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The North Fork music scene could be described as atypical.

Unlike other communities where a particular venue might dominate the scene, featuring headlining artists and, in some cases, hosting major concert events, music here often takes a back seat to all the other things to do.

Yet it’s ever present.

Our wineries, our parks, even our restaurants play host to local performers all year long. While many times those artists are in the background, providing a more subtle soundtrack to North Fork afternoons and evenings, many of them have found a way, through their diverse talents, to rise above the distractions and become the main attraction.

I can remember very clearly the first time I ever saw Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks — who I’d heard about for years, but somehow hadn’t come across — perform at a festival in downtown Greenport. People of all ages turned Main Street into a dance floor and somehow everything else around us disappeared for a while. Similarly, the conversations during a nightcap a few years back at Brix & Rye in Greenport turned to silence, as friends and I sat back in our seats tuning into the soulful voice and expert guitar playing of Rob Europe.

It’s on those types of evenings where I’ve often envisioned the local music spread in this month’s issue — compiled by Cyndi Zaweski and beautifully photographed by Davide Benthal — as I thought about a way to take some of our favorite local performers and shine a deserving spotlight on them.

What better time to do it than for our July issue, when these artists and many other talented ones are full swing into another summer season of entertaining audiences of locals and visitors alike at various venues across the North Fork. (We’ve also included a list of some of our favorite places to catch live music in this issue, which hits newsstands this week.)

Ultimately this issue is about simple, pleasurable North Fork escapes, from a piece on Magic Fountain ice cream, to great lemonade recipes passed down for generations at local farms and restaurants, to a hidden gem of a waterfront bar that will fill your afternoons with sweet libations that will have you feeling like you’re some place else.

Our Michelina Da Fonte and Eric Hod also put together a useful treasure map to hunting for antiques on the North Fork, which we hope you’ll use to guide you one afternoon this summer to that perfect little repurposed keepsake.

All this content will also be published on our site in the coming weeks. Hear us talk about it by listening to the podcast above.

July is coming, here’s to drinks that are chilled, care free afternoons and a body and mind filled with music and happy thoughts.

About the cover

Knowing local music would be the cover of our July issue, there was only one person we felt should be in the photo. Gene Casey has been making the East End dance since the late 1980s, performing with his popular Lone Sharks band, in smaller arrangements and as a solo act. His look, sound and personality personify the North Fork. The larger question for us was where would we shoot it and we’re incredibly grateful for Treiber Farms in Peconic for opening up their property for photographer David Benthal to shoot not only the cover, but each of the musical acts we featured in this month’s issue. Next time you see the Treibers (or Dave), be sure to let them know how much you enjoyed these great shots.

Coming up

Speaking of Gene Casey, our Michael Versandi interviewed him at our office in Mattituck last week. We’ll be releasing the interview as a bonus podcast on Thursday. Subscribe to the Northforker podcast to hear it first.