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The best kept secret in music


"Roxbury's Veloray making waves in local scene"


Moving from soft harmonies floating above acoustic guitar and harmonica, to in-your-face bass and drums backing a twin guitar attack, Roxbury-based Veloray is managing to turn heads.
It's a feat all the more admirable given the fact that purveyors of their brand of music - whether you call it alt-country, roots rock, or Americana - are in short supply in Connecticut.
"We're winning them over," said Veloray guitarist Phil Beach of Roxbury, who along with Lee-Ann Zarrella (vocals), Fred Krug (guitar), Bob Csugie (bass/vocals) and Christopher Folgelstrom (drums) has been performing since 2005.
All of the band's musicians are from the Waterbury area. Beach attributes their growing popularity to good song writing, something he learned from two of his biggest influences - alt-country pioneer Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt) and Gin Blossoms founding member Doug Hopkins, whom he met while living in Tempe, Ariz.
Hopkins wrote the Gin Blossoms hit singles “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You” before being fired from the band while recording their 1992 release “New Miserable Experience,” which features both songs.
“When I’m writing a song, that’s where it’s coming from. For me, it’s that power that Farrar brings to the folk/country stuff and Hopkins, he was this big hulking rock star cowboy on the outside, but he taught me that a good hook is just as powerful as being dark.”
Beach is quick to admit that Veloray’s brand of roots rock isn’t breaking any new ground, but adds that it does fill a neglected niche in Connecticut.
“There’s nothing new and original about the type of music we’re doing, but around here people look at us like, ‘What are you doing?’ “ he said. “There aren’t too many bands around here that are doing that roots rock, Americana, alt-country thing. There seem to be some pretty heavy bands in Connecticut so I think we’re pretty lucky that we found a niche.”
It seems that niche might be expanding a bit.
The band recently returned from an appearance at the Block Island Music Festival in Rhode Island, and Beach said they found a welcoming audience.
Veloray was also the winner of the 2006 Western Connecticut State Battle Of The Bands and has broken into the Final Four of the Mohegan Sun Battle Of The Bands. (The next round is August 9th)
Being an original band is notoriously tough. Beach said Veloray hedges it’s bets by dedicating about half their set to covers.
“We bait ‘em in with the covers and then right when we’ve got them where we want them, we throw the originals in,” he said. “And one good thing I’ve heard is that people can’t tell the originals from the covers.”
Beyond local shows and duking it out with other bands, Veloray is preparing to go into the studio to release a full-length CD.
From there, he said, they want to go “as far as it can take us.”
“We’re all looking each other in the eye lately and realizing we’ve got something special here and there’s a damn good chance we’re going to get the opportunity.”
Veloray plays an all ages show with The Appreciation Post tomorrow night, 10 p.m., at Empress Ballroom, 155 Main St. in Danbury.
Tickets are $10.
- The Danbury News-Times

"Block Island Music Festival 2006"


Veloray - You could classify this CT-based group as roots rock, alt-country or indie-rock with a dynamic scope. We classify them as awesome. With tight harmonies, swooping melodies and solid musicianship, Veloray kicks off our mainstage lineup. - The Block Island Summer-Times

"KXA Battle Of The Bands a Success, Veloray Wins"


Folk-rock band Veloray emerged victorious from the final round of Kappa Chi Alpha’s Battle Of The Bands last Friday night at City Center Danbury’s Monkey Bar. In addition to Bragging rights, Veloray also took home the event’s $1000 prize.
Veloray is best known for their song “Neon” and their fun stage presence. They covered the song “Glory Box” by Portishead as well.
“The song ‘Neon’ sounded just like their CD, and I recognized it right away,” said sophomore Jessica Capra, “I had a good time watching them.”
Rythym guitarist Phil Beach said “Danbury has been very good to us, and we will definitely be playing around here as much as we can. there is obviously great support for local original bands, and that’s a very cool thing…and even cooler that we’ve had the opportunity to make our presence known and join the band community here. We’ve only been together since last November (2005), but it’s been a boost for our cause…so a big thanks to all of the bands and fans who made this such a good time.”
Veloray’s bassist, Bob Csugie, felt very privileged to win the prize. “It feels great and very rewarding. we played with some great bands tonight,” he said.
- The Echo (WCSU Student Newspaper)

