Local Band Tunes Up To Represent

Photo by Laszlo Andacs.


Photo by Laszlo Andacs.
Photo by Laszlo Andacs.

Upstate Rubdown put their funk to the test when they served a slice of their musical stylings, “Sweet Hot Pie,” in the name of SUNY New Paltz.

The Generation SUNY Music Madness contest features videos submitted by musicians of original songs either straight from their album or performed live.

The contest requires each musician to be a student who attends a SUNY school, and their video submission featured on Generation SUNY’s website includes which school they represent.  Musicians advance in the contest by being voted on through Facebook or the Generation SUNY website.

The artist who ends up winning the contest will be featured on Generation SUNY’s blog and will thus gain more exposure throughout the SUNY system.

The contest began with 13 musicians and has been dwindled down to three, through three rounds of voting, the final round whcih ends on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Two of the three remaining musicians competing for the title hail from SUNY Oneonta and one from New Paltz. The New Paltz musicians fighting for the title are a team of two singers: Analise Rios, a second-year theater performance major and her friend, E.J. Rios, a first-year music theory and technology major at Mercy College.

Former contestants in the Generation SUNY Music Madness Contest, Upstate Rubdown, made it past the first and semifinal round of the contest.

Although they have not made the final round and are no longer in the running to be crowned Generation SUNY’s Music Madness Champion, their time in the contest was invaluable.

A local New Paltz band whose genre hops around from funk to R&B to gospel to bluegrass to Motown, Upstate Rubdown’s seven-member band features an array of instruments including a mandolin, saxophone, cello and cajon, as well as vocals.

“It’s hard to pin down particular adjectives to describe our sound because in many ways we are all over the place,” mandolin player and vocalist Ryan Chappell, a New Paltz alum, said. “Among all of us, we have backgrounds ranging from classical to jazz to gospel to bluegrass.”

Upstate Rubdown submitted a video of their song “Sweet Hot Pie,” from their album Still Moving, when they performed the song at The Falcon in Marlboro. The song, written by bassist Harry D’Agostino, has always been a favorite of the band and demonstrates their strengths, according to Chappel.

With a strong three-part vocal harmony, rhythmic changes and a dance vibe, vocalist Kate Scarlett, a fourth-year geology major, agrees that even though the video submission didn’t display the band’s usual show crowd, it did depict each band member’s onstage character and energy.

“While it certainly isn’t the best quality video, we chose to submit it because we think the song is definitely one of our catchiest works,” cellist Joseph Staten, a second-year undeclared major, said. “It’s fun, easy to listen to, and represents the ‘feel’ of the band pretty well.”

Upstate Rubdown decided to submit a video for the Music Madness contest because of their involvement in the SUNY system. According to Chappell, entering a contest that showcased SUNY students’ talent made sense to them, as they owe a lot of the band’s conception to the fact that all of its members attend New Paltz.

“We entered the contest because we wanted a chance to be recognized outside of the Hudson Valley where we normally perform,” Chappell said. “Each of our members is very involved in school, extracurricular activity and jobs, yet manage to give so much time and enthusiasm to the band. Being a part of this competition and achieving recognition is an extra reward for all their hard work.”