Safe 'N Sound in Watertown
They say, 'three times is a charm,' and this third release by Thomas Ventiquattro II (Tom 24) and Dan Wills will make you a believer. Listeners who enjoyed 'TWILIGHT BLUE EXCURSION' and 'DEAR LUCY' will love 'SAFE 'N SOUND IN WATERTOWN.' Slab City studio production by Dan Wills, along with post-production mastering by Thunder Roads Recording Studio (TRRS), gives sparkling treatment to the vocals and guitars of Tom 24. Wills is stellar on bass, drums and keys, and he booms a rich bass vocal on the title track. Unlike the two previous releases, Tom 24 shares songwriting credits with two long-time friends, Vincent Schneider and Mark Putman. Mark Putman has penned several luscious ballads, many of these while serving in the US Navy aboard the USS Midway (early 1970s). Putman and Ventiquattro have been writing and jamming together for more than 35 years. 'Mark is an awesome singer and songwriter,' says Tom 24. 'It's always an extreme pleasure for me when we get together with our guitars.' Mark Putman's captivating writing style shines on 'THINGS UNSAID' and 'IT WON'T BE THE SAME,' and these pop-rockers will remind listeners of the genius exhibited by the group, America, on their classic hit, 'SISTER GOLDEN HAIR.' The mellow 'I'D LIKE TO SAY I LOVE YOU' and 'LOVE IS MY WORD FOR YOU' penetrate deep into the soul, and are characteristic of Putman/Ventiquattro collaborations. Although Vincent Schneider and Tom 24 have been friends since their kindergarten days at Deferiet (NY) Elementary School in 1960, they didn't write together until 1998, when the pair composed the haunting 'JUNE.' Since then, Vinnie has contributed heart-felt lyrics to many Tom 24 songs. Tom states, 'Vince has the knack for choosing great song themes, writing about people, places and things that stir the emotions.' Several of Schneider's co-writing efforts tell stories about life in the Black River Valley region of Jefferson County, NY State (SAFE 'N SOUND IN WATERTOWN, BLACK RIVER, CARTHAGE CENTRAL HIGH, DEFERIET and WHISTLE STOP). In fact, Vinnie's gift for niche writing inspired Tom 24 to pen 'COACH SAM,' dedicated to the memory of Vinnie's and Tom's well-loved and legendary Little League baseball coach, Samuel A. Millich, Sr. The title cut, 'SAFE 'N SOUND IN WATERTOWN,' is a Ventiquattro/Schneider work that pays tribute to the City of Watertown's military base neighbor, Fort Drum. This ballad gives a sincere thanks for the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families...for deeds that protect freedoms in America and around the world (see 'Special Note' below). Indeed, songwriting contributions by Vincent Schneider and Mark Putman truly complement the writing style of Tom 24, and add an intriguing dimension to the aura of this album. Here is one CD you won't want to miss. 07/30/06 Syracuse Post-Standard, STARS section review from Mark Bialczak: The duo Tom 24 and Dan Wills offers up the sunny side of life on 'Safe 'n Sound in Watertown.' Tom Ventiquattro II (hence the stage name), a Carthage High School and Syracuse University graduate who now lives in Chateaugay (NY), teams up with Malone (NY) resident Wills for an upbeat folk-rock collection of originals. Their values: Think family-oriented in an America where life is very, very good. Their sound: Think the band AMERICA in the days of 'Sister Golden Hair' and 'Muskrat Love.' They start the CD off with 'Safe 'n Sound in Watertown, ' a song of praise for the soldiers and their families in Fort Drum (NY). From there, it pleasingly meanders through school tributes ('Carthage Central High') to meeting place tributes ('Whistle Stop') to family tributes ('Grandmother Grand') and Little League tributes ('Coach Sam'). Happy days, indeed. -Keep up your good work. Regards, Mark Bialczak, The Post-Standard Special Note: A donation from album sales proceeds will benefit families of Fort Drum soldiers, via the Northern NY-Fort Drum Chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). Vincent J. Schneider, Jr. extends best wishes to the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division (at Fort Drum, NY), in honor of his late father, Vincent J. Schneider, Sr. Vinnie's dad served as part of the 10th Mountain Division, in the WW II era, while stationed at Pine Camp (Fort Drum), NY.