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Vinyl Views is our blog where we feature album recommendations from our store team and reveal picks from guest contributors. This week we hear from our good buddy GINO SIGISMONDI! Catch his band THE SUM performing live for their album release party on RECORD STORE DAY!


Vinyl Views: – RSD 2024 Edition: The Sum Record Release Party, Live at Val’s Halla!

(Or, how to make a solo album in just five short years…)


The Sum is a band. But before it was a band, it was a song. And before it was a song called “The Sum,” it was a song called “Never Too Late.” Taken from the words to the song’s bridge, this simple phrase sums up (sorry) the motivation behind the entire project. The first song written for this project, the lyrics to the chorus came to me in a rush of inspiration, during an extended period of therapy that found me spending a lot of time contemplating my approach to life thus far. The takeaway? No regrets. You are more than the things you didn’t do, and it’s never too late to do them. 

Quickly thereafter, I wrote a song about a girl that I spent an embarrassingly inordinate amount of time obsessing over when I was a teenager, and what advice middle-aged me would give to that teen. Suddenly, a “concept” album was born. If you could go back in time and have a talk with your younger self, what would you say? In addition to this burst of songwriting, I resurrected an instrumental piece, “Adore,” that’s been kicking around for years, but was first brought to life back in 2015 for a multimedia performance called “Beyond the Frame” and featured choreography by my wife, Gina Sigismondi. It proved to be a fitting closer for this record. It’s named for how I feel, and I wouldn’t be here at all without her. 

“2B Alive,” the last song written for the album, was inspired by the words of legendary WXRT DJ Lin Brehmer (what music-loving Chicagoan can’t still hear him intoning, “It’s Friday morning, it’s great to be alive?”). Though it came much later, the song still fit the record’s theme:

Take nothing for granted,

Follow your joy

If this ended tomorrow

Would you smile, or would you cry?

Yeah, there’s a dash of Joseph Campbell in there too, but you get the point! To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would ever release these songs, but incorporating Lin’s advice into song seemed to be the missing piece to the puzzle. It wasn’t too late, after all.

This album probably wouldn’t have happened without the support of many good people. The good vibes and encouragement from Matt Engstrom, mastering engineer extraordinaire, helped convince me maybe this project was worth seeing through. And to the excellent musicians that helped me bring this music to life, whether on vinyl or on stage, the fact that they deigned these songs worthy of their contributions puts me forever in their debt. The record features guest performances from vocalist Cheryl Jennison DaProza (Dancing Queen/Ginger/formerly of Think Floyd USA), Erik Vaveris (Matt Lenny and the Breakdown/Nine Miles West), and percussionist Rob Klegon. 

Joining me onstage for the release party on Record Store Day at Val’s, along with Erik and Rob, will be vocalist Claire Parrott, guitarist/utility player Stephen Kohler, and drummer Jim MacGregor (also of Bully Pulpit and bassist for Foot, Century Rocket Building, Farm Team, and many other great bands that I’m forgetting…and fellow Elmhurst College Music Business major – we met on the first day of orientation!). 

Live music starts at noon, and each one of these excellent groups brings something unique:

Vinyl copies of The Sum will be available for sale, but feel free to check it out ahead of time at the link above. And one thousand thanks to Trevor and Shayne for all the support over the years. I was thrilled and honored when Val herself first asked me to program the stage for Record Store Day back in 2018 (which turned out to be her last one…). And six years later, the music still plays on. Take nothing for granted, it’s great to be alive.

Ginger with Val – RSD 2018
(Gino, Rob Klegon, Cris Tapia, Cheryl Jennison DaProza, Justin Boller)

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