HARVEY BAND
Living On Six Strings
(HB Records)

 

Back in 2009, just after the release of One Way Ticket, by Harvey Band, guitarist and Harvey Band founder Harvey Possemato was threatening (both his neighbors and the music world) to unleash a fully blown all electric CD next time around. Well, with the 2013 CD release of Living On Six Strings, Harvey’s promise is well kept. In a word, Living On Six Strings is a solid, ten track, all-instrumental rock album that not only features Harvey’s unique, one of a kind guitar approach but also features several self-styled tributes to his guitar heroes, however surreptitious they may seem. For instance, track ten, “Tribute To George” is a slide filled, Harvey band original instrumental that George Harrison would appreciate, while the CD closing “Last Guitar Solo” is very Hendrix influenced. Throughout, the album features Harvey’s diverse guitar sounds and he even plays drums and keyboards making the tracks sound very much like a full band at times. Some tracks feature Harvey’s acoustic guitars intertwined with his electric guitars, giving the album a multi-textured, guitar-centric effect. Borrowing from jazz-rock, prog-fusion, rock instrumental, Americana folk-jazz and much more, Living On Six Strings is another wildly diverse and completely enjoyable CD from the multitalented, guitar-driven mind of Harvey Possemato and the Harvey Band. www.HarveyBand.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with
Harvey Possemato of Harvey Band


mwe3
: Where are you from originally and where are you living now and what do you like best about it?

Harvey Possemato: I am originally from Hancock, New York which is a small town in the Catskills with one red light and one caution light. Very beautiful geography but a little quiet for playing music. Now I live near Rochester, NY which is a musically rich small city which includes the Eastman School of Music and the Rochester International Jazz festival to name a few things.

mwe3: Your 2013 album with Harvey Band is called Living On Six Strings. How did you come up with the title and how would you compare your new album with your other album releases? I know you were promising to get back to your rock roots on this album. Can you explain what you set out to do with this new album?

Harvey Possemato: Recently I realized that my first CD, Crossfire which was more of a rock album, was released 20 years ago. Green Flats Road, 2002, and Tracks, 2006, were acoustic CDs and One-Way Ticket, 2009, was a film score to an imaginary movie. I wanted to make an album that was rock at its core but very lyrical and melodic, where every song has a theme. I am living my life with guitar in hand or “living on six strings” so to speak.

mwe3: You recorded the Living On Six Strings CD mostly on your own. What was the recording process like, where and when was the music written and recorded and who would you credit as far as assisting you with the album including co-writing, production assistance, mastering, design, etc.

Harvey Possemato: The album was recorded and mastered in my own studio where I record other artists and their projects as well. Most of the writing takes place with guitar in hand and recording gear turned on. I usually get an idea and work out a recorded verse or two to get the right feel and choose the right instrument colors... guitars, amps, etc. Then I will work the piece into a full song. As for recording most parts myself; A lot of people don't know that aside from playing guitar, I have played drums since I was a kid. I was a percussion major as a college undergrad and still occasionally perform as a drummer. I keep a mic'ed drum set in my studio at all times. I do a “circular” recording process of recording one part. Then add drums and bass and then rerecord guitars, etc. so eventually “the band member(s)” seem to be listening to each other. Also performing on the album are Gary Vincelli on Ricko 12 string—a very talented and inspiring band leader who I worked for many years ago and Jerry O'Dell on bass—a great bass player who I played with for many years in the East Rochester All Star Band). Track 3 “The Rose Is Gone”, was co-written by Richard Price/ I set Richard’s lyrics for this song years ago and although this is an instrumental version, the melody and harmony evolved from the original lyric.

mwe3: On the last Harvey Band CD, One Way Ticket you featured lot of acoustic guitars while the Living On Six Strings CD sounds more electric and rock based. What guitars did you use on the new CD as well as amps, strings, effects and microphones to help capture your sound this time around?

Harvey Possemato: When recording music, I believe that it is very important to choose both interesting and appropriate colors of sound which means playing the right part on the right guitar and amplifier combination. As guitarists, this is really how we orchestrate! This is one of the reasons guitar players care so much about the gear they use. I am also a bit old school in this way—plugging into the right amp and using the guitar's volume control and fingers to vary the sounds. Then the guitar speakers are picked up my microphones. Only the bass is recorded direct.

