Pete Kronowitt Sings His Songs & Tells All
From the very first track, "Dragon Song," it's obvious that Pete Kronowitt's (www.petekronowitt.com) second self-released album, Threads, is a very personal project. "The concept behind Threads is that each song represents its own story," explains Pete of the CD. "The complete collection of songs creates an interwoven narrative of family, friends, emotion, and personal perspectives of societal struggles."
RealAudio: "Dragon Song"
Throughout the disc, this binding "thread" can be felt, from the song about his younger sister's struggle with diabetes - which led to Pete's parents founding of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation - to the song about the night he proposed to his wife and the song he wrote for his grandmother's eightieth birthday. As a whole, the album is so refreshingly innocent and heartfelt that if the sincerity in the songs weren't almost palpable, the album could be dismissed as corny and simplistic. It's because of this sincerity that Kronowitt succeeds where someone less brave and less willing to bare all would fail miserably.
Kronowitt came to love music at an early age, despite growing up in a relatively non-musical family. "I was one of those kids who had a little transistor radio struck to my ear," he says. "I used to sing along with everything. And then I picked up a guitar in the 6th grade, and figured out how to play a few songs." He laughs. "And then I put the guitar down, and didn't pick it up again until college. In college, my roommate played the guitar, and I played his guitar so much that when he moved out to get married, he ended up leaving his guitar for me."
From there, the self-taught musician went on to play a few local coffee shops before pursuing his adult life in the world of technology - these days, he works at Intel developing strategic relationships with software companies. But still, the music muse bugged him, enough so that he picked up the guitar again and began to accumulate enough material to think about putting an album of his own out on his own home label, Mean Bean Records.
RealAudio: "Now It's We"
"It was a long process," says Kronowitt of the making of Threads. "The way I came up with the concept for the CD is I started thinking about each song, and each song has its own individual story. As the name would imply, the songs themselves actually interweave, and there's a narrative there between friends and family, my personal perspectives on social issues, and all those things ended up telling a bigger story for me. I actually believe that there's another piece of this project that extends to what I would do with the Web site, or what I would do with intermingling the songs to tell the story with words, pictures, and stuff like that. It's going to take a while to actually fulfil the vision of that project, but that's the idea.
RealAudio: "Ballad Of Pete & Heather"
"And I think every artist has the opportunity to really expand what they're saying through telling the story. You know, any song that you hear, the most powerful songs, of course, can convey themselves with just the melody and the lyrics, but there are so few of them. I think to get a feel for an artist, you have to understand a little more about them. Only when you understand what they're trying to say, do you appreciate what they were saying. And I think that's true for any artist, in any media, and I think that's what you have the opportunity to do when you're expanding beyond the music. So that was the intent.
RealAudio: "Cure Is The Key"
"I decided to release my records on my own label mostly because I had friends who did it that way, and they struggled, and I think I wanted to struggle along as well," says Kronowitt of Mean Bean. "I just didn't see myself pursuing music as a career, and I figured that rather than pursue all the dead-end paths and try to get signed to a label, it seemed like it'd make more sense just to release it myself. It didn't work out really well," he finishes, laughing.
Despite his dismissal of the album as a personal project that wasn't meant to make much money, Threads comes across as a highly professional and well-thought-out album. The CD cover art is spare, subtle, and beautiful, a stylized guitar and mandolin that appear to be cut out of brightly-colored construction paper, while the inside is full of spare little sketches to go along with each song. The recording quality of the album is superb, a fact that Kronowitt credits to the album's producer, Pete Snell.
RealAudio: "Without You"
"I really respect the production side of recording music," he says. "I decided a long time ago, while I was working on my first album and I saw the passion and the artistry in production, that production was not my forte. I didn't have the ear that a good producer has, and I realized how significant it was to hire a producer who really was an artist. I see that producers are artists as much as anyone else in this industry," he adds.
Snell also brought in the crew of musicians that backed Kronowitt on the album, which includes Snell on guitar, Kate Higgins on vocals, Armando Compean on bass, Bob Fernandez and Lee Spath on percussion, Rich Eames on keyboards, and Mike Bolger on accordion and trumpet. "The band on the album is a bunch of guys who have been session musicians for a long time," says Kronowitt. "They're really adept at jazz, for the most part, but they have some pop sensibilities. Snell himself toured with Lyle Lovitt, but the guys, they've played with everybody in the L.A. area.
"What I like doing is writing songs and performing them, and I haven't played a lot with bands," he finishes. "On my CD release party, we put together the band that played on the CD, and that was probably the most fun I've had. I can't even think of anything that would compare to that." Music from both of Kronowitt's CDs can be downloaded from his Web site, www.petekronowitt.com, as well as information regarding purchasing the CDs themselves.
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