it all.
I threw a German woman into the air, ya know, stuff like that.
Then we dined on delicious Bavarian cuisine: Wurst Plates, Schnitzel, Spaetzle, Squash Soup and more! I thought this would be a good time, but I didn’t know it would be THAT much fun! Thanks everyone for going along with my wild ideas.
After Oktoberfest we waltzed our way back down the road and into our own private club for the evening. The old bar, Gillarie’s opened up just for us for two nights of raucous rock and rollin’ by my full band and guests.
We played different sets each night and had opening slots by other OSM artists. It was a great setting to kick up your heals or just chill upstairs and be a voyeur to the musical ongoings.
The pics tell the story well. This wrapped up around midnight or thereafter.
ALL ABOARD to NEWPORT!
9 AM the trolleys pulled up to hotel parking lot for our day of adventure to Aquidneck Island.
Our first stop was just over the Mount Hope Bridge to the farm town of Portsmouth to brave Escobar’s Corn Maze.
This activity requires a map or you may have to register a change of address.
The artists snuck in prior to the OSMer’s expedition and hid in the stalks playing tunes to hopefully be discovered and rescued.
This was by far the most organic stage I have ever performed on—we were saved when McAloon got on Mike’s shoulders to point the way home.
We boarded the trolleys and continued the picturesque drive down East Main Rd to Newport where we were dropped off at Cliff Walk. We experienced breathtaking views of the natural beauty of Newport’s shoreline. It’s truly stunning to see the historic mansions on one side and the rustic coast on the other. The mix of rock, wildflowers and the bay is just plain gorgeous. We walked a bit and arrived at 40 Steps, the perfect setting for us to take our group shot. I even took a selfie that may top Ellen D’s from the Oscars a few years back.
We hopped back onto our rides and cruised around Ocean Drive, learning a bit of history and taking in the enormity of some of the massive properties along this pricey address. We exited the trolley in the heart of Newport for some free time to poke around, grab a bite, shop, stroll the wharfs or just belly up for a couple hours while the OSM crew set up for the next experience.
MIDTOWN OYSTER BAR
I had heard from a friend how amazing Midtown Oyster Bar was. The pictures tell the story pretty well. The place is incredible and proved to be one kick butt room to host a concert by Ari Hest and Gareth Asher. Man, can Ari sing…he actually dedicated a special tune to me (Simon and Garfunkel cover).
And for the first time in my life I understood how cool that is and what it can mean to someone else. Ari’s ability to fill the room with sonic excellence is remarkable, he’s like the human sonic spa (in that his whole vibe is just so damn soothing).
The spread that Midtown Oyster Bar laid out for us to feast on was something else! Gareth and Nicki also played a few beautiful tunes before Ari took the stage for his first OSM performance. Every time those two do “them”…it’s about as legit as it gets. OSMer’s adore them some Gareth Asher.
ROAD TRIP MIX TAPE
After Ari’s set we packed up the show and took it on the road! The trolleys became a campfire sing-a-long meets Bourbon St with Gareth and Nicki leading the charge on one trolley (rumor has it they plowed through the TV Theme song genre) while Ari, McAloon, Jonathan and I strummed a few covers that everyone knew…we even ended with Stairway To Heaven, so I guess we win?
Now Ari’s performance of The Golden Girls theme song later that night, makes a whole lot more sense! So yeah, it was back to the bar later that night to rock OSM out in style.
Everyone crushed it and made for one killer night of music and the ultimate ending to an epic vacation.
I had a vision for this event and because of the attendees feeding off the artists, the gorgeous surroundings and all the parties involved—it actually came to fruition.
I cannot thank my crew enough: Kevin McFadden, Brian Kacmarsky and Mike Massa. Along with Jonathan and Patrick this team really kept that vision of mine clear and moving along with seamless perfection. Without them doing what they do, it would be one wild circus of my ideas. THANK YOU MEN!
