Jerry Velona

Love Radio! New Album release

Love Radio by Jerry Velona album cover

 

So I was asked: why "Love Radio"?  I was actually all set to name the record "Snide and Seek" alluding to the theme of the lead track "Looking for Lewis and Clark" (the seek part) and my generally sarcastic side (the snide part) but then my mastering engineer Bill Bromfield started labeling things "Hide and Sneak" and I took that as a sign that I needed a better name.

I picked Love Radio because, well, I LOVE radio and I would like radio to love me back. That's about the size of it. As I've written in other blog posts, I have loved listening to the radio since a very tender age and it's one of the constant joys of my life. Like most things, radio has changed a lot over the past fifty years or so (what hasn't?) but when it's done well; like on satellite, it's a beautiful thing.

I'm very excited about this record. It contains four straight ahead rock tunes that I recorded at Woolly Mammoth studios with the estimable David Minehan engineering and mixing. David also played some guitar on a couple of the tunes.  The rest of the cast for those is Richard (The Great) Gates on bass and Billy Loosigian on guitar.  I've always loved Billy's playing and decided one day that I'd call him for the sessions and I'm so glad he agreed. His playing really is pure rock at least as I define it. 

After hiring drummers to play in my bands and on my most recent recordings over the past couple of decades, I realized that I missed playing and wanted to get back to it; not just freelancing with others but with my own projects. So I started practicing regularly again and decided to play a bunch of tunes on this record. It was a blast.

I included three covers: Forbidden Fruit by The Band (Robbie Robertson songwriter), Baby What'cha Got (for me) by Darrell Banks (J.J. Barnes songwriter) and Looking for Lewis and Clark (Sid Griffin songwriter). Lewis and Clark is a tune I've always loved but I felt there were some lines in the lyric that I would have trouble singing so I re-wrote a few and sent the demo over to Sid Griffin. Luckily Sid's a great guy and really liked our version, had no problem with changing some of the lyrics and offered to promote it at the BBC (he's based in London these days) which I will of course take him up on.  One of the other tunes on the record, The Ghetto (ain't going back) is sort-of a cover in that we borrowed the groove, the bass line and some of the instrument sounds (Wurlitzer piano) from the  mid-70's Donny Hathaway tune "Ghetto" but then really made it completely our own. I wrote lyrics (sung wonderfully by the talented Debbie Pierre who also sings on many of the other tunes) added strings and, most notably incorporated a spoken word section by the great J Ivy from New York by way of Chicago. It's quite a production if I may say so and I'm quite proud of how it came out.

The other two songs are originals; both recorded at Q Division in Somerville and engineered by Sean Cahalin. The first is Our Own Devices which has a great funk groove influenced by the song Skin it Back by Little Feat. It concerns our obsession with those great little things we keep in our pockets and talk into and type onto; suggesting perhaps a way out. (don't tell anyone, but it has to do with up close and personal contact!). Lastly is my ode to Christmas blues called Just Don't Feel Like Christmas. Duke Levine contributes some great guitar and Paul Ahlstrand wrote a fantastic horn chart on which he played along with one of my faves Phil Grenadier on trumpet.

I've done a video for Lewis and Clark which is getting its finishing touches in post production at the moment but should be released toward the end of October. More on that in my next blog post. Love Radio should be available for sale and download by the first or second week in November. I hope you'll check it out and that it gives you some pleasure. I sure enjoyed making it!

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