By Anthony J. Machcinski
Using decades of experience gained in prior bands, Jersey Sound has become one of the area’s top oldies bands. Jersey Sound will draw upon that same experience when they perform at Lyndhurst’s Whiskey Café this Saturday.
Jersey Sound was formed in 2005 by guitarist Phil Bruno, who had broken away from a prior band and was looking for a fresh start.
“We [Jersey Sound members] knew each other throughout the years,” Bruno said. “We had mutual friends and said we wanted to get something new.”
The band is composed of area residents vocalists Jim Cotugno and Michael Delvey, drummer Pete Del Vecchio, keyboardist Dom DiGioia, Bruno on guitar, and bass guitarist Paul Tarlow.
For both Bruno and Del Vecchio, the journey into the music industry began when they were kids.
“My parents sent me for accordion lessons and I didn’t really like it,” Del Vecchio said. “A year or so later, I was playing ball and I kept hearing this guy playing drums. I told my parents and then I went back for drum lessons.”
Bruno got his start listening to fellow Belleville resident Tommy DeVito with The Four Seasons.
“The Four Seasons were a big influence on me,” Bruno said. “(DeVito) grew up in my neighborhood so they were huge for me.”
Despite its members’ different backgrounds, the band has bonded through a common dedication towards their craft.
“It’s more than just a group of musicians,” Bruno said. “This group we have is more like a family. Everyone feels for one another.”
Bruno said that what separates Jersey Sound from other bands is that dedication and the lack of overbearing personalities in the band.
“The one thing about this band – there is no jealousy or egos,” Bruno said. “Everyone is on the same level and I think that’s a big part of having a successful band.”
While the group performs a wide variety of songs from the 1960s and 1970s, the group hopes that it will be more known for its diversity.
“We used to do a lot of ’50s music, then we decided to move on into the ’60s and ’70s, doing the music that most groups aren’t doing,” Bruno explained. “The Turtles, The Buckinghams, The Zombies. When you hear these songs, you say, ‘I remember that song,’ but not many bands are doing it. “What I want to do with this group are things nobody else is doing.”
It appears as if Jersey Sound, and their reputation as one of the best oldies bands in the area, hit the mark with their goal.
In 2012, the band recorded and released its first CD, the 12-track album titled “Sandy Sessions.” While the infamous hurricane of that name battered the East Coast, Jersey Sound remained Jersey Strong and hunkered down – recording all 12 tracks of the album.
“We started recording it the day Sandy hit,” said Del Vecchio. “People loved it.”
The album features a wide variety of hits, including The Turtles’ “Happy Together,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and Elvis Presley’s “The Wonder of You.”
Each song on the “Sandy Sessions” album is a hit, and not just because the original bands made the songs hits years ago. Jersey Sound has its own unique sound.
From the first track, “Hungry Heart,” to the final track, “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers, Jersey Sound provides all the sound anyone can ask for – from perfect harmonies to soulful background music. The band’s dedication to each track can be discerned in every note heard, whether through a set of speakers at a venue or a set of headphones in your home.
While Jersey Sound continues to play gigs throughout the area, their eyes are still set on the future and bigger venues. The band is expected to record their second CD, which includes some original music.
“Our goal is to be as good as we can be,” Bruno said. “We want to be one of New Jersey’s best oldies bands. We do this for the love of the music.”