For Florence resident and realtor Lisa Palumbo, music has always been a part of her life.
From growing up with a mother, Violet, who is an accomplished classical pianist and retired music teacher, to even teaching middle and high school choruses herself for 10 years in public schools throughout the northeast, Palumbo has always kept her toes in musical waters even if she has never quite gone for a complete dip.
“I was encouraged to pursue music from an early age,” she says. “Growing up and through college, I studied clarinet and played in concert bands and orchestras. I play piano, acoustic guitar and know my way around the flute a little bit. [But] I am so busy with my job and being a mother that I have limited time to write and play.”
That all might be changing soon as the talented singer and songwriter hopes to build off the release of her debut solo album River, which she recorded with local recording engineer Mark Alan Miller and a collection of band members perhaps best known in the Pioneer Valley for performing at several of the annual Transperformance festivals in Look Park as “Page Six.”
“The band members who play on my CD are my husband, Greg Eramo on drums, Tom Sturm who plays acoustic guitar, and piano on one tune, and sings harmony, Conor Dowling on bass and back-up vocals, Lesley Smith on vocals and Russell Chudnofsky on electric guitar and slide,” Palumbo says. “I have been so lucky to play with this group of friends. They take my songs, add their part and make them into something so much more than what they were.”
Watch Palumbo help portray Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with the other members of Page Six at the 2009 Transperformance in Look Park here:
With tracks like the bouncy “Mourning Song,” the piano-based “Water” and the radio-ready title cut, River plays like a mature and relaxed effort from a musician who has spent years honing her craft before taking the time to put her songs to tape. Though previous stints in projects like Lisaband and Cerillos Road saw Palumbo as the frontwoman, she sounds even more confident as the driving force behind the new disc. Many numbers feature very hummable melodies, and lyrically the material seems to spring from events in Palumbo’s own day-to-day life as well as influences like the texts of “The Sacred Harp,” which she cites as part of the inspiration behind the song “Rise.”
She says, “It works in two different ways for me. Sometimes, pieces of melodies and words are already in my mind. They swirl around and come back to me. Usually, the words express a feeling that I am working through on a subconscious or sometimes, conscious level. Then, I have to choose to sit down, find the time and write the rest of the song around what can seem like a preexisting melody. Other times, I strike a chord and just sing and listen to what comes out, switching up chords and melodies until I hear something interesting, something that expresses an emotion. If a melody makes me cry or laugh, I get the sense that I have hit on something.”
Though Palumbo has no immediate plans to play any shows in the area to promote her record, she is currently working on new songs and hopes to record another album as soon as she has 10 or 11 tracks finished.
“I have decided that it is worthwhile to keep making recordings,” she says. “Like hanging pictures in a gallery.”
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