And to my rhythm section, Brian Shanley and Dustin Samples, you dudes rock. Thanks for letting me throw setlists out the window and play whatever I’m feeling. You’re all such talented players.
I would say that OSM has quickly developed its own personality. Where Down The Hatch is a relaxing throw-down of a party on the beach with tons of amazing artists, OSM is a 12 course gourmet meal yet with family style dining and a whole lot of lively twists. At the end, its all about sharing. Something I really enjoy doing with you all.
See you next year…now, what to plan for you for 2017? Hmmmmm…..(I love this part of it).
*any photos with no credit, they are either “borrowed” from OSMer’s posts or taken with my iPhone by me, or whomever had it in their hands. Thanks guys. If you would like the credit, I am happy to go back and edit this whale of a tale.
Pat McGee’s Ocean State Of Mind 2015 Recap
Ocean State Of Mind. This was something I was daydreaming about for many years. It’s not news to anyone that I’m into sharing anything that I find to be amazing. And boy, oh boy was this a fun three days to share. Monday’s never felt so fine
It all kicked off on a clear afternoon at Thames Waterside. We set up in the beautiful private back deck with gorgeous views of Bristol Harbor. OSM guests settled into their seats and I, along with my bandmates and fellow artists, Patrick McAloon & Jonathan Williams, welcomed them with a few tunes. Brian Dunne, Colby James and Nicky P each performed a mini-set while the sun began to set.
As a surprise to everyone, I was asked to officiate a wedding that day for two OSM attendees, Kelley & Jeff. It was my honor and privilege to bring these two together in marriage–who knows, this may just be my new jam…at your wedding. I’ll plan, cater, play AND marry you. Gotta think outside the box in today’s music biz. So anyhoo, we all found ourselves at a wedding reception–how cool is that?
Around 6 PM we strolled down the deck to the historic DeWolf Tavern, the next site for the evening’s festivities. There OSMer’s feasted on a raw bar filled with lobster, littlenecks, shrimp & more, and one round on me at the bar. We took in more stellar live music from all the killer talent by the light of the moon over the water while warm flames roared in the stone fireplace. There is something about performing in these buildings from the 1600’s–just so much history–hopefully we added positivity to the hard times I’m sure had there back in the day.
Morning came and brought another cool, crisp autumn day to Bristol. OSM peeps met up just down the bike path at the waterfront restaurant, Agave, for a delicious breakfast buffet while the artists offered up some tasty pre-noon tunes. The bacon was hot and crispy just like Jonathan Williams’s bearded melodies. Mr. Dunne rocked a pristine set there as well and I closed it down with a mix of some deep cuts.
We broke for some free time and reconvened at the legit Irish Pub, Aidan’s, a Bristol staple & the first place I was taken to when visiting RI in the ‘90’s. They have won “best poured Guinness” for many years, rightfully so. They put out a spread of New England clam chowder and clam cakes for all to enjoy and I bought the first round. Nicky P. rocked out a heartfelt set, reflecting on how that upstairs bar area was once his actual apartment. Only in Bristol!
While several of us headed to play golf at the renowned course Montaup in Portsmouth, others roamed the shops of Bristol, where everything is walkable. Don’t ask who won…we were all “winners”
We had a big night ahead of us with two awesome destinations. First was a 3-course meal at 15 Point Rd restaurant and we would close out the night back in town at Judge Roy Bean just across from the hotel with full band rock show.
I wanted to make sure guests were not responsible to drive to the events, so I rented two trolleys for the weekend. Those rides proved to be some of the funnest times of the trip, the sing-alongs and randomness that ensued was pretty hysterical. Just like grade school but with no safety patrol to bust us for our childlike behavior.
The waterfront restaurant 15 Point Road went overboard to say the least. Owner Sean Smith and his skilled staff were the true rock stars of the weekend. They plated hot, delicious, and I’m talking DELICIOUS, cuisine out to the 80 + guests and bands. The deck was set like a high class nautical dinner party. We gorged on creative presentations of lobster, fish & chips, steak, pasta and chicken. Next time we’re stickin around for dessert! Oh man. Let’s do this more often, eh?
