Local Noise: Jeff Gorra

Jeff Gorra has been in and out of a number of bands over the years, but it’s with his first solo effort that he’s meeting with real success.

“I just did an acoustic performance on a radio show in Times Square this past week which was great,” he reported. “I have a new band now that has been supporting me since my record came out, and we played Sullivan Hall in New York City in October. It was one of the more successful and fun shows I have ever been a part of.”

And with the solo record, Jeff really made it a personal project.

“I wrote all the music and performed the guitar parts, sitar and all vocals on the record,” he explained. “The producer I worked with, Craig Levy, was also a great musician, and played the instruments I could not, such as the piano, keyboards and drums.”

While most solo artists seem to be of the singer/songwriter mentality, Jeff is definitely more of the rock variety.

“I can’t really pinpoint one specific genre, but I would say a mix of rock, alternative and contemporary,” he said. “There are two ballads on the record as well.”

The project may be recent, but the seeds have been brewing for a number of years.

“I had a few songs that I had written when I was playing in a band that never really found a place,” he recalled. “A few I let go, and a few I just kept fine tuning to the point where I really liked them. I’m always writing and playing no matter where I am in my life musically. In late 2009 I had a decent batch and without a music ‘project’ or band going on, I decided to embark on the solo record mission. This then led me down an intense writing path and before I knew it I had enough to assemble a solid album. Long story short, I met Craig Levy and visited his studio in Brooklyn. It was the perfect opportunity so starting in February of 2010 I went on lock down in the studio and the record was completed and released by June.”

Jeff is constantly working on ideas for his compositions.

“I’m always writing lyrics and jotting down notes of emotions that somewhat tell a story of an intense subject matter I want to write about,” he said. “A song never really takes shape for me though until I write the music. I have four great guitars, but I always write on my oldest, cheapest, cracked Ibanez acoustic. After all the hell I put it through, it always treats me well and sounds great. My best songs seem to happen fast and I get in a bit of zone. I have to be inspired by something, or be tunnel vision focused on a particular subject in order to accurately craft the song. A great friend of mine, and fellow musician, recently said his favorite thing about my songs is that I wear my heart on my sleeve in my lyrics. I take it quite seriously where every single line means something specific. I love intense meaning.”

Several of the songs from the CD have been resonating with fans.

“The opening track on the record, ‘Underneath Your Waves,’ has gone over quite well and has gotten some radio play,” Jeff said. “‘Red, White and Confused’ and ‘Austin’ also seem to be a few people always point out. My personal favorites are ‘The Reins’ and ‘Lighthouse.’ ‘The Reins’ carries such a heavy meaning to me and is my favorite type of song.”

That particular track, “The Reins,” is the title track of the album.

“There are a few basic themes to my record such as taking control, being an underdog, not backing down, and realizing what’s important to you,” Jeff continued. “All of which I have lived, continue to live and learn from. ‘The Reins’ serves as the backbone and foundation of the record, where everything else lies upon. Without taking control of your own path and destiny and carrying on, how are you ever going to get to where you want to be? I feel strongly about that and really only like to write about real and relevant subject matters that I can relate to and have experienced. It’s good and sometimes bad, but I tend to always feel I need to squeeze the most passion out of every day as I can, and it sometimes translates into song form. ‘The Reins’ was just the best title to capture everything I have experienced and that I am trying to say. The last line of the song says it all; ‘…all I’m trying to say is you have to care to take the reins’.”

For more information about Jeff Gorra and The Reins, go to myspace.com/Jgorra, or feel free to contact him through his management at greenriverj@gmail.com.