ROY O'NEIL: American BrassRoy is a member and director of the Connecticut Songwriters Association and an ASCAP affiliate. His songs have received recognition by Billboard Magazine, Great American Song Contest, The Songs Inspired By Literature Contest, Nashville Song Search and American Songwriter Magazine. Two of his songs have been signed by a Nashville publisher and are being pitched to major label artists.
AMERICAN BRASS is a collection of songs that grew out of my experience growing up in Waterbury, Connecticut. I was born during World War II. The week I arrived President Roosevelt died and Harry Truman took over. The first President I remember was â€œIkeâ€ Eisenhower. Looked good in uniform and had a smile that was meant to sell toothpaste.
My early years were spent on Washington Hill, an Irish neighborhood on the south side of the city. We lived with my grandfather â€œDocâ€ Quinn, a real doctor complete with black bag, stethoscope, big olâ€™ 49 Hudson and this great big cigar that he was always puffing. He was a doctor when they still did house calls. Patients later told me they knew when â€œDocâ€ Quinn was in the house because they could smell his stogie from the third floor.
Mom was â€œDocâ€™sâ€ oldest daughter and I was the oldest of nine kids. Dad was a salesman for the Thinsheet Metals Company. Metal was a big deal in Waterbury. Back then it was the Brass Capital of the World. Waterbury made buttons for the Civil War, bullets for WW I and bombs for WW II, Korea and Vietnam. Then, brass went bust. The big mills all closed and the City has been struggling to find a new identity for itself ever since. Sound familiar? Maybe it sounds like your town.
But there must be something in the water. It may be an aphrodisiac or some other form of contaminant because people from Waterbury really like the place a lot or canâ€™t wait to get away.
AMERICAN BRASS is a CD that tells a story. In â€œTraveling Girlâ€ a young lady from the Brass City shouts out her desire to escape and see the world. She is off to bigger and better places. In â€œLandmarks & Lollipopsâ€ she is home for a visit and reminisces with her dad about their Sunday drives. â€œHigh School Reunionâ€ rekindles an old romance with her high school sweetheart. And in â€œStars and Moonâ€ she discovers that who youâ€™re with is more important than where you are.
The story is set in Waterbury and several songs provide local color. â€œWeâ€™ve Got Brassâ€ is an uptempo history lesson from early settlers to current politicians. â€œMeet Me At The Palaceâ€ tells the story of a local theater that was built in 1922 and has provided a venue for vaudeville shows, movies, rock concerts, big screen fights and broadway musicals. There were over 2000 palace theaters built across America in the 1920s, maybe you have one in your town.
â€œYesterdayâ€™s Backstreet CafÃ©â€ was a favorite bar that got torn down by urban renewal and â€œHoly Land, U.S.A.â€ is a real place - right there along I-84 between New York and Boston.
"Fallen Angel #243" was inspired by a character in John Fusco's novel PARADISE SALVAGE which is set in Waterbury. Angelo is a former Waterbury cop whose unsuccessful suicide attempt left him a quadraplegic. At the time I wrote the song there were 242 "Fallen Angel" titles registered.
Like the city it celebrates, the music on this CD is all mixed up. Thereâ€™s some brass, some country, some bible, a bit of â€œgreaseâ€, a touch of 50â€™s rock and roll, a little dance beat and some contemporary standard sound. What the songs share is an upbeat mood with lively lyrics and catchy melodies that will make you want to sing along or get up and dance.
Here's one review of "Yesterday's Backstreet Cafe" from the GarageBand.com site.
I love Dobro and banjo! I love this kind of music! You can see the whole thing in your head as you listen. It's such a good feeling song. All of the performances are very good, top notch players. The hook is very cool. I don't think I've ever heard it before, and that's what you strive to do as a writer. Good Job! The Lyrics are cool as well. Anytime you can create imagery with words, you've done a good job. People should be able to plug themselves right into the song. I don't know if I ever understood why it was called "yesterday's backstreet cafe" or not, but I know that it didn't matter to me. Good luck!
Reviewed by: tresajordan from Nashville, Tennessee
Here's a review of "High School Reunion" also from the GarageBand.com site
This is an up-tempo pleasant piece of fluff duet that opens with a honking tenor that is well recorded, as is the rest of the tune. A modern day 'paul and paula' the song's structure is the evermore made really famous in the 50's-- I VIm II V progression (a more or less recent song with these chords is 'hang fire' by the rolling stones). No grit or growl, the pair conveys a sense of fun which a song in this format requires. She's the better singer of the two, possessing good tone and meter with a smooth vibrato. Very effective white bread stuff, not edgy in any way, which suits me just fine. They find a hook in amongst all the sugar and it's just the kind of thing you'll like if you're a fan of sylvia or louise mandrell, janie fricke et. al. and... frankie avalon beach movies. Good tune.
Reviewed by: crossicepass from Shenandoah County, Virginia
Check out additional reviews at www.garageband.com/artist/royoneil.
Check out the artist's website:
1. We've Got Brass
2. Meet Me At The Palace
3. Traveling Girl
4. Yesterday's Backstreet Cafe
5. Give Me A Little Kiss
6. Landmarks & Lollipops
7. High School Reunion
8. Holy Land, U. S. A.
9. The Stars and Moon
10. Fallen Angel #243