The story of THE WHISKEY VIOLETS began when co-founder/singer- songwriter Jon Nistal crossed paths with future co-founder Rich Mckenna. After being in several semi-successful local bands (Chance of a Lifetime, Dakota Grace), Nistal spent his time writing new material while searching for the right project with the right people.
At a young age Nistal showed a strong talent for songwriting and crafting memorable melodies which led him to be featured in a book, as well as multiple appearances on national radio and television including two live performances with legendary rock star Eddie Money. Nistal also toured the east coast twice as a frontman and principal songwriter.
When Nistal first met Mckenna, he sought a songwriting partner as dedicated and passionate as himself. During this time, Nistal auditioned for a hard rock project looking for a singer led by McKenna and future Whiskey Violets drummer Luke LaGrega. Although Jon performed well, the project was not the right fit and Nistal/McKenna went their separate ways. Mckenna recalls that "It's been three years and I still remember the melody Jon wrote on the spot to use over our chorus section from his tryout."
Above all, Mckenna always has had a passion for writing his own material. He began playing guitar and taking lessons from the age of twelve. He studied music during college, studying classical guitar with legendary guitarist Bill Zito. After years of frustration of performing without a singer, Mckenna began a new project in search of a vocalist. He decided to go out and find the best singer/songwriter he could to help develop his songwriting skills. This was an easy decision for Mckenna who already had Nistal in mind.
Mckenna set up a rendezvous with Nistal via the internet despite not even remembering who Nistal was or even what he looked like. Upon entering Nistal's apartment, the two hit it off immediately, exchanging their strong passions for writing new original music. Thirty minutes later, they created what would be the foundation for their single "Sunrise" which is featured on their debut album. As a songwriting team they could write and record the best material, and then set out to put together their dream band.
After writing some quality tracks that they eventually began to record, Mckenna was forced to cut ties with Nistal to work out some personal matters. During this time, Nistal created the short-lived Still Young Poets. On the same day Still Young Poets ended, Nistal called Mckenna to see if he was interested in resuming their songwriting partnership, and they were together the very next day.
After almost a year apart, Mckenna and Nistal picked up right were they had left off. Joe Ferrera of Still Young Poets remained loyal to NIstal and his drumming is featured on three Whiskey Violets tracks. He was later replaced by Luke LaGrega, who was a longtime band mate of Mckenna ,and, coincidentally, was in the band that Nistal originally tried out for when McKenna first caught a glimpse of Nistal's talent.
Luke LaGrega began playing drums at the age of nine and received his first drumset as a gift for his 12th birthday. By the time he was 14 years old, he was playing and recording with bands all over Long Island and New York City. He began studying with Marko Djordevic at age 20, and has been playing a variety of styles including jazz, metal, rock, hip hop, fusion, bluegrass, and r& b. ?
Alex Leicht rounded out the trio after replying to an internet advertisement for a new group looking for a bassist. Multi-instrumentalist Alex Leicht was impressed with Nistal's prominent use of vocal harmonies and memorable melodies, as well as Mckenna's creative guitar writing. Leicht's melodic and bouncy style made him an easy fit for the group. Leicht also teaches music at the Scholars’ Academy in Rockaway Park, New York. His strong knowledge of music makes him very easy to work with and was recognized as the missing link,
Jon Nistal - Vocals, Guitar
Rich McKenna - Guitar
Alexander Leicht - Bass Guitar
Luke LaGrega - Drums
The Whiskey Violets self-titled debut will be available June 2012. Hand in Hand, Don't Waste Time, Recognize, and It's Hard Sometimes are already streaming on all websites. Modern Rock 98.7 FM Coastal Carolinas has played "Recognize" and "Don't Waste Time" on the program "Fitz's Basement."
The Whiskey Violets: Unsigned Pop-Rock Band Will Perform At Several Local Venues in Support of Album Release
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The Whiskey Violets passion for creating original, accessible music with a focus on melody and creat...The Whiskey Violets passion for creating original, accessible music with a focus on melody and creativity shines on their debut release (recorded at The A Room Studios in Seaford, NY with producer Steve Ronsen).
For Fans of: Melodic, guitar driven pop-rock in the style of Brian Wilson, Death Cab for Cutie, Goo Goo Dolls, Gin Blossoms, Guster, and Toad the Wet Sprocket.
About: The Whiskey Violets are Jon Nistal (Vocals/Guitar), Rich Mckenna (Guitar), Alex Leicht (Bass), and Luke LaGrega (Drums), and are based in Long Island, NY.
