November 1, 2012

Longtime musicians, friends ready to jam


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Singer-songwriter Roy Hurd and fiddler Frank Orsini pair up again Friday at the Palmer Street Coffeehouse.

“Frank and I have played together since the 1980s,” Hurd said. “I played a lot around Glens Falls and the Troy area, and we ran into each other. He played a couple of gigs with me. He was on my very first record on cassette.”

The musicians do not rehearse.

“I pop a few new songs on him, and he doesn’t blink. He’s a very aware sideman. He sits back and listens to what happens and puts the shine on it. He’s has a good sense of what happens next, even when I try to trip him up. Playing with him is always a real pleasure and a real treat.”

Palmer Street has been one of Hurd’s favorite venues since the 1970s.

“I’ve been playing there since Katie White and those folks ran it. Before that, I don’t remember who was running it. I don’t think it was called the Palmer Street Coffeehouse. Now that I turned 30, my memory is slipping,” he said.

Hurd had a pretty good summer concert-wise and with sales of “Wayward Son,” which he released two springs ago.

“That’s the first one out of my own little studio. I was wearing all the hats — the engineer, the producer, the artist. People who buy it really love it,” he said.

He’s at work on a spring release, “Broken Heart Tattoo.”

“It will have 10 songs. I have picked eight so far. I’m still toying with some other ones. I have enough material for a few albums at this point. I’m always writing ahead,” Hurd said.

He’s thinking of getting another tattoo to illustrate the CD cover art.

“My friend Kristin at In Living Color Tattoo and I are talking about it. She’s my exterior decorator.”

The title track, a ballad, is about a woman who has given up on love because she was hurt so bad and lied to.

“This guy says hello to her everyday,” Hurd said. “She sees him as the enemy. He’s hoping he can somehow break through and heal that broken-heart tattoo.”

“Farm Girl” was inspired by his sister-in-law, a farm girl in Brandon, Vt.

“The farm girls around here and Ellenburg really love the song. A farm girl is a farm girl no matter where they are from. They can fix anything,” he said.

Hurd said he’s not a fixing guy.

“Put a guitar in my hand, people feel safe. Put a Skilsaw in my hand, and people start backing away.”

During Easter, Hurd visited his nephew Tully Kennedy, a Nashville-based bassist. On the way, he visited some former Saratoga friends, Kathy and Vinny Lombardi, who live in Virginia.

“I haven’t seen them for quite a few years,” he said.

When he started the trip, Hurd wrote “Let Your Heart Have its Way,” and he finished it last week.

“It’s hopeful and healing and about working through doubt … a search for answers,” he said.

The new disc will include “Kathy’s Kitchen,” which he wrote years ago for Kathy Lombardi.

“She’s the kind of person, you swear she never leaves the table, and all of a sudden it’s filled with food.”

He asked Tim Hartnett to play bass on the project.

“Tim and I have this thing; when I get a project done, he’s the second person I play it for,” Hurd said.

“Meadow (Hurd’s daughter) is my go-to girl. She has a good radar and good feel about what is the right melody and phrasing-wise and lyrically. And Tim is like that. He has a good sense of music.”

Email Robin Caudell:

IF YOU GO WHO: Roy Hurd and Frank Orsini. WHEN: Doors open at 7 p.m. Music begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday. WHERE: Palmer Street Coffehouse, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4 Palmer St., Plattsburgh. ADMISSION: $10.