Today: Apr 23, 2024

Small ensemble concert features two upcoming acts

Photo courtesy Sabina Walters
“Milk Sop: Unsung” is a band consisting of students from SCSU.


It was a week before the finals, which meant another recital at the Garner Recital Hall in Engleman Hall. The Community Hour Small Ensembles performance offered Southern students an intense duo of “Milk Sop: Unsung” and an unnamed duet with lyrical repertoire.

Dan Carrano and TJ Jackson of “Milk Sop: Unsung” were first to take the stage. As Carrano sang in his high tenor and played mandolin, Jackson intensely strummed chords on his acoustic guitar and periodically joined in with the vocals. Their songs, somewhat folksy, somewhat bluegrass, built up a high-paced performance that was well received by the audience.  Both musicians write their own songs and according to Carrano, he never knows when his next inspiration or song-writing impulse can occur.

“The latest song that I wrote was about pornography,” said Carrano, senior music major. “It’s not really promoting pornography; it’s mostly about the people that speak out against it. I feel like they have nothing better to do. I feel like there’s nothing wrong with pornography.”

Jackson, who has been playing and writing songs with Carrano for the past couple of years, said it is also not easy to pick a favorite song from the band’s collection.

“I have no idea what song is my favorite,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to choose because they’re all about different things, and it depends what mood I’m in. They’re like my children. Because they’re so different, it’s like apples and oranges.”

The second half of the concert included performances by John Hardwicke and John Chernesky. Singing about heartbreaks and new beginnings, the lyrical duet is yet to find a title for itself.

Photo courtesy Sabina Walters
John Hardwicke and John Chernesky are still trying to find a band name.

“We all get nervous when we play,” said Chernesky, “but we have a good partnership. He [Hardwicke] would just look me in the face and give me the encouragement I need.”

The musicians delivered one slow, perfectly poised, lyrical ballad after another with easy to remember titles like “Dear God” or “Trust in Me.” True life experiences and confessions were scattered all throughout the band’s lyrics: “It’s not how far I’ve come / But how far I’ll go,” sang Hardwicke in his song. “It’ll be OK.”

“Usually lyrics come last, because that’s what I struggle with the most,” said Hardwicke of his song writing process. “I usually start with the music, and then I kinda get myself in the mood and play around it for a while, see what kinda mood I’m in.  And then I try to describe it in words or pick a story that matches that mood, and I’ll go with that.”

Hardwicke and Chernesky are both students at Southern and describe themselves as “super seniors.” After graduation, they plan to continue playing together and said they will also work on getting their music out there. According to Hardwicke, marketing is not their forte and can be difficult at times.

“You need a lot for it,” Hardwicke said. “You have to do a recording, basic advertising, and you just have to go and be in their face and have them listen to your music. It is tough. We don’t have the money for the agent yet, so we have to do everything ourselves.”

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