• O’ Brien’s, Coram, New York, June 30, 2012
• National Underground, New York, New York, July 7, 2012
• Moose Lodge, Glen Cove, New York, July 28, 2012
• Ollies Point, Amityville, New York, Aug 3, 2012
• Mr. Beery’s, Bethpage, New York, Aug. 11, 2012
Review - The Whiskey Violets
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I was sent this record, one of the first actually sent to me with the intent to be reviewed in years...I was sent this record, one of the first actually sent to me with the intent to be reviewed in years. I at first was looking at it almost with a level of excitement, something about cracking back into something I’d grown accustomed to, an aesthetic that I sort of attempted to hone down to a stroke by stroke science. which then got me to the next phase of emotion about it: The Labor. there’s often a strange divide that occurs between what I enjoy with a casual ear and what I enjoy with my critical ear. and that weight can often feel unbearable, despite my knowledge that that divide exists. I ate the feeling, found some free time and threw this record on. I listened while my day was organically unfolding.
one thing that I can say about the first track, “Hand in Hand” is that I was singing the hook along with the track before it ended. I can stamp complete and utter quality on a song instantly if it can get this kind of grip on me. and it has the strange quality of getting me completely invested in the band’s intention and song writing ability if I see that they understand the value of a hook and how to craft a song around the power of just that. but there’s also something to be said for a song like “It’s Hard Sometimes” which consists of a very classic structure, and a very strong driving sound reminiscent of (I almost hesitate to say it) the beatles.
The Whiskey Violets have a very smart sound. they don’t overstep their allowance and exist almost exclusively in a contemporary and pop sound, but they flourish enough to let you see into their musical ability strengthened by their indie and 90s emo sound. there are some masked guitar bends and chord work reminiscent of the kinsellas to be found, most prevalently on the interlude of track six which doesn’t warrant itself a title in the track listing, but stands out as a banner to their capabilities.
this is a tough record not to enjoy. it takes no massive chances, but that isn’t to say it doesn’t pull from a very diverse and incredible spread of talent. what stands out most is jon nistal’s consistent, smooth vocals which do a lot more to serve the song than his ability has done in his previous projects (long islanders may remember chance of a lifetime or dakota grace). and with the growth of his range and application, it’s clear that this new project is one that’s got the most space and room for its wings to spread and take off into a more widespread audience. this record is pure quality.
Hand in Hand receives rave reviews on soundout.com!
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"The upbeat intro is great, with a melody that stands out. Great tone on that guitar. Rhythm guita..."The upbeat intro is great, with a melody that stands out. Great tone on that guitar. Rhythm guitar has that understated tone that is SO GOOD when you can hear it on tracks. The main melody has this soothing flute-ish sound that is just marvelous to hear. The solo at just under the 4 minute mark makes this song stand out a lot.
The vocals have really clear delivery, and there's a lot of emotion showing through them. The vocalist does not miss a beat, nor does he go out of pitch. Sounds a bit like James Labrie in Dream theater's more rockish songs.
The drums are also good, they are not predictable like one would think, as there's a lof of understated flair going on in this song. There is a bit just after the solo at the 4 minute mark where the drums really pick up and make this great.
Finally, at the end the melody of the flute comes together and forms some great harmony between all the instruments; it is a great way to finish a song, and this song is great."
"The melody is original. The lyrics are interesting and meaningful with some punchy phrases. The song is characterized by involving lyrics, feelings and mood, which are enhanced by the performance. This is a good track with some noticeable retro flavor. The melody is strong and memorable. This is a great song and performance. The harmony is dynamic. The title is consistent with the feelings propagated through the lyric and those two lines are strategically repeated in the Chorus, so the listener has more chances to remember it - well thought. This song is great and has great potential.The song could be a major radio hit, since it is so well done; it does not go on for too long, and it never makes you feel bored. There could be a lot of people hearing this at any given time, and this artist is someone that should be taken care of."
"Phenomenal energy and power... "Hand in Hand" is my favorite on youtube.com. The more I listen to this band, the more I like the sound. It has good rhythms and strong hit potential. The drums are smashing and super powerful. This song could be the next number one on the radio and television."
"Overall well-recorded and constructed"
"I liked the quick pace and lively tempo of this track. Jon Nistal's voice, as well as the guitar dynamics, were very influential in the sound along with good harmony and balance"
"The way that you use the guitar playing here is wonderful to me. I really enjoyed the harmonies in "Hand in Hand." Your music is really original to me. You have great emotion that comes alive right from the start. You have an riff that is near perfect to me...You have an very sunny vibe that makes me feel happy. I like the honesty in the lyrics"
The lead vocalist's range is nice, and I particularly like his use of falsetto. I find the melody of the verses very pleasant. The overall sound seems pretty commercial."
"The guitar sounds really crisp and beautiful!"
"I think the guitar beat for this is actually incredibly catchy, played so well, I like it a lot. The singing came in at just the right time and Jon has an absolutely fantastic voice!"
"Interesting use of instruments in the intro, singing comes in at just the right moment, sets the scene/mood nicely. The flow of the song is superb, pacing is great and varied enough to keeping attention throughout."
You have to have a song that is pleasant to listen to as well as being a great sing along song. At the same time, I know that there are people that have a different taste than me.The rhythm is powerful and balancad. The melody is well-shaped. At first glance it is a good song, and it is even better when you listen it for a second time. Vocals are delivered with confidence and are 99 percent flawless. The most important element of a song is the chorus. Yours is well built with context and rhyme. The rhythm is atmospheric. Good job with the idea it's truly the imagination in the beats production that makes it good and extremely unique. The use of instruments supports the style and creates a powerful environment. It is artistically and technically complete and is right on target for a Soft/Melodic Rock station."
" I think this band could have a great future in music"
Hand in Hand
Don't Waste Time
Start for Me
It's Hard Sometimes
There are no upcoming dates at this time.