New “Greetings From South Queens: Songs That Survived Sandy” CD Arrives
“I was born in Howard Beach. I lived in Rockaway for 20 years. Now I am living in Island Park,” says musician, songwriter and producer Walker Hornung by way of explaining his very personal connection to the new CD, “Greetings From South Queens.”
He and all the area musicians on it were deeply affected by hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.
Subtitled “Songs That Survived Super Storm Sandy,” the CD spotlights a wealth of musical talent in 21 tracks by musicians and bands from Rockaway, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and, in one case, Ireland.
From the bluesy, live “Virginia” by Indaculture to Ace In The Hole’s crash and bang “A Song Like This” and the danceable, electronic “I Think She Already Knows” by Billy Kennedy and Michael Benedetto’s intimate acoustic “Confess”, the CD runs the gamut of music styles. Nearly all songs are originals, with nearly all self-penned by the artists themselves.
Said Rockaway singer/songwriter/ guitarist John Simonelli, “There’s so many different styles, so many musicians, so many great bands, it’s mindboggling. It was a thrill to be included with such great musicians.”
Speaking about the Rockaway connections of his own song, “And then It Was Cold,” he says, “The first time I played it live was at the Harbor Light. It came out of an idea from the Rockaway Artists Alliance Writers Group.”
Explains Hornung, professionally known as Walker, “One stipulation was that there was somebody directly affected by the hurricane (among the musicians chosen for the album.) This was very, very personal to the people on the CD.
For instance, “the band from Ireland (the Von Shakes) is actually a group that lives and plays here in the Rockaways.”
On how the CD came about he says “Essentially what happened was people were still fixing things up in the Rockaways. All the bands didn’t know what to do; most lost all their equipment.
“I had concert at a place call CJ’s on Cross Bay Boulevard and we raised money to produce the CD.” He then contacted all the hurricane affected musicians he could reach. All recorded separately and sent their own tracks via a special e-mail account. From there he and co-producer Frank Persico worked with, mixed and balanced all into a unified whole with a sound that some listeners have noted as being far superior to many commercial albums.
“I think everybody was happy that they were picked for this CD,” said Hornung, who has played at venues all across Rockaway. And “what I love about it is it’s a way for everybody to hear all the different bands.”
Citing that his fundraising concert was able to cover all production expenses through Into The Whip Records, he notes the CD’s are being supplied at no cost to the musicians.
As for charitable donations generated by sales, he notes, there is “no direct cause.” Feeling each can better decide for themselves, he says “Generally it’s up to the bands individually to give where and how they feel best.”
As he has said elsewhere, “We want to try to keep it really focused on the Rockaways and nearby neighborhoods.”
“Greetings From South Queens: Songs That Survived Hurricane Sandy” is available through iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby and other music outlets and from the musicians themselves.
John Simonelli sums it up best in saying, “They’ve really done a great job.”