"Veloray At Cafe Nine"

JANUARY 11TH, 2007

By guitarist Phil Beach's own admission, describing the music of his Roxbury-based band Veloray is no easy task. But if there had to be a genre, he thinks it would be alt-country…or roots rock.

"Labels like that are hard," said Beach, noting that the listeners are the ones who often designate the category. "We just sound like us."

People can decide for themselves when Veloray performs this Thursday, Jan. 11, at Café Nine in New Haven.

Veloray formed more than a year ago, but already have 16 original songs, gig almost weekly, won a battle of the bands at Western Connecticut State University and are nearing completion of its first album, "Manifold." Manifold, of course, means "many folds and features," which is a definition that can be easily reconciled with the band's sound.

With all these achievements in such a relatively short period of time, Beach cautiously suggests his five-piece band is "on the fast track."

"Not too many bands are doing what we do, "said Beach, explaining Veloray's momentum. "Lots of Connecticut bands play darker, heavier stuff, and then people hear our jingle-jangle (music) and it makes them scratch their heads. So I'd say we found a niche."

And the covers Veloray mixes in at the live shows are more unconventional than one would here from the typical "party" cover bands. In other words, expect more Little Feat than Bon Jovi.

Café Nine is located at 250 State Street and admission is $4. Bluegrass music with Royer's One Man Band will start the show at 10 p.m. Veloray hits the stage at 11p.m.

More information at or
- CTNow

"Making A Mix with Phil Beach"


Who: Phil Beach, guitarist for the Roxbury-based Veloray. The band (Lee-Ann Zarrella, left, Fred Krug, Bob Csugie, Beach and Chris Fogelstrom) makes rootsy alt county with the dynamic shifts of the Old 97's. The quintet goes from quiet to loud in a matter of seconds, and can calm a bar down with an acoustic, Gram Parson-like waltz or rev it up with some jangle rock, a la R.E.M.

Where you can see him: Beach and Veloray play Cafe Nine with Eric Royer at around 10 p.m. Thursday. Weekend caught the band a little over a year ago opening for Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers in Watertown and it was quite the show. Playing before the best live band in America must be daunting, but Veloray came out swinging.

Written by Phil Beach -

"Carnival Of Sorts," R.E.M. — The sparseness and minimalism of early R.E.M. was a lesson in musical economy. If nothing else, it rendered the whole idea of forming a band and writing songs very real and attainable for a lot of kids.

"For What It's Worth," Buffalo Springfield — Stephen Stills and Neil Young's first band together gave us this gem, but I would say that anything that either of them has done, whether solo or with CSNY, has been a touchstone of sorts.

"Alex Chilton," The Replacements (part 1 of a three-artist link) — Paul Westerberg is a great American songwriter, but the 'Mats was the vehicle for delivering his beautifully penned shoot-from-the-hip yet poignant-as-a-needle anthems of angst and longing. I remember going to see them at Toad's in 1991, and Tommy Stinson was fall-down drunk, but like an impending trainwreck, I couldn't look away for one second.

"Postcard," Uncle Tupelo (part 2) — Thank God I decided to get to Toad's early to see the Replacements, otherwise I would've missed out on this band that has stood the test of time as my all-time favorite. Son Volt and Wilco are great, but to have heard Farrar and Tweedy tearing it up as UT was amazing. It still blows my mind how they were able to so seamlessly meld the punk-like angular starts and stops of the verses with the lilting country chorus in this song.

