It's always easier, and more fun, to make music with friends.
Bill Blind (top photo, left), Paul Runfola and Deborah Sorensen have been friends for 25 years, played in each other's bands, helped with each other's music projects and worked and taught together at Roxy's Music in Batavia.
Two years ago, they decided it was time to form a band and record an album.
The result is Anadrome, both the band and the CD, a poppy, sometimes adventurous collection of original tunes written by the trio.
"I think we were going for something that was interesting but still could appeal to a general audience," Sorensen said.
Runfola agreed. He said that while solos and improvisation were part of the process, the album isn't just a collection of 15-minute jams. The music remains accessible.
"I never forget what it was that got me excited about music as a kid in the first place," Runfola said. "It really didn't have anything to do with advanced musical concepts. A good song is a good song."
Originally from Western New York, Runfolo began pursuing a career in music while on the West Coast in the 1990s. When he returned home, he joined the Celtic rock bank Kilbrannan and after winning some East Coast guitar competitions, Guitar Player Magazine added him to their "Hot Guitarist List."
Sorensen, who operates Wild West Studio in Le Roy, where the CD was recorded, has been a soloist, band member and band leader, playing piano and keyboards. Her recording projects, both as a musician and engineer and producer include film scores, jingles and songs. She's currently music director at City Church in Downtown Batavia.
Drummer Bill Blind has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Eastman Theater and at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, appearing with such acts as Mark Manetta, Chuck Mangione and the Rochester Philharmonic. Besides his work on the CD "Anadrome," Blind performs with Steve Green, Kinloch Nelson, The White Hots and Tina and the Two-Timers.
Blind is on staff at Roxy's and along with Sorensen, and Runfola teaches at the legendary local music store.
The group is just starting to promote its music -- available at Roxy's and Vintage and Vogue in Le Roy -- with a website, Facebook page and tapping into their network of musician friends.
The Digital Age makes it both easier and harder for new music to find an audience, Runfolo and Sorensen said.
"Via the Internet, you have more of a chance to get your material heard without living in a major metropolitan area," Runfolo said. "Before, if you weren't living in New York City, L.A. or Nashville, and you weren't able to attract a major record label, it was like, well, what are you going to do?"
But with new technology comes new competition, Sorensen said, to which Runfolo added, "Now, everybody’s got a recording studio in their basement and everybody wants to be a rock star, or whatever. Just about everybody can put out something that sounds professional because there’s a lot of technology out now that masks the fact that you really can’t do something."
Technology can also be frustrating, Sorensen said.
"We all know computers are great when they work perfectly, but that doesn’t happen all the time," Sorensen said. "We were very, very lucky that we didn’t lose any takes (even when Sorensen's computer was destroyed by a lightning strike)."
Technology aside, coming together regularly during the 12-month songwriting and recording process was as much about a sense of family, Blind said, as it was the music.
"I've learned, it's more important who you're working with as opposed to what you're doing," Blind said. "There's lots of opportunities to work with this or that person, but you have to have that bond. We're friends, but we're like family. When we're recording, it's a social event. We get together and have fun. We eat and make some music. That's the big thing. It's just an enjoyable thing to do."
That friendship makes the creative process so much easier and more fulfilling, Sorensen said.
"There has to be trust, because music for us is very emotional and very personal," Sorensen said. "When you’re trying to be creative with it, you’re kind of putting your heart on your sleeve a little bit. It helps to really trust the people you’re working with. So you don’t feel stifled or like you can't contribute an idea."