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Paul and Friends are “Smooth Sailing”

 






So Paul, where you guys are from and can you give us a brief description of you guys background?


>Wow.  Well, you're asking for a lot.  There have been many musicians in "Paul and Friends" over the years.  Many - from two countries.  Perhaps it would be best if I focus on those who are performing on "What's the Matter with That?", which is the tune you have in-hand.  

>“Paul and Friends” is made up of an amazing number of musicians from the New Orleans area, around the US, and around the world.  These are folks with great talents who have lent them to my productions.  
 
>Joe Raines is an incredible vocalist.  He sings lead here and pushes this tune forward.  He is from Ocala, FL, and is a well-known performer, producer, and recording artist in his own right.   He attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL.  He started as a brass player and expanded into keyboards, vocals, leading bands, and studio ownership. Having settled on the Coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Gulfport, MS, he is writing songs and producing tracks for local artists there.  He started Tajarc Productions, Inc. in 2003.   He sings lead on a number of tunes on our album entitled “Smooth Sailing”.  
 
>Paul W. Sammarco (alias Paul Summers, my stage name in Australia) is originally from northeast New Jersey.  I have moved around though - Syracuse, NY; Potsdam, NY; Stony Brook, NY; Jamaica, West Indies; Townsville, Qld., Australia; Canberra, ACT, Australia; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and Houma, LA.  (Yikes!  Is that enough?)  During my early years, I studied piano, woodwinds, double bass, and guitar.  I began composing at age 11.   I've been arranging, performing, recording, and producing music for myself, my groups, and for others for decades. My works span a wide range of categories, including ballads, easy listening/soft rock, rock, acoustic rock, country-rock, blue-grass, jazz-rock, Christian, etc.  My music has been published by several publishers in the US and Australia - Chappell-Intersong (now Warner-Chappell; APRA), Sydney, Australia; Len Fischer Music (APRA), Canberra, Australia; and now my own company, Endless Shores Music Publishing, USA (ASCAP).  I strive to create quality music designed to be appreciated by generations of listeners, using haunting melodies, meaningful lyrics, and soothing vocal and instrumental arrangements.
 
>Mark Trentecosta plays lead guitar on this tune, with great force.  Get out of the way!  Here comes the train!  He is from Covington, LA.  His delivery is amazing – including his sense of timing, melodic movement, and integration with the rest of the players.  Mark has played in many bands, including “Benny Grunch”, for decades.  He now has a guitar studio in Covington, LA where he teaches.  He is a much sought-after musician.  His playing on this tune shows why. I have also featured him a number of other tunes which have received a lot of airplay, and we continue to work together.  

>Roger Kimball is the saxophonist here.  He has been a stalwart of Paul and Friends since inception, and I am so proud to have worked with him for decades.  He just keeps getting better and better. He lived in Houma, LA for many years and now lives in Edmond, OK.  Roger studied woodwinds at Nicholls State University for his bachelor’s and master’s degree.  He has played in many bands, including “Harry Connick, Jr.”, “Soul Survivors”, and “NiteLife”.  He may be heard on many of the tunes on all of our albums – “Hang On to Your Dreams”, “Smooth Sailing”, and “Journey of the Heart”.  And we're working on more tunes together now.  
 
>Clyde Pellegrin plays keyboard on this tune.  Let the rhythm shine through!  He is a master at the keyboard and has had numerous bands in the past in South Louisiana.  He has also served as Musical Director for a number of musicals. He lives in Houma, LA.  

Whose idea was it to come up with the album title, What's the matter with that?

>Actually, "What's the Matter with That?" is the name of the single.  The name of the album is "Smooth Sailing".  "What's the Matter with That?" is an anti-nuclear weapon song.  It is a plea from the common man to dispense with these incredibly powerful weapons and remove them from our arsenals.  They are incredibly destructive and can kill hundreds of thousands of people at a time.  They also pollute the air, water, and land with radioactive materials for very long periods of time.  In the years following a drop, cancer rates skyrocket.  Plutonium is an element which we made in the laboratory to assist in the construction of these bombs.  It is highly radioactive, with a long half-life.  Did you know that the probability of contracting cancer after coming into contact with only the smallest amount of plutonium is 100%.  

>The point of the song is to say, leave us alone.  All we want to do is lead our lives.  And you don't really want these weapons anyway.  You just wave them around and threaten other countries to make yourself appear stronger.  But - if we go down, and you go down too - because everyone goes down.  No planet.  

>"Smooth Sailing", on the other hand, is the song which is the title track of the album.  It is a 5-6 part a capella vocal piece.  Most of the music on this CD is what I call smooth rock.  Smooth harmonies, easy running melodies, and meaningful lyrics.  

With it being so many artists on this project, how would you describe the creative process?

>Hmmm.  Well, here's the process.  I basically write the song solo.  That's where I start.  Then I score the arrangement, defining what instruments I'd like to use and their parts.  I use partially scored parts, and partially improv parts.  Then I contact the various musicians in the band who play those instruments and invite them in for a session.  Finding a date that suits all of the musicians, our beautiful studio, and my schedule is often a challenge; but we get there.  Then we track the instrumentals.  It takes time.  Then we put the vocals down.  Sometimes I need to record and produce from remote studios in other states or other countries because the musicians can't make it to our specific session.  After all that, I spend months in the studio mixing the tune to make it right.  

If someone just discovered you guys music, what would be the main selling point to win over the fans?

>I think the main selling points would be - 

    -    Quality popular music, with a wide variety - lots of great vocals.
    -    Easy on the ear material
    -    A positive and "up" stage show.  

Do you guys plan on touring anytime soon?

>We've been primarily recording band since inception.  That was the model (like Steely Dan).  But we've had more and more pressure on us to play live - including suggestions that we do the New Orleans Jazz Fest.  I'd love to do this.  We now have a growing fan base due to radio airplay, just on the basis of the quality of our music.  I do not hype the band much.  My philosophy is to let the listener's ear make the decision as to whether he/she likes the music or not.  The stage show is the next step up - and it should be great.  

Besides music, what kind of things are you guys into?

>Hmmmm.  OK, I'll start with myself.  I am also a marine scientist/marine biologist/coral reef ecologist.  I have spent most of my life doing that, while writing and recording as well.  Roger Kimball is also a professional whiz computer programmer and analyst.  He's just as good at that as he is on sax.  Clyde Pellegrin is also an Independent Marketing Director at Team National.  Joe Raines is entirely immersed in music, as is Mark Trentecosta.  

Besides the band, who are some of the notable people who had helped you along the way?

>Another hard question.  I have had many excellent music teachers along the way.  In school and in private study.  Orchestra leaders, choir directors, numerous independent instrumental instructors.  And then there are all the musicians I have worked with over the years.  Amazing.  I have been challenged.  I always feel that I have to make my compositions and arrangements worthy enough for these musicians to play - because they're pro's.  So I work hard on that before distributing their scores.  Influences:  Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, Steely Dan, Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, Billy Fields, Kenny Rankin, Michael Franks, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, The Youngbloods, etc., etc.  

What can we expect from you in the near future?

>We're working on a new album now.  I don't have a title for it yet.  That usually comes later.  But it will be a mixture of originals plus beautiful old jazz standards which I have totally revamped.  I believe it will be a beautiful album.  

Any last remarks?

>I'm not sure.  Only that I do my best to produce real quality music for the listener.  The band enjoys recording it, and we enjoy working together.  I guess it was just meant to be.  


>Best Wishes,

>Paul W. Sammarco (of "Paul and Friends")


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