Mike Brunacini Releases First Album

A piano man of Jamestown, who writes sad and sweet tunes that may make fans of Billy Joel feel alright, has released his first full-length album.

Jamestown native Mike Brunacini released “Breakup At Allen Park” in December. Brunacini, 21, is a 2009 graduate of Jamestown High School.

While attending high school Brunacini took a cappella classes, music theory and music history. After he graduated he carried those skills over to Jamestown Community College where he majored in music and audio production.

According to Brunacini, for most of the songs on “Breakup At Allen Park” the main focus is piano, but he considers himself to be a songwriter above a musician. The album title and cover photo are inspired by Allen Park in Jamestown. Plus, the first track on the album is entitled “Breakup At Allen Park.”

“I was looking for something local to throw in because I’ve been influenced a lot by Billy Joel, and he always threw in songs with New York City street names,” said Brunacini. “The theme focuses on the time after said breakup in Allen Park. There are many different options you can take, paths and different ways you can handle that event. So, the album takes you down those choices with each passing song. The other overall theme is overthinking and avoidant personality disorder. There are a few songs that have to do with what it would be like to live with the disorder. Essentially it is that your fear of rejection is so high that you’d rather isolate yourself and not do anything at all, and also being (so) disappointed that you don’t want to do anything.”

In addition to composing the music for the album, Brunacini wrote the lyrics, acted as vocalist and played multiple instruments. He played both electric and acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, recorder, organ and a modified electric piano. The sounds of the modified electric piano can be heard on the album’s single, “Hitman.”

“‘Hitman’ is the song I released prior to the album as a way of showing what the album would be like,” said Brunacini. “It’s probably the most commercially ready track off the full album. It sounds like it should be a hit, and maybe in the 1990s it would have been. It has a Steven Page, Barenaked Ladies sound to it. Another of my favorite tracks on the album is ‘Lost State of Mind.’ It’s the last track on the album, and it’s a little different than the others. Most of the other songs were written one to three years ago, and ‘Lost State of Mind’ was written the same year as the recording sessions so it’s a little newer. It has six vocal tracks and piano. It sounds like it’s sad, but if you listen and pay attention it’s lyrically funny.”

For the recording of the album, bass was played by Cody Keifer and drums were by Andrew McCoy. Rob Hewitt, of Red Light Departure, played drums on two tracks. Hewitt also provided his grand piano for tracking purposes. Other members of the band include lead guitarist Keith Stam and rhythm guitarist Jon Alm.

“Andrew McCoy has been in a lot of metal bands in the area, but he was trained in jazz, so it’s a natural fit for him to do this,” said Brunacini. “He is very technical, accomplished and he has been in a lot of well-received bands, but for this he was open so I picked him up. We’re working on getting a full band together so that we can play live shows.”

The album was recorded in a combination of places including Brunacini’s basement, his house and at Hewitt’s house to use the grand piano. The raw tracks were then taken to Doug White of Watchmen Studios in Lockport.

“Watchmen Studios has a platinum album hanging up on the wall by Gym Class Heroes for ‘Cupid’s Chokehold,’ which was recorded there,” said Brunacini. “I wouldn’t consider myself in their league yet, but it was nice to be in that environment where I could learn a lot very fast.”

A friend of Brunacini’s, Shawn Sprankle, has been acting as the band’s unofficial manager.

“He’s been helping me to assemble the band,” said Brunacini. “We meet to discuss promotional ideas and timelines. He’s very good at that stuff, and I’m very bad at it. We’ve been friends since high school, and when we were there he wasn’t really that big in the music scene. But, since then he has really made a name for himself booking shows, especially Lovefest, that’s like his magnum opus.”

Brunacini doesn’t currently have any live shows scheduled because he is recovering from a recent tonsillectomy. However, he hopes that within a few weeks his voice will be back to normal.

Several full-length tracks off “Breakup At Allen Park” are available to stream on Soundcloud.com by searching for “Mike Brunacini.” A number of tracks and studio session videos are also available on YouTube.com. The 15-track album is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon.com and cdbaby.com. For more information search for “Mike Brunacini” on Facebook.