STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Imagine going from sharing your music via Facebook to performing in front of 2,000 Philadelphia Freedoms fans.
That’s the crazy kind of ride it’s been since last year for 23-year-old Philly singer/songwriter, guitarist and Episcopal Academy grad Chris Paterno.
When a solo EP Paterno had recorded in college grabbed the attention of an employee of the World Team Tennis franchise, he was told he would have to assemble a backing band in a span of two months to play a one hour and 45 minute set during a pre-match block party at the Villanova Pavilion.
“The first person I called was my old high school English teacher,” he said in a phone interview. That’s Chris Paterno Band’s drummer, Doug Parsons.
Such was the urgency to get a proper band together that they recruited bassist Mark Hightower, a teacher at Episcopal Academy’s Inter Academic Athletic Association rival, the Haverford School. “He’s also an excellent singer,” Paterno said of Hightower.
They pulled it off, Paterno said, because “Philly has done a good job of creating a music community. The horn players (in the Chris Paterno Band) all knew each other from playing in wedding bands and things like that.”
The horn section makes the five songs on the band’s debut EP stand out, with a throwback sound out of the ‘70s Philly soul records and Chicago’s early work. “Our producer, Joe Nicolo, said: ‘You sound like the Chicago Transit Authority album’,” Paterno said. Nicolo, who runs a recording studio in Conshohocken, has won nine Grammy Awards and worked with Aerosmith, Billy Joel and Cyndi Lauper. He saw the band play at Chaplin’s in Spring City, and became an instant fan.
Take a listen at https://soundcloud.com/chrispaternomusic, then consider buying the EP. The band is donating 20 percent of streaming revenue and 10 percent of overall sales to the Philadelphia-based Project HOME, a nonprofit that helps the homeless community.
On Black Friday at World Cafe Live will be a show that Paterno promised would feature “awkward dance moves.” “To be playing with this group is really special because this is the group I’m most proud of. World Cafe Live is a name that everybody recognizes. They have a really great built-in audience,” he said.
According to Paterno, the band will take the month of December off to finish their next release, as well as a live EP in both audio and video formats.
Stay tuned at http://chrispaternomusic.com and www.facebook.com/chrispaternomusic.