EEMA: An Alliance Of Musicians

Gianna Volpe
North Fork native Eric Tonyes is bringing musicians together in a North Fork-based nonprofit.

The East End Music Alliance began its trek toward establishing itself as a nonprofit on Indigenous People’s Day with a local concert at Green Hill Kitchen on Greenport’s Front Street.

More than 30 people — musicians and music-scene supporters alike — gathered October 14 in the cozy second floor club space for a free show featuring some of the fork’s biggest local talents, including Nick Kerzner and Nick Sferlazza; Rob Europe; Julia King and Greg McMullen; Robert Bruey and Dana Bruey; and John Schott and Allie Long, who included in their set an emotional rendition of Foo Fighters’ “Everlong,” in memory of 10-year-old Amber Stulsky, who died in a Greenport car crash last month.

Suffolk County is currently looking into the possible necessity of a traffic light at the intersection of Route 48 and Chapel Lane where the incident occurred between 32-year-old mother Rachael Smith’s eastbound Mercury Sable and 71-year-old Paul Greenfield’s westbound-turning Infinity September 3. Schott and Long dedicated the song to Stulsky after Schott said Amber’s father approached him years ago to ask if Allie sang. “Daddy,” Amber said, according to her father, who said she’s woken him up that morning before she went to school. “I had a dream that Allie and John were singing to me.”
The intimate evening concert included post-set question-and-answer sessions held by EEMA’s founder, 22-year-old Eric Tonyes, of Greenport, who signed the quickly-developing organization’s by-laws onstage between one of the sets.

“We do have an absolutely beautiful music scene out here and if you don’t believe me look around you — look at the beautiful people sitting next to you. It’s awesome, and I am just blown away by all the support,” Tonyes said during Julia King’s post-set interview, which included discussion of her upcoming album, “Radio Therapy”, which is set to drop in January.

“The thing that inspired this album is the thing that I’ve struggled with the most in the music industry: Its need to fit you into a category,” King said of “Radio Therapy,” which is being co-produced by Greg McMullen. “They’re always like, ‘Oh! What genre are you?’ And I’m like, ‘All of them.’ I don’t really limit myself to one particular thing. I like to write what I write. ‘Radio Therapy’ is kind of a compilation of genres.”

King’s co-producer, Greg McMullen, said he has been uncovering the common threads in which to tie together the album. “You’re my translator,” King joked about McMullen’s task.

“Some tunes are straight-ahead country tunes, some tunes are rock songs, but the common thread is Julia and her voice, and that, I think, is what’s coming through. I can’t wait for y’all to hear the record,” he said.

In the week after EEMA’s first official event, The Independent caught up with Tonyes to find out more about the direction of the developing local music organization.

“I was thrilled with the show,” Tonyes said of the Green Hill Kitchen concert. “The energy, performers, and turnout were fantastic. I’m very happy. I’m finalizing the date for the next event, which might be on Good Friday back at Green Hill. I haven’t reached out to any artists yet because the date isn’t etched in stone.”

He said he is currently waiting for the paperwork to return from the state before establishing a bank account and filling out tax forms to establish EEMA as a nonprofit.

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