Nor'easter: A hard rock legacy project
"Long ago in a galaxy far, far away..."
While this strange pandemic year sidelined the tour bus indefinitely, it does mark a quarter century since Andrew's debut CD Traveler arrived. He hasn't always been an acoustic guitarist or a singer/songwriter, but his guitar and creative urges have been part of his life since he was 12. When he was 20 he formed Nor'easter, an original hard rock band, with his childhood friend and longtime drummer Matt Bouley and vocalist Christopher A. Gursky. Taking their moniker from the iconic Atlantic storms that lash New England in fall and winter, it seemed an apt description of their sound - fierce, swirling and powerful.
Over a three-year period and three different bassists, they performed rarely but enjoyed great local fanfare in eastern Connecticut as well as notoriety with local authorities. During that time they created an album's worth of songs evocative of both late 70s Rush and Led Zeppelin and the early 80s guitar-driven heavy metal along the lines of Ozzy Osbourne and Yngwie Malmsteen. In 1987, largely due to the lack of viable venues for original heavy rock bands in that area, they dissolved the band and moved on to other musical projects.
In 1989 their friend Pat Mills offered to record them on his 8-track reel studio. Despite being two years removed from their final show, the three original members were eager to preserve the music they had created together. They recorded ten songs that summer and made a rough mix, but didn't have the resources - or the technology - to properly finish producing an album. What is routine editing, mixing and polishing nowadays was simply impossible in the analog world in which they had recorded.
With the advent of digital recording technology, in late 2002 Andrew was able to get the tracks transferred onto his digital workstation with the hope of someday bringing the recording to life. A few weeks later Matt passed away, leaving behind two teenage children. While Andrew hoped to be able to preserve their father's musical legacy, his busy touring schedule and singer/songwriter career didn't leave much time for an intensive audio engineering project without a touring entity to promote it.
But when the pandemic put his career on hold, Andrew once again contemplated tackling the Nor'easter album. To his dismay, he found that the digital files he'd so carefully transferred had been corrupted. Fearing that the project had been lost, he turned to his longtime engineer and friend Dustin Delage, who was miraculously able to recover the original tracks and import them successfully into audio software.
Thus, in this time where the world is turned upside down, something old and precious has fallen out of our pockets. With Dustin's help, Andrew has been carefully and painstakingly working with those original tracks to bring them to life the way the band had always envisioned (read his emotional thoughts about it here on the blog). It is exciting to hear Calm Before the Storm coming together; the raw rock energy and intricate arrangements that offer a window into Andrew's early musical years, while hinting at the musical craftsmanship that has become one of his trademarks. Nor'easter's sound is loud and heavy, but with an engaging musicality.
Now as summer 2021 winds down Andrew and Dustin are in the studio together mixing the tracks into form. They are ready to share a song or two in an Online First Listen Party at 9pm EDT on October 3rd, the anniversary of Matt's passing. While there is no official deadline, the album is on track to be finished in late 2021 and released in digital form. For those who were there in the early days at the band's loudly memorable performances, it will be a welcome revisit of their youth as well. But the music stands the test of time too, like many of the songs of the mid-80s era that have gone on to arena rock classics. We're excited to share it with you.
Consider this the first storm warning; there's a Nor'easter coming late this year.