Did I mention while we wined and dined, Stephen Kellogg and Alternate Routes serenaded us set to the backdrop of the bay? They both offered up old and new jams from their vast catalog of killer songs. Both of these artists have records that you should click “buy” without a second thought. I’m listening to them both right now as I write this. That night at 15 Point Rd turned out just as I hoped it would.
Judge Roy Bean played host to the late night rock shows. SK and AR played two more spectacular sets before my full band of Matt, Steve, Patrick, Jonny and I took the stage to do our thang. What a blast of an evening, Eric from AR sat in all night with us on guitar which added so much flavor.
This was going to be one epic day. (Boat excursion, sightseeing, mansion tour, vineyard tasting, rock show.) When I plan these adventures, I know I can be a bit bold but, hey… anything worth doing should be overdone. Well, sometimes anyway. Thanks for rollin’ with me on this stuff.
9 AM came and the trolleys were there to take us to Newport to start the day. The panoramic views off the Mount Hope Bridge were breathtaking as we headed south over the harbor, through the rolling hills and farms of Aquidneck Island all the way past the beaches of Middletown and into Newport.
Upon arrival to the cobblestone streets of Newport, some of us strolled about the wharfs and some sought out some early morning libations #”OhNoMimosa”. OK, fine, that was me and my gang…don’t judge.
We boarded the two mighty vessels from Gansett Cruises and set out in the Newport Harbor to enjoy a late morning cruise, learning about some remarkable history and seeing some water views of dramatic mansions, forts and unbelievable sailboats and yachts. America’s Cup winners were still in the water to check out and we even saw Pete Townshend’s massive craft. (No he wasn’t on the bow doing windmills). And like the scene (“cue the deer”) , straight out of the classic film, Funny Farm, 12 porpoises came along both our boats as if to welcome all the OSM guests to Rhode Island. It was unbelievable and apparently has only happened 4 times in 10 years. Next year…Whales with Jonny riding on their backs.
OK, so after we docked those puppies, we jumped back on the trolleys and heading just up the hill to see one of the most dramatic mansions in our country. The mighty Breakers, owned by The Vanderbilts as a summer home. Whaaaaaaat? This 30 minute headphone guided tour seriously classed up the event, so we decided this was the perfect locale to take our group shot.
Keeping with the high falutin air that OSM had taken on, we had the trolleys take us (at once!) to the closest vineyard, where we might sample the local wines while being entertained by the best talent around. Boston’s own Chris Trapper joined the circus for the final two stops. His set at the vineyard was just wonderful and his late night one back at Judge Roy Bean’s was laced with just the right amount of songcraft, sarcasm, humor, heart and profanity we needed to take us over the moon. Chris is the real deal. Go check him out when we rolls through your town. McAloon, Dunne, Williams & Nicky P just crushed it all weekend long with outstanding performances at various spots. All of these men have albums out and you must own them.
A huge thank you to all the establishments who hosted us as well as my hard working crew of Kevin McFadden, Mike Massa, Brian Kacmarsky, Rodney Millette (& behind the scenes consultant Colleen Connor) and especially Patrick McAloon for as always being my “get this done” guy, no matter what the task, in addition to mastering it on stage every damn night.
And thank YOU for joining us and believing in my vision.
My parents brought me up to stop and smell the roses, thanks for letting me lovingly shove them in your face. See you next year in Rhode Island!
Based on the feedback this very exclusive event will sell out again very quickly. Do not wait on tickets when they go on sale (GET ON THE MAILING LIST to stay tuned atPATMCGEE.net)
Trust me, it’s THIS good….
A shout out to Fishman for making such a killer piece of equipment (AS220), allowing us to rock anywhere we see fit!
Thanks Dena Davis and Jon Tyler for the loaner gear as well!
Michael Massa gets all the credit for 96.7% of these delicious photos. Great work my friend. I took the lame ones.