Holiday Greetings From Outpost Family

Jonah Tolchin and Joseph Arthur bring the congregation early holiday gifts of art and music at Outpost’s Fall season finale.

Holiday performances for the holiday season.

The gifts of music, art and love are far greater than any holiday “hype” gift that has a short-lived appeal. Both Jonah Tolchin and his headliner, Joseph Arthur, proved this at the Outpost’s holiday season finale. Holiday donations for Toys for Tots were also collected, and even two Marine sergeants were present night to collect the toys and receive special heartfelt thanks from the Outpost volunteers.

The soft-spoken Jersey-raised singer-songwriter/guitarist Tolchin who calls Bar Harbor, Maine his home opened up by thanking everyone for coming out. Considering that the weather conditions were not exactly desirable, his thanks meant a lot. He kicked off his set with “Criminal Man,” which he is obviously far from.

Other gems he brought forth were: “Pretty Insane,” a track found on The Five Dollar EP which he worked on with producer Marvin Etzioni, and “Mockingbird.” He chose to close his set with a song about his plea for everyone to fully respect the earth and its essential resources. In fact, the song entitled “Unless We Change” sends such a crucial message that Tolchin asked the audience to treat it as if it were a call-and-response song by repeating the choral line “unless we change.” Before playing that, he humbly said: “I would like to thank the trees that built this guitar, the trees that built this church and the sun for helping the trees grow.”

Holiday performances: Joseph Tolchin's "Five Dollar EP."
Joseph Tolchin’s “Five Dollar EP.” Photo courtesy of Christine Byczkiewic.

When intermission came around, Tolchin took time to greet his fans and sign copies of his Five Dollar EP for them. For those who are interested, his next album, Clover Lane, is set for release sometime during the summer of next year. Joseph Arthur just released The Ballad of Boogie Christ 2 last week as a companion piece to June 2013’s Ballad of Boogie Christ.

T-shirts and CDs were not the only things for sale at the holiday merch tables. Notecards and coloring books that feature Joseph Arthur’s visual artwork, as well as the paintings themselves, are sure to make great gifts for everyone, especially for children to encourage them to love and appreciate art of all kinds.

Joseph Arthur brought all of his colorful qualities to life once he hit the stage and started off with “Still Life Honey Rose.” Even before he picked up his guitar to play, he and his band were met with many claps and cheers, and not just because he was the headliner.

Just before he began to play his next song, “Ballad of Boogie Christ,” he apologized for it, because of lyrics

Holiday Performance: Joseph Arthur and his band
Joseph Arthur and his band keep everyone rocking and clapping. Photo courtesy of Christine Byczkiewic.

such as “Christ would eat pizza” and “Christ would love hip-hop.” There was really no need for apologies, because everyone who sets foot in a Unitarian Universalist church keeps open minds and hearts and understands that Christ (or whichever Deity they choose to believe in) has a good sense of humor. Also, that was the song that got everyone rocking and energized the most.

After a few fun, guitar-driven numbers such as “Dynamo,” he decided to slow things down a little with “Invisible Hands.” During this, he applied looping techniques, sang and even drew/painted a picture onto an onstage canvas as the song played! It was very apropos, as he displayed (no pun intended) his sensitive side to everyone.

Already experiencing an Outpost withdrawal? Please do not fret or feel sad, because the next event will be on Jan. 10, 2014 with Willie Nile and his band gracing the stage for a mid-winter show. Tickets are available now for $25 online, or in-store purchases are available at Keil’s Pharmacy and Studio042.

This year has indeed been a great one for Outpost because of all the talented performers who came out, as well as the communal warmth and great causes such as donating food and toys to those in need. Please cherish and remember this year as an inspiration to keep making these events better and to help maintain the staying power.

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