Dave Polemeni was part of the burgeoning New Jerseyrock scene back in the late ‘80s, and had the hair, the look, and the big rock hooks to match. His band, Boystown, was a staple on the Jersey scene, and had record labels constantly checking them out. “In 1989 we recorded the Boystown CD Angels With Dirty Faces for AIR/EMI Records in the UK,” he recalls. “Two songs, ‘I Need Shelter’ and ‘Get Up,’ from that CD, were used in the Fox TV show 21 Jump Street, starring Johnny Depp. That brought more opportunities from TV & film.”
Those opportunities led Dave to become a part of the publishing and soundtrack world, even including a move to the West Coast for a short time in recent years. He penned the title-track for a film called In The Kingdom Of The Blind, The Man With One Eye Is King, which starred CSI’s William Petersen. That started a series of recordings for various films that were seen on HBO, Showtime, and the Hallmark channel.
But Dave never stopped receiving interest in Boystown, and in 2006 they did a digital release of Angels With Dirty Faces. In subsequent years they released Orphans, which contained some live tracks and several songs the band had finished that didn’t make the initial album. The group has a universal sound, so it is attracting new fans as well as the original ones. “Yes, old and new fans,” Dave says. “We hit the Journey/Bryan Adams niche, and it keeps growing. Just recently a Facebook fan page went up out of theUK.”
In addition to the Boystown releases, Dave also contributed two recordings of Stephen Stills songs for a CD called Undercover’s Smash Hits. The two songs, “For What It’s Worth” and “Love The One You’re With,” were the first two songs released on iTunes under his own name.
He also continued writing, and in 2012 Dave wrote a song called “Everything’s Changed” for the web series BLUE, starring Julia Stiles, which was performed by co-star Uriah Shelton.
After all that success, it seemed the time was right for Dave to release something on his own, and he’s just come out with a new EP under his own name, titled Spring Valley Line. One might expect more rock and heavy guitars, similar to what he garnered acclaim for in his Boystown days, but what he’s come up with is an intense, acoustic-guitar-and-vocal powerhouse of a release.
“I wanted to return to my roots,” Dave explains. “Jim Croce, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, and rebuild my sound from the ground up. I began archiving songs with voice and acoustic guitar. The songs on Spring Valley Line are live ‘one takes,’ but I felt the spirit and emotion got across. I strummed angry if the character was angry. I was interested in performance more than perfection.”
Dave feels the sparse nature of the songs allows the songwriting to shine through, rather than be complicated by extravagant production. “My songwriting has more focus now with just voice and guitar,” he relates. “It forces me to stretch my playing and thinking. You have to make an impact with lyric and melody without the full music arrangement, so it better be compelling.”
The songs are somewhat introspective, but are based on things most everyone can relate to. “Some are persona, and others about people I have met and a particular thing they’re going through,” says Dave. “Universal themes we all understand. ‘Spring Valley Line’ is the train I rode intoNew York Cityto work. I took a little break from music, but the song will tell you… you can’t escape what you are! ‘Tom & Huck’ came to me one day while watching my sons play, and being reminded of the innocence and honesty of childhood. ‘Broken Pieces Of Me’ and ‘Red Light’ are stories about regret and hesitation. Again, those universal themes!”
Already, Dave has gotten some attention from the release for usage. “We have been approached to license ‘Hard Times For A Heartbreak’ for a family bereavement organization overseas,” Dave explains. “The song is about a mother leaving her husband and kids. The subject matter is not really written about much. They heard the song on an internet radio station called Jango.”
With the new solo release, and the rejuvenation of the Boystown material, Dave is creating a new presence in the modern day music world, and he’s even preparing to get back out and do some live shows. “I am putting together a setlist now that includes originals and covers from the singer/songwriter era of the ’60 and ‘70s,” he says. “I will be playing a lot in northern New Jersey and the Tri-State Area for the rest of this year. And we are planning acoustic dates in theUKandAmsterdamfor 2015.”
You can find out more information about Dave, the Spring Valley Line EP, and Boystown, at davepolemeni.com, and on Facebook under “Boystown The Band.”