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ONTHEAM

 

When our parents were kids, they had two choices. FM radio was the domain of folksingers and album rock. And that was okay, if that’s what you liked. Trouble was, FM stations didn’t pump the watts. Musical talent on the FM dial didn’t get the major publicity push they really needed. Ask, they’ll tell you. There might have been some good tunes, but FM didn’t couldn’t drive you all the way home. The British Invasion, Surf Music, Motown, Soul & Funk – who would have ever heard of ‘em if it hadn’t been for those little transistor radios kids carried in the 1960’s? And there was only one thing they’d pull in—A M! The AM stations pushed 50,000 watts, 50,000 watts of reality. REAL MUSIC. Not the stuff of FM, but real music, man. If it wasn’t on the AM, the kids didn’t get it. If it wasn’t on the AM, it didn’t have much cred. Those days have returned.

Flash to the 21st Century. ONTHEAM. Tradition blends with the future. Tradition? Boring stuff, right? No way. Power trio instrumentation has never sounded fresher. Like bacon and eggs, popcorn and a movie, a cute date and a drive-in, some formulas are timeless. This music defies any pigeonholing definition. The phrase “power-pop” comes to mind, but it’s much edgier than that. Punk? Yeah, the attitude, velocity and delivery are all there, but the music catches other aspects often lacking in those genres—melody and hooks, yeah, but meaning as well. This is the stuff you hum in the car after hearing it the night before.

ONTHEAM is Scott Francisco, guitarist, singer, songwriter—a modern troubadour, all-around musician. You should hear him on drums! Brother Jeff Francisco delivers that solid low end on bass that any foray into power-driven danceable melody requires. Phil Nagle, the drummer— supplier of the drive, the cosmic propulsion unit—Mr. Scott’s warp drive. That’s it and that’s all they need.

ONTHEAM has just released a four song CD—kind of like an EP in the old days—entitled In Correspondence. See You in Five Years opens the short set, sounding like Cheap Trick meets After the Fire, but with Johnny Thunder on guitar.   Catchy melody, poetic lyrics.   You’ll be driving too fast within fifteen seconds of popping this one into the dash. I know, I did. When these guys play this number in a club, a third of the room will be slam dancing, a third will be making out, and the last third will be just standing there, moved by the words.

 

These Words… is brooding, menacing, dark and haunting, like really good New Wave of British Heavy Metal like Diamond Head, but with a clearer, more concise aesthetic. There is a timeless ambiguity in the story the words relate that allows the listener to interpret the message as a mirror of his own experience.   Not to put you off, but that’s a hallmark of true art.

 

Track three is Diary of You which brings us up to that late 90’s ballad style but with the rhythmic and sonic textures of vintage Nektar.   It is rich in layering through a minimalist setting.  How did these guys make that work? The song opens into an almost orchestral metal sound.

 

In Correspondence, from jangly garage band sounding guitar intro to driving sparse verse, this is not a dance track, this is not a ballad in the truest sense. This is the tune that makes you stop and listen. And hear. The CD ends here and you wonder where the time went. That couldn’t have been four songs? This thing must be defective. So you play it again. And again. I did and do. The little shiny silver thing hasn’t left my player yet.

 

What separates the great bands from the millions of contenders that come down the pike every year?   Two things: one, the craftsmanship of the music, its ability to catch you with a hook and two, the words.   Without a genuine thought that we can all relate to, a story we’ve lived, a love we’ve lost, a day we’ve survived—something that touches our humanity—all those other bands and their music are just background noise in our daily grind. ONTHEAM has found that higher ground with their music that touches a part of us, that lets us know that we’ll be listening to their songs a year from now, five years from now, and like those one or two really good records our parents had among all the ones they bored us with, twenty years from now our kids’ll be pulling ONTHEAM out and playing the CD when we’re out of the house.

Another Recording of Note:

Hear selections from my new album, Reflecting Pools. A departure for me, it is a keyboard album. The music is a series of tone poems written for relaxation and meditation. Reflecting pools is the perfect companion for a rainy afternoon or a winter evening. Actually, it is a great stress-reliever at work!

Click the album cover to find links for samples of all the pieces on my album.

- Harry Pellegrin

May 12, 2005

AVAILABLE NOW !

The Classic Guitar Method: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.





With the aid of a good teacher, the student will rapidly progress through The Classic Guitar Method attaining technical proficiency and musical eloquence.

This method stems from the need to incorporate a number of schools into a single cohesive curriculum. Years of honing a logical approach to the guitar and the creation of music culminate in this volume. As a self-proclaimed Disciple of Valdés-Blain , much of that famed teacher's focus can be found in Mr. Pellegrin's method.

ISBN: 978-1-4116-9442-2

Published by PAB Entertainment Group, P.O. Box 2369 Scotia, New York 12302

Please go to www.lulu.com to order.

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