A Gift Of Music: Chad Hollister Continues To Shine As One Of Vermont's Premeire Artists
Cidermag.com Bellows Falls, Vt. December, 2013
BURLINGTON, VT. – Chad Hollister has been one busy musician since the last time this writer caught up to him about a year-and-a-half ago… but that’s really no surprise for he is simply doing what he loves, making music that he enjoys first – in hopes that some others are going to like it too. “I really don’t care about the ‘image’ stuff or changing what I do in order to please someone else,” Hollister once told this writer.
Photos courtesy of Chad Hollister 1. Cider cover photo by Woody Weider 2. photo by Josh Ainsworth 3. CD cover art by Katie O'Rourke
“For me, music is a gift so I choose to do it my way... too many get angry about what they are doing and it really doesn’t have to be that way. Everyone has a gift so go out there, find your gift and do it!” Well, let it be known that Chad has been sharing quite a bit of his gift as of late, playing several dates throughout Vermont and beyond.
This of course, is simply a continuation of what Hollister has been doing nearly his whole life, having recorded six full-length albums and sharing the stage over the years with such artists as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick, Paul Simon, Phish, Little Feat, Violent Femmes, Blues Traveler, The Samples and Dave Mason… not to mention the countless talented local artists that Chad has collaborated with as well.
“Of course, I’ll always love playing the local, intimate club scene simply because they are some of my favorite places to play,” Hollister stated in a recent Cider interview. “However, I am also starting to play some larger theatres of at least 100 seats and up as well… sort of challenging myself to step it up. We’re building a stage set and bringing in a lighting director to enhance the shows. We’ll also be offering a limited edition concert poster at our upcoming Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center show in Stowe.”
But we digress… After recording his first two CDs titled Chad & Jeff and Long Haired Boy, Chad really considers his third release, 1998’s Chad, to be his first. “Chad was the one where I really got serious about the music and said ‘Okay, let’s do this and blast it to the world.’”
Chad was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by the Grammy Award-winning Charlie Midnight, who has worked with such artists as the Doobie Brothers, James Brown, George Thorogood and Joni Mitchell. “To this day, some of my fans tell me they love the songs on that album,” Hollister says. “But it was from that point, however, that I really started to learn and grow as an artist.”
In 2002, Chad released Life, which he recorded at the home studio of another accomplished producer, John Alagia. Alagia, who has worked with the Dave Matthews Band, Liz Phair, John Mayer and The Ben Folds Five, met Hollister by chance. “I was performing at a wedding in the Hamptons when I met John,” Chad said. “So, I sent him a tape of the songs I was working on and he loved them!” A couple of cool guest appearances on Life included percussionist Giovanni Hildago, who has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Santana and Paul Simon, as well as guitarist Bob Coons from the Jerry Garcia Band.
Three years later (2005) Hollister released Spirits and worked with yet another prominent producer in Jim Chapdelaine, who studied guitar with Pat Metheny at Boston’s Berklee School of Music and has collaborated with The Allman Brothers Band, Delbert McClinton, Phoebe Snow and Paula Cole. “Spirits was a special recording for me, as I had a financial backer for the project which allowed me to take a more time in the studio. I always try to make each new record better than the last and I really felt we had nailed it with Spirits.”
In 2009, the man released the self-titled Chad Hollister, a most well-rounded disc all full of high-energy rockers, groovy vibes, a ballad for balance and a very cool cover of The Cars’ hit song “My Best Friend's Girl.” “We racked our brains about which cover song to record and it got to the point where we were over-thinking it. Then one day while driving to the studio, “My Best Friend's Girl” came on the radio and I just thought ‘that’s the song!’”
This time, the CD was produced (if you’ve noticed, Chad has gotten very good at choosing producers) and engineered respectively by the incredible Boston-based studio team of Anthony J. Resta and Karyadi Sutedja. Resta has worked with such talents as Blondie, Elton John, Collective Soul, Megadeth, Dale Bozzio and Perry Farrell. “Anthony and Karyadi are simply amazing in the studio and frankly, editing masters,” Chad says. “What I really loved about this recording process was that there were no egos or ‘rock star’ crap… it was just a very creative and relaxed atmosphere to work in.”
Fast-forwarding to his current endeavors, Chad continues to play out all over the Northeast and across America in various line ups and solo guest appearances. His touring band (The Chad Hollister Band) which has been together in various forms for nearly a decade, currently includes drummer Tommy Diehl (Cheap Trick, Bon Jovi, Gov’t Mule), guitarist Jerry Goldsmith (John Meyer, Victor Bailey, Jeffrey Gaines) and Rutland’s own Jared Johnson (The Samples) on bass.
Along with his regular band lineup, Chad also plays out as the Chad Hollister Trio - with old friends Jeff Poremski and Steve Benson – along with various solo and one-off appearances with various musical friends. “With my band, as well as solo shows, I jump all over the place to keep it fresh and fun, working with a lot of different local musicians.”
Some recent local appearances have included stints at On Tap in Essex Junction, Rollie’s in Belfast, Maine, The Whammy in Calais, VT., Pierces Inn in Etna, NH, a radio chat on WBKM-Radio in Burlington and as the Chad Hollister Trio, a cool show at The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA with Jamie Kent & The Options for their new EP release. And that just covers November! “I had heard about Jamie through some friends and we’ve wanted to do a show together for a while now,” Chad said. “I really love playing that room (Lizard Lounge) and it had been a while since I played in Boston and we had a great time.”
Hollister has also started writing and recording his next CD release in which he plans to try something new (for him); recording and making available, one new song at a time. “I’ve been working on songs from my home studio and after meeting with producers and the idea was presented to me I thought… I released my previous six titles the traditional way so why not try something new?
“It will be an ambiguous process for me, writing one at a time and selling each song individually through my Web site and ReverbNation, then releasing the full-length CD at the end of the process. I’ve been working at my home studio on songs and some soundtrack music and I should be releasing the first song for the new CD in a month or so. The song is called “Breathe” – it’s a stripped down ballad with acoustic guitar, vocals and cello.”
The soundtrack music Chad speaks of is an exciting project he is working on with legendary extreme skier and filmmaker Dan Egan. “I’m working on a song titled “All White” which will be featured in an upcoming, cutting-edge Egan documentary film titled Dying to Ski. Three different versions of the song – instrumental, acoustic and band-versions will be appearing in this ambitious film. The song will also be featured on my new CD as well.”
Another event you won’t want to miss is The Chad Hollister Band’s upcoming appearance (January 18) at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe, Vermont. “The show will feature my eight-piece band including a three-piece horn section led by Chris Peterman, with special guest Bow Thayer opening the show. We’re really going to up the ante with this show as we’re bringing in Jason Leggett (lighting director for Grace Potter and The Nocturnals) for the stage and lighting and Rachael Bischoff as sound engineer.” Rachael is the sound engineer at Higher Ground in South Burlington and bass tech for Mike Gordon of Phish.
Indeed, with all this musical activity in his world, it appears Chad has created the perfect situation for himself and his band(s), which allows him to do exactly what he wants; creating the best music he can while doing it all his way… and all because he found his gift in life. To learn more about Chad Hollister and all his musical activity, visit his Web site at www.chadmusic.com.