In 1990 my parents gave my brother Mike and I a 4-track cassette deck. Mike was then a freshman away at college and the 4-track stayed in Kingston, MA with me where I soon took up laying down instrumental compositions. Throughout high school I wrote a dozen or so instrumentals, (vocals and lyrics came less naturally to me than to Mike). Later during my college years at UMASS Amherst I compiled an album's worth of demos collectively titled Solenera House. Solenera House The album cover reminded me of how the Orpheum Theatre in Boston closes off Hamilton Place. The concept related to my interest in Vaudeville, as a artform and a moment in history.
During my junior year ('97-'98) I lived off-campus in a two apartment house in Belchertown, MA a few miles off Route 9. Downstairs from me lived Gabriel Sullivan who had an uncanny ability to improvise lyrics and melodies over just about anything. Through Gabe I was introduced to his Westfield pals Kerry Flynn and Joe Zabielski. Over the next two years we often had informal jam sessions where I picked up on their tunes, mainly written by Kerry, and others which organically sprouted like mushrooms on the spot. During the summer of '99 with a borrowed 8 track 1/4" reel-to-reel deck we laid down basic tracks for The Eyes LP at Joe's house. Later that summer I followed my brother Mike and Nick Papananias (photographer of my gallery pics) to New York City and traveled back to western Mass periodically to overdub additional parts in the studio. The album was never released.
I gigged with Mike as an acoustic duo in and around Greenwich Village which included a few appearances at the Bitter End. The blend of our voices and interplay between our guitars were the foundation of our sound, with Mike's songs and strong vocals setting us apart from the crowd. We were featured on consecutive UMO Music compilations in 2003 and 2004, The 14 Best Singer/Songwriters of Greenwich Village with Mike's songs Exhale and A Moment's Peace .
I had abandoned the idea of recording my Solenera House album which had by this point become a bit dated. Instead, with a new digital 8-track console I began laying down ideas for my next project. In January 2004 I left my job and with the small savings I had earned self-produced The Old Line album. The Old Line I had become more confident with my lyric writing and vocals but these ultimately were the album's Achilles heal, along with shoddy sound production and lame keyboard-simulated drum tracks. My objectives were ambitious but the project fell well-short of my expectations and was shelved to a fate of obscurity.
From fall 2005 into summer 2006 I wrote and recorded some instrumental music to a couple short indie-films and a play produced by The Nettles Artists Collective. Scoring films is an avenue I'd like to explore in more depth in the future.
By September 2008 I was ready again to try my hands at another album, applying what I learned from the pitfalls of The Old Line recordings and focusing more heavily on the rhythm section for the working-titled Drive-In material. I had expanded my set-up to include an electronic drum kit, Mike's Fender Rhodes electric piano, my Hammond organ hauled from the old Kingston house, and some decent mics. Though still by no means an optimal recording situation apart from having a flexible schedule, this time around I didn't want any excuses. I tried to approach this project with the mindset of a baseball player, to work hard but taking things in stride so as not to psyche myself out. I assumed a learning curve with the frequent technical issues, many unanticipated, but surmountable. Throughout the recording I built this site, and as I prepare to release the now re-titled Feature Presentation Feature Presentation I'm gearing up for the next phase of performances.
While recording Feature Presentation I hooked up with a band in the summer of 2009 based out of Astoria, Queens called Mathew Snow & The Way It Was featuring Josh Moyer (drums) and Marc Lagana (bass). Playing with Matt, Josh, and Marc was the first electric ensemble for me since The Eyes a decade earlier and allowed me to showcase the blues/rock side of my guitar playing. We cut an album later that fall available for download at Bandcamp.
Fast forward four years later to the present and the Feature Presentation album has finally just seen the light of day. The first run of cds have arrived as the online digital distribution has just launched. Stay tuned...