PM: How did Jennifer Hartswick come to sing on a track?
JH: I was really excited to get Jen on a track. It kinda happened organically. Arielle wrote the album with me, and we started the vocal tracking sessions for it and while she sounded great, she suggested to look around for a singer for “Getting There.” On a whim I emailed Jen and sent her the track and asked if she’d be interested in doing it because she really has such a powerhouse voice and she can really sit up there in that high register. She got right back and ended up tracking it in Nashville and did a remarkable job. I couldn’t be happier with her performance, she was the sweetest for helping out with that, it was great.
PM: How and when did your vocals develop?
JH: I’ve been working on my vocal chops! I look forward to singing some backups and working on it some more in this new project.
PM: You went to the Hart School and have ties to Hartford, CT.
JH: Hartford has always been a second home to me. They have their Booya Funk night on Wednesdays. I try to go down there as much as I can. Arch Street Tavern is one of my favorite venues to play. Going to the Hart School I got all my jazz chops from a really traditional program with some great leadership; I was lucky to study under Nat Reeves, Renee McLean and my guitar teacher Rich Goldstein who taught me everything I know.
PM: After the Hart School you moved back up here?
JH: Yeah the Chronicles were gigging a lot and I was playing with Way Down, who were my first sort of band that I had a stake of leadership in. It was all of our bands but I learned a lot about leadership skills and what it means to be a band leader, which makes me so excited to finally get this project off the ground. Really looking forward to taking something and calling it my project.
PM: How did you go from playing with The Chronicles to playing with Beau Sasser?
JH: I met Beau because Way Down was opening for Alan Evans’ Playonbrother and Beau invited me out to do one of his funk nights at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton, MA, He asked me to come out and play. I didn’t know what to expect and he didn’t send me any tunes, it’s kinda Beau’s way. I went out there and it was a very crazy packed jam party. From there Beau and I became really great friends and he wanted to start the Escape Plan and thought it would be cool to have a band with two guitar players. He brought Danny Mayer to the table and Mary Corso, who are both playing in the Eric Krasno Band now. Beau mentioned he wanted a vocalist and I was able to bring Mary, who I went to Hart School with, into the mix. We had maybe half a rehearsal and Mitch Moriber at Tone Wheel Music Group booked us a bunch of shows and off we went. I definitely do owe Beau some credit in introducing me to a lot of these folks who have been kind enough to play some music with me from time to time; pretty much everybody on the record.
The Escape Plan is fun, for all of us really, I think it was a really nice vehicle. We played some shows and met a lot of great people and we still play from time to time – Beau is with Kung Fu, Danny and Mary are with Eric Krasno Band. It’s been a funny little stepping stone for all of us I think. It’s like the family band at this point, we have a lot of fun when we get together.