Random Emotion

Jerry Velona

A deliciously eclectic blend of styles from classic soul, rock, blues, country, jazz and folk, tied together with artful lyrics and the arresting vocals of Jerry Velona.

Jerry Velona is Boston area singer/songwriter and musician. He attended Berklee College of Music and has been playing for years in clubs throughout Massachusetts and New England. “If anyone is doing a book about dives in the Boston area, see me for research”, he joked. Jerry has written and recorded dozens of original compositions which he has performed with his band Joint Venture. He won a Billboard songwriting award for his song Hip Hop No More. The song was part of an eponymous CD released in the late 90’s which received national airplay including heavy use in several episodes of MTV Cribs and on an HBO special. Jerry’s voice has been featured in commercials, a cartoon pilot and on the song “At Last (you’re there)”, from the documentary film, “Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown”. “The story of my life”, he cracked.

Random Emotion is the name of Jerry's first, full-length album. The lead track, Leave Me Alone, was released a year prior as a single and is also available through CD Baby. The CD contains 13 songs, 12 of which are original compositions and the other, End as a Man, was written by Jerry's uncle Anthony Velona who composed many songs in the 50's and 60's including Lollipops and Roses which has become a jazz/pop standard. "My Aunt Yole had the song in her files. It was beautifully hand-notated on ledger paper by my Uncle Tony", said Jerry. "She told me it had never been recorded and thought I might want to do something with it". Jerry came up with an arrangement fusing a jazzy hip-hop groove followed by a up-tempo samba section. He brought together an A-list band featuring Brad Hatfield on piano and Oscar Stagnaro on bass. Jerry also enlisted the considerable talents of family members; his uncle Ted Sommer on percussion and his cousin Kathy Sommer on synth. "I figured it was a family project and that seemed to be a natural way to go," he said.

The rest of the CD contains a wide variety of songs in a number of different styles. Starting off with the Stonesy rock of Leave Me Alone, leading to memphis-soul sounding Talk to the Ossifer. Later in the album there are two hard-rock tunes: Undercover Appetite and Post Dated, both mixed by legendary Boston guitarist David Minehan at his Woolly Mammoth studios in Waltham, MA. Minehan also mixed the song Some People. Throw in some bluesy, country songs like Miss Understood and Don't Mean Squat, an instrumental accoustic track - The Last Paper Boy, a classic New Orleans song - It's Just as Well, (which is kind of Professor Longhair meets Randy Newman) and a jazzy ballad Dream Girl and you have as eclectic a group of songs as you'll find by any artist on a single record. "You also have a marketers nightmare", laughed Velona. "People ask me what kind of music I do and I really can't tell them", he said. "I have always enjoyed and listened to lots of different kinds of music and am influenced by many styles and artists. The songs just come out in the style that I feel is best to put the musical and lyrical ideas across", he said.

Velona writes all his own lyrics as well as the music and some of the lyrics have a Libertarian/Conservative bent. Leave Me Alone is an ode to rugged individualism. Talk to the Ossifer deals with the problem of fatherless boys and Some People addresses the capacity for evil among "some people". Did he mean to write a political record? "Not really," he said. "The lyrics to those songs concern topics that are important to me. The challenge in writing songs like that is to do it in an artistic way that can resonate with anyone on a variety of levels and not sound preachy. I hope I accomplished that," he said.

The album features some of the finest musicians in the Boston area who back up many national and international acts. "I've played with alot of these guys over the years and we've become friends," said Velona. "They're such great players and it was a real treat to write the songs knowing that certain musicians would play the parts just right". Velona travelled to Nashville to record parts of two of the songs but the rest were recorded and mixed at Straight Up Music in his hometown of Arlington, MA.

Random Emotion is a trip through American music by a mature and confident artist.

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