Without art in our world, what would exist? Alison Pipitone of the Alison Pipitone Band, fueled by sporadic inspiration, has been in love with music for 30 years and through trial, error, and success she has learned much about the wonderment of the existential question: who am I?
Pipitone has bicoastal roots. Her parents living on opposite sides of the country, she spent half of her time living in San Diego, the other half growing up in Hamburg.
After graduating from Hamburg High School she attended University of Southern California and graduated with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English Literature.
When she is not teaching at Erie Community College or exploring the world of books she is making progress with her band and their most recent album release.
Lyrics and music were written entirely by Pipitone. The album “Big Wide World” is the type of album to drive to or to blast from your stereo while you sit with friends and sip lemonade on a picnic bench.
The band is comprised by Patrick Shaughnessy, Graham Howes, Ben Clarke, Natalie Howes and Sheila Connors.
The members are scattered around Buffalo from Amherst, Boston, Derby and the city of Buffalo. Eric Vickerd, of Boston, is the newest bass addition to the band.
On the album there are eight guest performers. Most notable, the violin of guest performer Mary Ramsey on the track titled “I’m Not Sorry” is swooning, paired smoothly with the blues-like feel of Susan Rozler’s harmonica melody.
Pipitone has toured in the past and has performed at popular music festivals including the Great Blue Heron Festival in Jamestown to the iconic Lilith Fair Festival.
She has been playing guitar since she was 18 although she can’t read music. I was immediately reminded of a quotation from Giorgio that is embedded into one of Daft Punk’s tracks on their most recent album release, “Random Access Memories.”
“Once you free your mind about the concept of harmony and of music being correct, you can do whatever you want. Nobody told me what to do and there was no preconception of what to do.”
It seems Pipitone reflects this free-spirited idea towards the creation of music. It is less of a strict construction and more of a product of her.
The lessons learned are numerous according to Pipitone. The commonality amongst musicians is the struggle of dealing with the music industry.
“You have to learn how to not take things personally,” she said. Being a woman in the industry she has become witness to the female role. She has developed a thicker skin and her experiences have “helped with resilience.”
As a lyricist a major hurdle for Pipitone is the unexpected and inevitable writer’s block. It plagues every writer, no matter how successful or unknown, whether it be an article, a song, or a novella. The best solution to a block is simply letting go.
Pipitone looks to writer’s block as a pause to open herself back up into life. It is a natural break to minimize her focus on writing and “just live.” This album is a product of such.
There will be a CD release party for the album at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 19 at The Waiting Room (previously Sinful Nightclub) on 334 Delaware Ave. at West Tupper in Buffalo. Triple Threat, three of Pipitone’s colleagues, will perform guest vocals with the band. The Grace Stumberg Band will be opening the night.