Whitney Road

Tell us about yourself.

Whitney Road is a musical project that started with the marriage of Ann and Doug O’Connor in 2012. Writing songs and performing at local wineries and coffee houses, Ann and Doug became part of the Hudson Valley, NY music scene.

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Tell us about yourself as an artist.

Whitney Road is an original music project. After many years of playing gigs where we played mainly cover material, we decided to record some of our original songs. We released our debut CD in 2016 called “The Road So Far”. The critical success of that first album has inspired us to put even greater focus on writing and recording original music.

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Tell us about the genre of your music.

Whitney Road music combines elements of Americana, Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Country, and Classic Rock. Our music reflects background and history of the players, and is reminiscent of the kind of music we listened to growing up.

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Tell us about the story behind your song.

One night at a rehearsal, our guitar player was sharing a story about a traffic situation and blurted out “Tool in a Pickup Truck”.  Ann ran with the idea and a few days later, she demoed the song for the band. Always a popular live tune, we decided to record it and release it as a single earlier this year.

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Tell us about the challenges you are facing as a musician.

So many challenges to choose from. Top of the list would be how to get your original music out into the complex music business ecosystem. There really is an overabundance of really good new original music out and there it’s so easy to get lost.  Small fish in a big pond?  More like a microscopic fish in the ocean.

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Tell us about the recording and production of the song.

“Tool” was cut in our home recording studio. We recorded the rhythm section live and then tracked the vocals on some of the lead parts. Peter Dunphy is on drums, Brian Osborne on bass, Doug O’Connor on rhythm guitar, John Anderson on lead and slide guitar, and Ann Whitney O’Connor on vocals. Keyboard parts were tracked by a friend in Virginia (Drave Taylor) and merged into the session (the miracle of technology!). Additional mixing and mastering was provided by Subcat Studios in Syracuse NY.

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Tell us the names of blogs, radio or TV stations that have supported you so far.

Whitney Road was picked up (via Submit Hub) by “Factory Fast Records” in Feb 2017 – they featured our tune “Weight of the World” on a compilation CD.  We worked with a NYC promoter (called “Serious Bob”) in 2016 to get on Americana radio playlists. 2 local radio stations in New York State, (WKZE Red Hook, NY, and WEXT Albany, NY) invited us to perform live on radio shows in August of 2016.  We also were featured on WHUD (Westchester, NY) as a featured new local artist. We currently have all of our tunes featured on Internet radio (jango.com) where we have made the “Top 10 most plays” list.

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Tell us more about your music career, experience and future goals.

All the players in Whitney Road have been playing music for the last 30 years. The variety of backgrounds and tastes (including jam band, musical theatre, Celtic music, blues, and progressive rock) contribute to a cool, different sound within the band. Our goals are to keep writing, recording, and releasing original Whitney Road music.  The ultimate goal is to play shows in good listening venues where folks come to hear us play our own music. Additionally – we are interesting in selling our songs, or the rights to our songs to have them used (Perhaps in films, etc…).  Active touring (beyond the New York regional area) is not in the cards for Whitney Road.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

Inspiration hits all the time from everywhere. I keep a small notebook with me where I record an interesting sentence or phrase. For example – I picked up a text recently where a friend commented: “you don’t need a blow torch to light a candle”. Or the way Ann grabbed a phrase and built a song around it. Just got to keep your ears and eyes open for all those little nuggets that come your way every day.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.

Wow… if we only knew the secret.  I suppose the key is to not overthink it and try to do much with the music. A great song is a great song.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

Decide up front what you hope to achieve. Do you want to tour and build a following from the ground up, do you want to be mainly a cover band and gig a lot, or do you want to write and record your own music, etc.    Also – be prepared for rejection – as good as you think your music is – there will be many folks that will not like it (and they will let you know it). Finally – the music business is a very different place in 2017. There are at least 10,000 other bands that are in the same space as you, making similar music that they think is new and innovative. It is a tough and often unfriendly environment. Odd of real success (where you can quit your day job) is quite low for sure.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.

For the most part, most of the members of Whitney Road have spent the majority of their musical careers in what could best be described as amateur cover band related pursuits. The lead vocalist – Ann Whitney O’Connor is a little different in that she was very active in musical theatre and has a very strong resume of acting and singing in shows.

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

Everyone in the band writes differently and presents their song ideas in different ways. Ann is a poet and lyricist and will most often present a strong melody with well-constructed lyrics. Most others in the band will bring ideas, fragments, patterns, and progressions for collaboration. Having access to a home recording studio allows for greater experimentation and helps drive the iterative process of recording, listening, adjusting, etc…

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Name the artists you are willing to collaborate with.

That’s a pretty long list actually. One of my favorite new songwriters is Taylor Goldsmith from the band “Dawes”. Their stuff is fresh but also reminds me of an earlier vibe (early 70’s).

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State the links to your social networks and stores for purchase of your songs.

https://www.facebook.com/whitneyroadmusic/

https://www.whitneyroad.com/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7frJWYU6bmYJgqrCUoTNgD

https://itun.es/us/MIZgbb

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.

In terms of Whitney Road history – the happiest day was the day the box of debut album CDs arrived; the saddest day was when our former lead guitarist John Anderson left the band to pursue another project.

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

Keeping it music related; I would surely start with key investments in a killer studio space. Would also incorporate a video / filming system. If not just music related – would take care of my family (children) and relatives to make sure everyone was OK.

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Tell us about your song.

“Tool” is designed to be a simple country rocker with that angry sarcastic female attitude. This one is all about the groove and the witty, entertaining lyrics. The original studio takes had the tune running a bit longer – we wound up reducing the jams to shoot for a 4 minute tune. (Make it easily digestible by the listener).

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Tell us how you manage other activities with your music career.

We all have day jobs which help cover living expenses and also help us fund our music projects (especially studio related investments). All about the balance and making the strategic sacrifices to carve out time for music.

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Tell us five artists you can regard as legends.

Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Richard Thompson, Buddy Rich, The Beatles.

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Tell us your future plans pertaining music.

Ann and I are relocating to a farm in upstate NY where we will build a new music studio. The plan is to keep on writing a recording music until the good Lord takes us home!

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Tell us what you think about creativity and originality in music.

It almost feels like there is less in terms of pure “originality” and more of genre merging. I am constantly on the hunt for new music and luckily, there is a lot out there.  One of my main avenues for new music is Spotify – both the weekly discovery lists and the Spotify radio stations. I find myself jotting down names and exploring. Here is an example of something I find really interesting – heard this tune recently and really dig the arrangement and production –

https://open.spotify.com/track/0ChJiLGMDPkCVkUpxSNkNB

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Tell us the reason you are into music.

Was always that way – since I was a child. I recall when in 2nd grade – I heard the school band rehearsing and immediately went home and decided I had to play trumpet. Once I started, I never stopped. I also grew up in a great era for music – the early 70’s had some great music – early influences include Credence Clearwater Revival, the Eagles, Led Zepplin.

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Tell us your view on old school music and new school music in terms of preference.

I would not select one or the other as a preference. There is great music in each school.

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Tell us your most memorable day as an artist.

One specific day does not stick out but I recall some Whitney Road gigs where everything just clicked and it sounded just perfect.  There are those special moments where it’s all just effortless and beautiful.

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Tell us what you would do for the people if you found yourself in a position of power.

Have to be careful here not to share my political views about how much I despise how the current power brokers handle things. I think I would focus on trying to help those folks that need the help.  There are a ton of people in this world that are living really tough lives while others get filthy rich. I don’t claim to be a socialist, but I feel like those who have should do more to help those who have not.

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