by Seth Albaum
Vanilla Manvelope had two years of rehearsals in Lynn and plenty of gigs before deciding to purchase studio time at Q Division in Somerville as part of a fundraiser for Amiee Mann’s* drummer, John Sands, who had suffered a heart attack. It’s a good deed rewarded by the eventual release of their debut album, “Ceci nest pas un Vanilla Manvelope.”
The band had been a secondary project. “We’re so busy, and then we realized we had a great sound,” said drummer and downtown Lynn resident Jim Larkin. “We need to record this.”
Listen to Scarlett from the album (requires adobe flash):
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They say they’re a “Powerhouse rock group,” a mix of blues and soul. “We all come from these different places and vastly different bands,” says drummer Jim Larkin on a Tuesday evening in his Lynn Loft. Larkin alone, officially plays in six bands, some as drummer, some as bassist.
“It’s not that much work” says Larkin. “It’s all fun – I mean, Jesse Dee, one band that I play with, we just played for over one week in front of 15,000 people in four different venues.”
Singer and songwriter Sarah Seminski might seem familiar. She also writes and performs with Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket, a popular band that has played around a while, and locally at O’Brien’s Pub on Boston Street. Vanilla Manvelope’s bass player Joe Cesarz is also in Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket.
Guitarist Eric Reardon is well known on the North Shore, and perhaps the youngest member of the band. He got his start at age nine with lessons from his father. The story goes that he was brought in front of the stage at a Salem Jazz & Soul fest event and instantly hooked. He’s since received a lot of praise, notably from blues legend James Montgomery and Henley Douglas of the Boston Horns. Montgomery said, “He’s really got ears, not only for someone his age, but for anyone.”
The album is being celebrated not with just one release party, but two:
- Thursday, October 25, 9:30pm at Chianti’s in Beverly.
- Saturday, October 27, 7:30pm at Toad in Porter Square Cambridge.
As for drummer John Sands, Jim Larkin was just playing with him in the studio a few weeks ago.
The complete contents of the Vanilla Manvelope:
Sarah Seminski on vocals, Joe Cesarz on bass, Chris Sink on keys, Eric Reardon on guitar, Jim Larkin on drums.
*Amiee Mann fronted ‘Til Tuesday in the 80’s and sang the hit, Voices Carry.