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Playin’ in the Band–Parents Find Their Groove

Like the songs of various birds on a summer morning, it all came together to form sweet music. That is what members of a hastily assembled band heard when they rehearsed for a lark of a performance at a benefit for the Indian Mountain School in Lakeville back in 2010. Several dads and a mother of students at the school got together at that impromptu performance and nine years later, with one subtraction and two additions, they are still making it jive.

“Some of us had known one another loosely through our kids before we met in May of 2010,” explains songwriter Bryan McCoy. “We were all musicians and had been in bands. Ram Miles, a music teacher at Indian Mountain School, brought us together to perform at the gala. It turned out to be even more fun than we expected.”

When the five-song “cocktail set” was well received the band knew it might be onto something. The band, which now consists of McCoy, Michael Vaughn Acord, Jim Krissel, Ram Miles, Rob Putnam, Deborah Newallo, and Darren Winston, have demanding careers that often call for extensive traveling. Acord, Winston, and Krissel live in Sharon, McCoy and Miles live in Cornwall, Putnam in Alford, Massachusetts, and Newallo in New York City. But when the group, originally called The Parental Units, morphed into The Harlem Line Band they knew they wanted to stick together. With Newallo’s talented and soulful voice powering the group, it started taking on more gigs and private parties, their first being at The Boathouse restaurant in Lakeville.

The Harlem Line Band, which classifies itself as a “seven-piece rock and roll band” plays covers of songs by a diverse group of artists, from the Rolling Stones to Aretha Franklin and now its originals. McCoy’s throaty voice complements Newallo’s atomic gospel-tinged vocals, the slick guitar work of Krissel, Miles, and Winston lights up the stage, and Acord’s strong drumming drives it all down the road with keyboardist Putnam.

The band plays annually every March at the Jane Lloyd Fund Benefit at The White Hart Inn in Salisbury and has also appeared at The Lantern in Wassaic, and the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City, to name a few.

Whenever all the members can find the time they rehearse in a barn on Krissel’s property. “We play off one another and bring our own sensibilities to the music,” says Winston. “We are always respectful to the original music that we are covering, while putting our own spin on it.”

The band is beginning to work in some original music to their sets. “I think down the road that is where we are headed, doing more of our own music and recording,” McCoy says. Miles’ idea for that first performance has blossomed into a long-lasting friendship and legitimate musical enterprise. “The reaction we continue to get to our music is the fuel that keeps the band going,” says Acord. “It has been very uplifting to us all.”

With their new EP self-entitled The Harlem Line Band, they are sure to reach a whole new cadre of fans.


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