Deb D’Amico & Hidden Drive
They say that the ability to be a great musician is something that a piece of you is born with, and after having the pleasure of speaking with Deb D’Amico of Hidden Drive, it only confirms the theory. Deb, a Holyoke native, first discovered her talent for music when she was in the 7th grade at Sacred Heart Grammar School. At the time, Sacred Heart had a music program that consisted of folk and some religious music that would be performed at the Sacred Heart mass ceremonies. It was within that program that Deb learned how to play the guitar along with singing and began building the foundation of her musical journey. After Sacred Heart, Deb went on to high school and met a young woman by the name of Sharon who shared the same interest in music. The two joined a folk group in high school and performed across Western Mass, including in front of the Massachusetts building at the Eastern States Exposition, or The Big E, as they now refer to it. With the same musical talent and passion for music, Sharon and Deb began performing as a duo playing at local restaurants and the Holiday Inn for all groups of people. As they began getting their name out there, what started out as a duo soon turned into a larger group who went by the name of “Cats Cradle”. Cats Cradle was a house band that played in places other than just the lounge area. They would roam around tables of what is now the Piccadilly pub, playing their guitars and singing for guests to accompany their dining experience. Later in her high school days, Deb joined together with area musicians whose band went by the name “Hot Calypso Key”. As seniors in high school going into college, Hot Calypso Key mostly played in clubs and bars and performed an eclectic mix of rock and roll with a few of their own original material. The band began getting a lot of local attention and quickly became popular around the area for great instrumentation, vocals and their 4-5 part harmony that was something not every band was offering at the time. Though music was one of her biggest passions, Deb went on to do what most people do after their senior year in high school and enrolled into college at Boston University. There she studied engineering which led her into a different direction, California in particular. Though she moved out to California for her engineering career, Deb still pursued her passion in music and was a member in a few different bands. She continued working as a high tech engineer for about 25 years when she and her husband decided that California was just not cutting it for them anymore. They longed to be closer with their friends and family who resided in Holyoke and Southwick MA. Luckily in her line of business there was an opportunity to travel back to the East Coast, and as they say, the rest was history. They packed their bags and reunited with both of their families and most importantly with some of their old musical connections and joined together in what is now known as “Hidden Drive”.
Hidden Drive members consist of Deb, the solo vocalist, her husband Gene, the drummer, Mike Chmura, a longtime area musician in the late 60’s and early 70’s from the band Bold. This group is a talented mix of easy listening with a touch of jazz, though they are capable of playing anything the crowd requests. The Massachusetts music scene has changed quite a bit since their high school run with Hot Calypso Key, and finding venues that work well with the music they enjoy performing as a quartet has been an ongoing experience. They have however, had several successes in local restaurants such as Eighty Jarvis and The Delaney House both of Holyoke, Hazard Grille in CT and Deb and Mike’s upcoming performance at Pages Loft in Northampton. These restaurants offer the enjoyment of dinner music that gives diners an experience to remember as the music selections they play vary depending on who their audience is. Deb admits that she enjoys belting out songs from artists such as Cheryl Crow and Lady Antebellum and feels that lyrics are the most important part of the song. The meaning of the lyrics in a song usually refer to a special emotion or to a situation that almost everyone can relate to. Their playlist is a diverse mixture of 30’s & 40’s swing music and modern country tunes. To get the crowd going, they always welcome requested music selections. “We like to be an accompaniment to dinner and compliment the dinner experience and inspire people to get up and dance. Taking requests gets people involved and they become part of the experience and a song that they feel passionate about will leave them with a special remembrance.” Deb also adds that “You will not be disappointed with Hidden Drive. We are the kind of group that people really enjoy our music selection because we select diverse music that people can sing along while having a nice enjoyable evening”. One evening that promises to be enjoyable is this Saturday night, March 12th 2011 at Pages Loft in Northampton where Deb and Mike will be performing from 7PM-10PM. Pages Loft recently renovated their lounge area which has seating to accommodate a large crowd and an expansive bar for those feeling in the social mood. Local artwork displayed around the lounge area provides a fun and warm atmosphere perfect for live entertainment. Pages Loft welcomes those looking for a fun and entertaining evening at a great location alongside their remarkably great tasting food. What else is in store for Hidden Drive in 2011 you ask? They are looking forward to seeing what opportunities arise in the future and are available to perform at functions and events such as weddings and private parties. As far as commercial opportunities go, Deb mentions “Right now we are open to finding the perfect fit for Hidden Drive but all possibilities are open”.
To contact Deb or any members from Hidden Drive you can email her at DebDamico@damicodrums.com