A 'Sweet' homecoming at the Levitt
Published 5:12 pm, Wednesday, August 20, 2014
It could be easy to let the miles get between them, but for members of the Sweet Remains, such distance has no bearing when it comes to the harmonious bond, in song and spirit, that formed when the band came together about six years ago.
"We definitely call ourselves geographically challenged," said Greg Naughton, during a telephone interview from New York City, where he lives.
The Sweet Remains -- Naughton (who grew up in Weston), Rich Price of Burlington, Vt., and Brian Chartrand, of Phoenix -- is a trio of singer-songwriters whose love for lyrically rich music in three-part harmonies has led to three albums, including "Laurel & Sunset" in 2009, its live version "Live at the Canal Room," and "North & Prospect," which was released last year.
While all three have had or continue to enjoy solo careers, it was a meeting in 2008 that got the wheels turning on a collaborative approach. "I had known Rich for a fairly long time, and we had started writing and working together and playing together," said Naughton, who had contributed to Price's 2004 Geffen Records debut, which included the single "I'm On My Way" that was on the "Shrek 2" soundtrack. "We were fans of the harmonies that we were doing ... but we wished we had that third harmony."
It was another several years before Price crossed paths with Chartrand. "Rich was doing a solo tour across the country ... and he said, `I think I found the guy,' " Naughton said. So, the three got together in a hotel room in Rhode Island and began to play.
More InformationSWEET FRIDAY SOUNDS
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, 40 Jesup Road
Friday, Aug. 22, 8 p.m. Free.
"Fairly instantly, we were all kind of excited and convinced that we had found something that would keep us busy for a while," Naughton said.
For Naughton, it was a chance to shift gears from his solo work and concentrate on a collaborative experience -- and the timing could not have come sooner.
"For me, it was a much happier equation," he said. The addition of like-minded musicians gave him a boost at a time he had been considering a hiatus from the music business.
Naughton, whose father is actor and singer James Naughton, had come to music from a theater background and had discovered that a solo career in music lacked the creative collaborations he enjoyed while working in theater. "That was the biggest void for me," he said.
With Sweet Remains, Naughton found kindred spirits, in musical temperament and creative process -- more was better. Such mutual respect leads to a smooth songwriting process, which often takes place on the road in between performances.
Perhaps some will take place this week when the trio makes an appearance Friday at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts.
For Naughton, he knows the place well, having grown up in nearby Weston, and he will likely get to know it better, since he soon will move to Westport with his family.
"We come at (the music) with the same view, the same aesthetic, as we all lean toward folk rock," Naughton said of the band. "But we have all developed specialties."
Naughton tends to seek more complicated vocal arrangements, while Price pushes for more complicated arrangements. Chartrand typically seeks simplicity in the sound.
"Even all that tends to work out," Naughton said, adding that their last record reflects that multi-layered approach. "Each of us has an expertise and those songs reflect that."
Recently, the band has enjoyed success on the online music service Spotify where its single "Dance With Me," from the band's first album, has received more than 2 million listens. Still, Naughton said he's pleased the band's success has gone on apace, slowly and steadily, which affords time to have side projects, time with friends and families and a manageable touring schedule.
"Negotiating three different people's lives and egos is not easy," he said. "But this has obviously been worth it to us."