TORRINGTON — When the Red Room All Stars band joined a group of other musicians June 21 to celebrate International Make Music Day, they put their own special twist on the performance at the event, sponsored by the NWCT Arts Council.
The band was named for The Red Room Sound Studio. Owners Lucinda Rowe and Mick Connolly decided to open their first set as a redux of the iconic rooftop concert by the Beatles in 1969.
The studio is on the third floor of a 1912 building that was originally the Odd Fellows Hall and then the Nutmeg Ballet for many years. The roof of that building was too high for the band to be visible from the street, so they sought permission from their landlord, Steve Temkin and Five Points Gallery founder and executive director Judith McElhone to use the gallery roof instead.
The Red Room All Stars are Mick Connolly on guitars and vocals; Lucinda Rowe on guitar/vocals/percussion; Gary Fiandra on drums; Marc Russell on bass, and Chris Morrison on vocals and guitar.
“This is our touring band when we are on the road,” said Rowe. “Recent tours have taken us to the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama, Key West, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Boston.”
Rowe and Connolly both grew up in Newtown, and were involved with music they were teenagers, becoming songwriters, producers and sound engineers.
As the duo Lucinda & Michael, they have performed at Infinity Hall in Norfolk and the Warner Theatre, and have toured nationally. Whether as an acoustic duo or with a full band, Lucinda & Michael has performed with or opened for many legacy artists including Pat Benatar, Eddie Money, Ricky Byrd of Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Patty Smythe and Scandal, REO Speedwagon, Tony Bennett, KC and The Sunshine Band, Stevie Nicks, The Guess Who, The Monkees, The Georgia Satellites and Sophie B. Hawkins. They have had a recording studio in the basement of their Litchfield home since 2012, that drew up-and-coming artists as well as legends.
Connolly described the circa-1970 equipment as “vintage analog.”
“I’ve been recording on tape for most of my music career. I love the format, the sound saturation and the process of recording on tape which requires the utmost precision, using a razor to cut and edit,” he said.
The multi-track recorder utilizes two-inch recording tape and can record 24 track of isolated signal from microphone or line level input, he said.
“It’s half mechanical and half electronic, and even though it’s 43 years old, music just sounds better on tape,” he said. “Young artists who come here are blown away by the sound and want to record their music that way.”
The studio also offers a multi-channel studio recording mixing console and an analog-based overdrive pedal for adding distortion or overdrive to a guitar signal. It drives the guitar tone to distort and make an electric guitar sound beefy at lower volume levels, Connolly said.
Rowe, a professional vocal coach, offers vocal direction during recording.
“We don’t have autotune,” she noted, “so people need to know how to sing. I am there to assure the artist gets the best vocal take, using techniques I learned from performing as much as we do.”
The couple is excited by the massive space they now have to work with on Water Street, and are planning to expand their operations to use the entire 3,000-square-feet of the third floor. Most recently, Steve Katz, a platinum award-winning artist and founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, recorded his newest release “The Juggle” at the Red Room Sound Studio, along with rock icon Andy Pratt of “Avenging Annie” fame.
The studio has also welcomed well-known names in their “In Studio with the Stars” series, hosting Steve Katz, 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ricky Byrd, formerly of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Corey Glover of Living Colour.
Rowe is the owner of Flying Key Entertainment, LLC a full-service management/booking company working with both up-and-coming artists and legendary artists.
“I used to wear a pendant of a key around my neck and every time I wore it, another opportunity opened up for me as an artist,” she said. “It became a good luck charm of sorts so I named the company after it.”
The couple also plans to host showcase events to benefit nonprofits, social service and volunteer organizations in Torrington and are considering partnering in some way with their neighbor, Five Points Gallery.
Maddie Stenson, program director for Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, said that in addition to the Red Room All Stars, there were 13 other diverse performers on Make Music Day.
“I just want to mention that, even before Make Music Day, Lucinda and Michael did an incredible job of marketing Red Room’s participation on social media. They posted every day to hype their rooftop performance,” she said. “Their band sounded amazing coming from the roof of Five Points, and many people gathered on the sidewalks to watch. I even saw people roll down their car windows to listen. They performed three sets between 1-3 p.m. including a full set of Beatles songs and covers of Fleetwood Mac and Elton John. Even though the heat was pretty brutal that day, they powered through. They really made local history. Lucinda and Michael bring a new and refreshing energy to the culture of downtown Torrington through Red Room Sound Studio, and we’re thrilled they are a part of the community.”
The Red Room Sound Studio is located at 21 Water Street, 3rd Floor in Torrington. For information on booking studio time or details on events, call 860-361-6801 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.