The Timeless Sounds of Ditto
By Anthony Harris
Former Senior Editor of Arts & Entertainment/Political Science, Current Staff Writer for North Shore Community College's The Pennon
Local music duo Ditto is one of the finest live bands you can find on the North Shore. They have an unparalleled gift for taking revered tunes from the American rock and folk songbooks and making them sound brand new. Comprised of lead singer/rhythm guitarist Gary Santarella and bassist/cellist Roger Kimball, the band has garnered a loyal following on the North Shore, and for good reason. Spend an afternoon listening to their effortless harmonies and unmistakable acoustic power strum and you'll be forcefully reminded why you love music in the first place.
The group's chemistry and laid-back charm were on full display during an outdoor gig at Salem's Village Tavern on August 8. Over a three-hour set that included greats like Fleetwood Mac, Crosby Stills and Nash, and The Beatles, Ditto kept diners enthralled with a big sound, soothing melodies, and plenty of energy.
Whether you're a Baby Boomer or a Millennial, you'll find yourself enchanted by Ditto's spot-on renditions of anthems from the 1960's and 70's. "Here Comes The Sun" exuded optimism and beauty and showcased the band's mesmerizing harmonies. "Walk The Line," which was loudly cheered by younger members of the audience, featured an infectious bass line from Kimball. Santarella's vocal range shown on the perpetually cool "Cocaine." Perhaps no song better captured Ditto's appeal than The Youngbloods' "Get Together," arguably one of the most beautiful songs to emerge from the flower-power era. Santarella and Kimball's harmonies were impeccable, and the powerful acoustic guitar gave the song a heartland rock edge without sacrificing an ounce of its simple beauty.
Ditto's musical prowess alone is all the reason one needs to check them out. What makes this group even better, though, is the joy they take in performing, as evidenced by the frequent smiles and laughter onstage. Santarella and Kimball kept up a jovial rapport with Tavern-goers, and each song received an enthusiastic round of applause. When performers are enjoying themselves that much, the audience can't help but have fun too. It creates a kind of infectious, positive energy that takes musician and listener alike to a higher plane of being. Anyone can play "Mrs. Robinson" or "Gold Dust Woman;" few can do it with the charisma and good old-fashioned fun that Ditto can.
Exciting things are in store for Ditto. The group will soon be expanding to a five-piece and releasing an album of original songs written by Santarella. If you haven't yet experienced the joy of Ditto, now is the perfect time. Regardless of your musical tastes, you'll be swept away by the magical combination of timeless songs and passionate performers.
"You guys were hands down the best opening act, in my opinion, we've ever had at the Salem 4th. (July 2016 Fireworks Extravaganza, Salem, MA)
Terry Hanley Audio
"Hey guys. We saw you last night, and you wowed us! You crushed many classics, and I can be tough! ...we scheduled several local events so the rest of the gang can hear your sonic nirvana. Bravo! p.s.Ditto does not become you, you are in no way generic!!"
"Thank you so much for playing at our wedding ceremony and making it so special for us. We appreciate your learning some of the music for us as well. You did such a fantastic job and we, along with our guests, enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks again for helping to make our big day perfect!"
Katie and Nick 10/29/11