Violet Mary – Featured Band On 365 Radio Network
Violet Mary is a Modern Groove Rock, Pop, Blues, Jam band from Rochester, NY influenced by Big Wreck, King’s X, Led Zeppelin, U2, Radiohead, Susan Tedeschi, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Joe Bonamassa, The Black Crowes, Norah Jones, Rush, Dream Theater, The Who
Violet Mary made its debut in 2007 , founded by newlyweds, Mike and Mel Muscarella, the first few years of the band’s existence featured a rotating cast of characters, but the core of the band stayed consistent. Mel sang lead vocals and played keyboard and other assorted keyed instruments, while Mike played guitar and sang…for food…primarily cookies.
In 2014, longtime friend and fan, Joe Myers joined the band on drums and quickly got to work on the band’s fourth studio album, All That We Seem, which stretched the boundaries of the band’s imagination. From dense, orchestral, cinematic pieces to harmony-drenched pop hooks, All That We Seem encompasses 18 months of beautiful and terrible things in the lives of the band and their community. In an era when songs are purchased individually and bands are releasing music in small quantities, Violet Mary boldly went where few bands have gone before; they released not one, but two CDs full of deep rock pockets (patent pending). All That We Seem was nominated in City Newspaper’s Best of Rochester 2015 for Best Album and Violet Mary was nominated for Best Original Band.
Violet Mary welcomed two new members, Jason Tortorici on guitar and backing vocals, and Brennan Terry on bass guitar, in early 2017.
Violet Mary has shared the stage with acts as diverse as Big Gigantic and Moe, Rik Emmett and Rita Coolidge, Gin Blossoms, and Dawes. They’ve been featured in Rochester’s City Newspaper, The Syracuse New Times and Fireworks Magazine based in London, England. In 2015, Violet Mary established a creative partnership with innovators in local craft spirits, Black Button Distilling, to produce a new single, Raise Your Glass, a song about our shared values of community and craft creation.
In addition, Violet Mary works in partnership with a humanitarian organization from the Rochester area called The Ugandan Water Project. This world-changing, grassroots organization works directly with Ugandans to provide life-giving, disease-free, and sustainable water to communities in Uganda through the installation of rainwater collection tanks and filtration systems. The band’s work with the project has resulted in the installation of nearly a dozen of these tanks, which provide water to tens of thousands of Ugandans. Mike and Mel have each traveled to Uganda with the project, and the band hosts a yearly fundraising event during the holidays. During this event, the band works with the Rochester community to raise money for one tank in one night full of hope, intense excitement, and philanthropy. For Violet Mary, making music is a communal art, a peaceful creative revolution with room for everyone.
All That We Seem album is not just another album by Violet Mary. For the five-piece outfit, this fourth effort is their most ambitious work to date – where no style is immune from their hands. While their familiar blues-rock remains a vital force, Violet Mary expands their palette with journeys into Radiohead-inspired alt-rock, rollicking power pop, blue-eyed funk, string-driven folk balladry, orchestral whimsy, and even tunes with a social conscience rarely heard in their previous albums.
“I think that the album was meant to be diverse (as always), but with a defining structure lyrically as well as musically,” recounts bassist and co-producer Martin Dorren. “The lyrical themes are more hybrids of social and personal reflection and how both are intertwined within each other… both chickens and both eggs. Musically, we tried to separate the ‘darker’ energy on the first disk from the ‘lighter’ on the second. It was our hope that the colors of each song then would have a certain continuity, not unlike a musical suite.”
The band returned to Belly of the Whale Studio, their creative home away from home since the band’s first record in 2009, in October 2014 with a batch of songs unlike any they’d previously released. They each had a dark and deeply personal tone to them, like a person staring into the abyss. Yet, as tracking and further writing evolved and some lighter songs were brought to the table, it became clear that the record was, in fact, a two-volume affair. According to guitarist and percussionist Scott Cranfill, ”After struggling with cutting down the songs we had written to a typical album length, we simply couldn’t part with any of them. We also realized that they somewhat separated into two groups by musical feel, so it seemed like a natural fit to release a double album.”
“All That We Seem is a further exploration of our various musical and lyrical sensibilities,” notes Dorren. “It incorporates different styles within one song as well as diverse interpretations given to each song as a personality. We try to do this as more of a fun adventure, though… For instance, a song like ‘Here with You’ has an admittedly 70s vibe to it, simply because we thought it would be fun to explore that.”
Violet Mary strives for collaboration through empathy for each other’s musical roots. These roots dictate the message that is trying to come out in each member’s vision for a piece. The desire for each voice to be heard often creates something that is unlike any of the members’ original intentions. “Many bands deal with inner conflict, both individually and amongst the members,” Dorren observes, implying that Violet Mary is not immune to either. “This is not uncommon for sensitive artists that are passionate about their work. Violet Mary’s sensitivity and passion is shared with one goal in mind: collaborative expression.”
All That We Seem is different from anything you have heard from Violet Mary, but breathe in deep, listen to the musical beauty come out, and savor it all – including one brilliant stop-and-start of an ending.
Mel Muscarella – Vocals, Keyboards;
Mike Muscarella – Guitar, Vocals;
Joe Myers – Drums, Yelling, Sarcasm;
Jason Tortorici – Guitar
Brennan Terry – Bass