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With a cool breeze coming in the open front door, the Ritz hosted a new band last Monday night, the Cottage City Collective. Well, the band members are not entirely new to Island ears, but the group laying down the foundation for the band — Phil daRosa and Delanie Pickering on guitar, and Kevin Medeiros on drums — have established themselves as “the band.” The frontman, or frontwoman in this case, will change up every week.

Rose Guerin kicked off the first show with an early start time (around 7:30 pm) for a Monday night. There were plenty of people there, not so crowded that you couldn’t move, but a steady stream of listeners roamed in the front door while the band played. Guerin and Pickering kicked off their shoes and got down to business with Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” and they were off and running. The songs were a mix of originals and the classics everyone knows and loves.

Guerin played her own tune, “Barmaid,” with lyrics that speak to the here and now: “I am the orphan. I am the barmaid. I am the mother … a heartbreaker, a genuine faker … maybe a woman can be what you make her.”

The music heated up when Pickering took her solos, which never disappoint. You wonder how all that sound comes from someone so young.

Phil daRosa said the three core members will get together to rehearse with each week’s lead musician at least once before they perform together; even though many of them are used to each other, they don’t always play together consistently.

“We reopened on Monday nights with a whole new endeavor,” daRosa said. “We’ll be here to support who that artist is — a different person every week. It’ll be sort of a house band vibe, with a special guest every week.”

Guerin said that over the past couple of years, the Ritz has become a hub where musicians can collaborate.

“The Ritz has encouraged and acquired some of the best collaborations on the Island,” she said. “The Edbury All-Stars with Mike Benjamin, that’s basically your Island all-star band. My band can be the same way, you don’t know who will be there every week. We have the Holy Rock and Roll Revival on Sunday nights … Phil’s Friday shows where his friends come in, like Jemima, Sabrina, Joanne Cassidy.”

Guerin said that longtime Island musician Johnny Hoy was “teaching us by example”; he’s a regular part of the Edbury All-Stars, who also play an earlier show with a cast of revolving musicians on Thursday nights at around 8 pm: “He’s teaching us by example what treasures you find when you invite a new girl to play with your band and it becomes Delanie. It’s been a pretty wonderful couple of years.”

Cottage City Collective, Monday nights, 7:30 pm, at the Ritz, Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs. Visit theritzmv.com for more information.

This article by Connie Berry originally appeared on mvtimes.com.

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