"September Gurls," Big Star (part 3) — As the namesake for a Replacements' song, who was Alex Chilton anyway? In my resolute rock-lore research, I discovered that he was the dude who sang "The Letter" by the Box Tops. But it was with Big Star that he started writing his own songs. This one in particular was the realization that for me, candid lyrical vulnerability trumps larger-than-life rock star posturing.

"Barrier Reef," Old 97's — A great band that feels good in so many ways, whether I'm listening to it on a long road trip or covering one of the songs with Veloray. This could quite possibly be one of the most perfect barroom-band tunes ever written.

"Pieces Of The Night," Gin Blossoms — I moved to Tempe, Ariz., from Connecticut back in '92, and I was fortunate to have become friends with Doug Hopkins before he took his own life. As an aspiring songwriter, I was all ears, whether listening to his music or listening to him talk about music. Occasionally, there are times when I still say to myself, "What would Doug do here?" when I'm writing, although I don't think I'd ever be able to put a Shakespearean reference, a Greek mythology reference and an alcohol-induced blackout reference into the same song.

"Angeles," Elliott Smith — You either get Elliott or you don't. For those of us who do, the catharsis of his music lies in the very same place that those who don't get him run from: the sadness and despondency. I guess it's kind of like semi-intentionally renting a sad movie when you're sad.

"I Feel Alright," Steve Earle — One of the first artists that really opened my eyes to the fact that there's Nashville country music, and there's good country music. "Conquerors and concubines, conjurers of darker times" is one of my all-time favorite lines ever written.

"Fun, Fun, Fun," The Beach Boys — The first memory I have of deciding I wanted to listen to a song, and then playing it for myself was this song — on 8-track — jumping around the living room with my brother as the Beach Boys (duh). This also explains where my current-day penchant for repeatedly (uh, obsessively) listening to a song over and over and over and over most likely sprouted from.

- New Haven Register (CT Central online)

"Head To The Nine"


If you saw Phil Beach's Making a Mix in last Friday's Weekend, then you know this guy has some good taste, from the Old 97's to Uncle Tupelo, from the Gin Blossoms to R.E.M.

Thinking about those groups, it should be obvious that Beach's band, Veloray, plays alt country. Good alt country. I saw Veloray open for Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers (the best live band in America) sometime during the summer of 2005, and let's just say Veloray held its own. It was a great show at a great venue (the criminally under-used Red Door in Watertown).

Tonight is your chance to see Veloray around here. The band plays Cafe Nine with Eric Royer. See for yourself what a good local alt-country band sounds like.
- Pat Ferrucci - New Haven Register's Music Editor

"Veloray Pleases Danbury with Diverse Styles"


"...she has a very nice and smooth voice," said Jen Ackerly, a Senior at WestConn. Matt O'Sheridan, also a Senior at westConn, simply described Zarrella's voice as "beautiful."

"...a bus wheels out of 1974, and out steps Veloray; rock 'n roll the way it should sound," said Jon Selwyn, musician and student at WestConn."
- The Echo (WCSU Student Newspaper)


NEON receives airplay on our local radio station, WRKI 95.1 fm in Brookfield, CT. Also, these tracks can be accessed on their myspace page.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Veloray hit the ground running in November 2005 and has experienced a year-long run of steady gigs, contest successes, and general acclaim. The Northeast corridor has not seen the likes of too many bands rooted in the rock and roll, folk and countryish genres that they employ, but yet they have managed to turn heads at regular local shows, and have also done very well for themselves at the three contests they entered in 2006: The Western Connecticut State University Battle Of The Bands (1st Place); the Mohegan Sun Battle Of The Bands (Runners-Up); The WRKI 95.1 FM Garage Band Challenge (1st Place). Although not a contest per se, they were also invitees to the 2006 Block Island Music Festival. Their success can be attributed to many different things, but most notably: experienced songwriting that pays homage to the importance of a good hook; 3 vocalists who share the lead vocalist role while also employing tight, infectious harmonies; intelligent, dynamic song arrangements; high energy performances that have proven to be contagious to all in attendance.