According to the cliche, many is the person who ventures over to the neighbor's doorstep to borrow a cup of sugar. Only a handful of Valley residents can claim Grammy-nominated artist Chris Collingwood as a neighbor, however.
Singer/six-stringer/abutting property owner Rick Murnane is lucky to count himself among that number. And as the man best known around these parts for his 12-year run with the bluesy pop combo Group DeVille explains, such a Collingwood connection—coupled with a shared passion for music—has yielded him a sweet new record.
"We met for dinner at the local pub just about every week for a year or so, after which we'd head over to [Chris'] house for a recording session," Murnane recalls. "The original idea was for Chris to be able to track someone other than himself and get familiar with some new recording software and hardware he had installed in his studio. Basically, I was a convenient conspirator who had lots of songs lying around."
The resulting effort, Wednesday Child, marks Murnane's first foray into the solo arena. If Group DeVille, with its classic look and swagger, was the vehicle that got him this far in his musical journey, Wednesday Child is Murnane finally pulling off the road, kicking his shoes off and running barefoot through the fields on sunny summer afternoon.
"Part of the appeal of Group DeVille was that the four of us came from different places musically, but we ended up with enough common ground," he says. "The drawback, of course, is that not every song I—or any of the other guys—wrote sat well with the others. So, yes, being a solo artist certainly gives a bit more leeway for me to branch out."
A CD release party for Wednesday Child has been planned for Friday, March 30 at the Blues House Cafe in Haydenville. For updates and more information, visit http://rickmurnane/blogspot.com.
In similar studio news, business manager Joe Urban reports that his Zing Studios will meet its Maker (thisismaker.com) this month.
"I'm actually also the manager of Maker and wanted to get them in here with [Zing producer] Eric Arena at the helm to work on followup to 2011's Mirrors," says Urban.
"Eric has done some amazing work for so many national and local acts, and Zing has produced some of the best metal records to come out of Massachusetts, so we're excited to see what they can do with ours," adds Maker guitarist Mickey Lebiedz.
Lebiedz went on to add that the current crop of tunes the Wilbraham-based quintet has cooked up for the forthcoming studio sessions will take the band into previously uncharted territories.
"This new direction will fit us into the modern rock world, with similar sounds to artists such as Foo Fighters and Taking Back Sunday," he revealed.
Last but not least, Joe Skutnik—best known as one half of viral video generators/local hip-hop heavyweights All Out—checked in to report that he is "jingling all the way" to the bank.
As previously chronicled in this column several months ago, Skutnik bested the competition in Country Nissan of Hadley's jingle contest—and drove off in a 2011 Nissan Versa.
Now the Sunderland wonderkid says that he and long distance girlfriend/sonic collaborator Katie Wood have struck jingle gold again, nabbing some $5,000 worth of clothing for their efforts.
"We've been working on music together for the past three years, either over Skype or when we fly to see each other," he says. "The jingles are fun, but we are also currently working on a new album of both original songs and songs we cover in very unique styles."
For some samples of said offerings, the opportunity to watch Skutnik transform his basement into an "instrument" and much more, kindly point your browser to youtube.com/kaytuhpai.
Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.