For guitar players who may be interested:
Track 1 Stratocaster and 64 Fender Bassman (older style with presence control)
Track 2 Gibson 335 and Marshall 900 series
Track 3 Strat and Traynor Bassmaster (known as poor man's plexi)
Track 4 Gibson SG and Nau Engineering AC30 (independent builder in Rochester, NY) Slide parts are Strat and Traynor
Track 5 Gibson SG and Nau AC30. Bridge include Strat and Telecaster
Track 6 Strat and 64 Bassman, Taylor Nylon String
Track 7 Strat and 64 Fender Bassman
Track 8 Slide parts are Strat and Traynor, Fingered parts are Telecaster
Track 9 Slide parts are Tiesco Del Ray open tuned and Bridge Wa is Gibson SG. (I don't remember which amps were used)
Track 10 is Start and 64 Fender Bassman
I use mostly GHS Boomers .010 gauge

mwe3: Several of the Living On Six Strings tracks sound very influenced by George Harrison including the great track called “Melody For Slide”. Can you say something about that track as well as the “Tribute To George” track which is an out right tribute to the late Beatle. Sounds like George was on your mind a lot as far as this album goes. Overall where do you get the inspiration for your song writing?

Harvey Possemato: I was one of those millions of kids that picked up a guitar after experiencing The Beatles and I just never stopped playing. George was “the guitar player”. In time I started listening more into Clapton, Hendrix and then Jeff Beck. Decades later, when learning slide, I just realized that my slide playing kind of sounded like the style of George and decided to push some songs over the edge into Beatle land. Often influences just sneak up on you. Those songs that you a referring to are both played in standard tuning which I get used to from playing slide off and on a live shows. Slide in standard tuning requires clean single note playing which may contribute to that Harrison type sound also.

mwe3: There’s a video for the Living On Six Strings CD called “Where Was Paradise” which is somewhat acoustic and a little different from the other album tracks. Can you say something about “Where Was Paradise” and what inspired that track? It sounds very symphonic and even elegant in a way with its mix of acoustic / electric guitars and synth keyboards.

Harvey Possemato: I was on a photography trip with my wife in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. I had an electric guitar plugged into an iPad with Garage Band at our hotel room. I started recording the parts of this piece after hiking in the mountains looking up to such grand snow capped peaks. When we returned home, I transferred the tracks to Digital Performer and finished the piece. The symphonic style seemed appropriate. The orchestration was done with a Roland guitar synth triggering orchestral samples.

mwe3: What’s new in the guitar world for you these days? Are there other players catching your ears these days? Are we in some kind of sonic lull waiting for the next big thing, what ever that will be? Where do you see the state of the art as far as independent music goes? Feels like it’s the best and worst of times rolled into one.

Harvey Possemato: I would have to agree with your statement “Feels like the best and the worst of times rolled into one.” With the internet, we all have world distribution for our music. Yes, here I am at Harvey Band Central, International and I can sell a song or an album to someone on the other side of the planet in a moment's notice. On the other hand, we are all needles in a haystack hoping that someone will notice. It is also ironic that we have accepted a downgrade in sound quality (the mp3) for the convenience of being able to download music. Most young people no longer have CD players so I am not sure how I will market my next album. I do like being able to control the visual presentation and liner notes, etc. of my music, which is difficult when selling by downloading. So now we have a resurgence on vinyl! I would love to see this take off but really, what about the inconveniences? It sure is a wonderful medium for the artwork. Remember staring at those big square jackets while listening to the record for the first time!. Now there is YouTube but video is a whole other medium to master. This is a large-scale discussion for another article. In any case I am sure that we will all keep making and sharing new and refreshing music for years to come.

mwe3: Looking ahead, what have you got planned for 2014 which is right around the corner?

Harvey Possemato: By the time one of my CDs is released, I am already part way through the recording process of the next one.

The pieces seem to write themselves one by one and at some point I have to start mixing and matching to decide which way to go with the overall feel of the next release.


{The picture is Harvey playing with vocal talent Alysia Groth at the Canandaigua Arts Festival}


Thanks to Harvey Possemato @ www.HarveyBand.com






 

 
   
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