Back to the Island


I’ve been at a bit of a standstill with this blog… or website… or whatever you want to call it. But I think I’m ready to just let go of any reservations and share my thoughts or post updates whenever I feel inspired to.

I’ve recently returned to Martha’s Vineyard to take on a new role at mvyradio. I’m the Music Director and the afternoon DJ, and it’s been an interesting three weeks back!

Workwise, I feel even more thrilled about the position as I was before I started…beyond helping with the music we play I’m also responsible for coordinating the station events across the year, so I’m excited to be in the planning stages of our 35th anniversary season! Stay tuned!

Moving back to Martha’s Vineyard, and particularly in February, does come with it’s difficulties but I’ve been very surprised at how pleased I am to be back. The PEOPLE here are especially wonderful and so with every friend I run into, comes that sense of community that I really missed! Plus the stars are SO BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL!

A few folks have written to ask why I decided to leave WUMB and it’s simply because it was still a part-time job, and I was seeking a full-time radio position! While I loved all that I was doing in Boston, it was a lot of hustle (3 jobs at one point) while just barely paying my bills…so I’m beyond happy to be able to focus on one full-time position in my field!

Follow me in these places, for more on life (and of course, music)…

Listen to me on-air weekdays, 2-6pm at

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Best Of 2017: Robert Plant

I may be a little biased, since I think Robert Plant can do no wrong…but this new album is really dynamite, exploring some different terrain from track to track, and never taking a wrong turn!

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Best Of 2017: Elizabeth & the Catapult

If you like Ingrid Michaelson, Feist, or Tift Merritt, there’s a good chance you’re gonna love this Elizabeth & the Catapult album Keepsake. It’s definitely one of my favorite releases of 2017.

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Reflecting on 2 years…

2 years ago today I drove myself and my belongings onto a ferry headed for “America”. I had been living and working on the island of Martha’s Vineyard for 7 years, year-round and I was (finally) moving away. The job and the island were always supposed to be temporary – a few years of radio experience and I would move on. I never anticipated that I would stay for so long, that I would learn and grow so much, or that I would meet so many incredible people.

a blurry photo I snapped through my windshield as I drove onto the boat

So much has happened in the past 2 years. I’m proud of myself for helping my family in a time of need, for helping my hometown with a new spot for live music, for getting myself back on stage (and landing a dream role!), and for landing a dream job.

I tend to push myself quite a bit, but I also know it’s important to step back at times and give myself some credit. I want to remind you to do the same.

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Tom Petty | 1950 – 2017

“You know sometimes, I don’t know why, but this old town just seems so hopeless…”

Words escape me when it comes to the loss of Tom Petty. Today during my midday shift on WUMB, I incorporated plenty of his music, but really couldn’t speak much about him. I didn’t feel like a radio host, capable of spouting knowledge about an artist…I felt like a lover of music, without the means to express just how much this particular artist’s melodies, words and persona impacted me.

We’ve lost many incredible musicians this year, but this one particularly hurts for me. Tom Petty had a way of conveying universally felt emotions with such simplicity. That’s the idea with music right? To connect, to commiserate, to mourn or to rejoice together. Petty expressed himself through his music in such a REAL way. I think it made for a very down-to-earth vibe coming from an absolute rock star – something that was very unique.

There will truly never be another Tom Petty.

Maybe I’ll find more words in time, since this news is just setting in. For now I listen to “Here Comes My Girl” on repeat… a song I hope to walk down the aisle to some day! It’s a perfect example of his realness, his casual cool. He’s barely singing! He speaks and shouts and expresses what every person in a relationship hopes their partner feels –

“yea every time it seems like there ain’t nothin left no more I find myself havin’ to reach out and grab hold of somethin’…yea I just catch myself wonderin’ and waitin’, worryin’ about some silly little things that don’t add up to nothin’…and then she looks me in the eye and says ‘we’re gonna last forever’ and man you know I can’t begin to doubt it…no cause it just feels so good, and so free, and so right, I know we ain’t never gonna change our minds about it, hey!”

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WUMB | New Music

I’ve settled into the groove of middays on WUMB… you can hear me from 10am until 2pm each weekday. One feature I love curating is the “10 o’clock Coffee Break” at around 10:20am. This is very often the new music that arrived in my inbox that same morning… we are lucky as a radio station to be the first to get the download links to the new releases, and often months in advance. Sometimes it’s coming straight from a CD that someone handed me the weekend before, at a live show.

However I came across it, it’s something NEW and something I think you might enjoy. More often than not, it’ll be an artist you’ve heard of, but occasionally I’ll try to introduce you to a promising new voice.

Here are a few of the latest new tracks I’ve featured on the 10 o’clock Coffee Break…

Frightened Rabbit “Rained On”

Son Little “O Me O My”

Deer Tick “Sea Of Clouds”

Rostam “Thatch Snow”

Tune in to commercial-free WUMB
91.9FM Boston|Falmouth|Worcester
Streaming online at


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You know those passions you have in life…the ones that you don’t end up pursuing or keeping up with for one reason or another?

Photography is definitely one of those for me. I’ve loved snapping photographs for as long as I can remember. I even completed a film photography minor when I was in college.

I think that’s why I love Instagram so much… it’s an easy way for me to hang on to that passion, which is now just a hobby…I enjoy it immensely!

Follow my there – @phjess

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