CORNWALL, Ontario – There is a palpable kinship between a close-knit group of local musicians, in two different bands, that has, for years, blurred the lines of membership. That tradition now continues with a recent collaborative recording.
“The camaraderie is special,” said Sean Harley, frontman for Trench Town Oddities (with Steve Restinetti, Shane Levac, Jessy James Brown and Randy Lalonde), one of two bands on Bonk!, a six-song EP, released earlier this summer.
“We’re almost like one band; we hang out all the time,” said Harley about his group and the guys in Winston Marley (Joel Plamondon, Marc Brault, Ron Piquette and Steve Restinetti), who not only share billing on the new “album,” but a guitarist, as well.
We’re all interchangeable,” said Plamondon, who explained that it all began a decade ago with a group called The Dub Dogs. Eventually they would split in to two bands – some coming, some going – however continued to play together, socially and professionally.
As a marker of sort, they all decided to put together a collection of songs, each contributing two originals, and a cover of the other’s.
Assembled in bits and pieces, over a period of time, individually and collectively, the project is very raw, said Harley. “It’s very much what we’re all about; a real co-op; a close knit community of musicians. It’s really nice.”
With two distinctive sounds, Winston Marley, an “up-tempo, fun, party band” with Ska and Reggae influences, and Trench Town Oddities, self-described folk-rockers, there is no mistaking their common passion for music.
“We’re all at the same level musically,” said newly-wed, Plamondon, who explained that although he and his band take their music very seriously, they are not planning on taking it on the road, whereas Harley and his boys are ready to go wherever it will take them.
With a couple of close calls to some major gigs, and no doubt more great things to come, Trench Town Oddities, puts a lot of mileage on their passports, playing every weekend in the States. Upcoming, locally, they will be rocking the stage at Ribfest.
“Obviously we’d all like to make a living out of playing music,” said Harley about his aspirations. “It’s been an interesting ride for us, we’ve had some really big ups and some really big downs, but we keep moving forward. That’s all we can do. We’re open to whatever.”
One thing is for certain, they agree; wherever their music takes any of them, their bond, like one big band of brothers, will remain intact.
Bonk! is currently available off CD Baby and Band Camp, and hard copies are soon to be available at Melody Music and through the guys. You can visit http://www.winstonmarley.com and http://www.trenchtownoddities.com more on the bands and their previous releases.