Hippo Manchester
August 11, 2005

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Wake up to Chester

Way brothers front a “The River” sort of band, release album

by Richie Victorino 

Probably the most important thing Scooter Way learned at Penn State University and University of New Hampshire resulted from spending his money, intended for textbooks, on a guitar.

His college buddy Chester and he noticed something very intriguing about other college guys who played guitar.

“They always had girls hanging out in their dorm rooms,” Way said.

That was enough to convince him.

Chester and Scooter started performing a two-man show and both seemed to enjoy what they were doing.

But Chester began to lose interest, and he and Way went their separate ... well, ways. Way didn’t ever want to forget who was with him when he made that fateful decision to buy a guitar, he named his soon-to-be-formed band Good Morning Chester.

After Chester left his side, Way continued on with the music and soon realized school just wasn’t for him.

“There came a point I wasn’t interested in going to class anymore,” Way said. He dropped his classes and picked up a cover band. And he had a good run with his cover band as well, booking three to four gigs a week.

His little brother Mike, who had just recently started playing guitar, joined the band. Mike was envious of his older brother’s guitar chops, like Scooter was envious of those college guys with the girls in their dorm rooms.

“Five months later he was playing just as well as I was, and I had been playing for four or five years, “ Way said.

But Good Morning Chester, the cover band, came to a crossroads that many cover bands come to.

“I realized singing someone else’s songs wasn’t fun anymore,” Way said. The band took a hiatus, while Way played a solo act for a few months.

After six months, Mike and Scooter came to each other and decided the time was right for them to make an original CD.

They started recording a four-song demo in New Jersey. But the music the Way brothers created impressed even themselves, and they opted to make a full-length 10-song CD.

What comes out of Little Things is anything but cover material.

Way’s hiatus from playing other people’s songs allowed him time to reflect on life, take notice of small details, and write 10 beautifully arranged tracks that have the lyrics of a singer/songwriter, yet the sound of a full band.

Little Things is the Way brothers. Good Morning Chester’s current keyboardist and drummer aren’t on that album, just Scooter and Mike, with the help of producer John Taglieri filling in on drums and bass.

And although Scooter might be the prominent songwriter in the family, he has  nothing but praise for his younger brother’s guitar chops.

“He’s never taken a lesson and he’s never really been into guitar players. It’s not like he’s been listening to Steve Vai since he was six,” Way said. “His emotions just bleed out in the guitar.”

The band

Good Morning Chester is: Scooter Way, vocals/rhythm guitar; Mike Way, lead guitar; Jeff Brunell, keyboards; Brad Gaduette, drums.

Where to hear the music: You can get the album online at www.goodmorningchester.com. If you sign up for the mailing list you can get access to an archive of old pictures and old live shows. You can also hear cuts from some of their tracks.

The sound

Little Things 

*** 1/2

Little Things is a light sound of acoustic rhythms and basic electric leads. There isn’t this over-saturation of distortions, delays or other manufactured sounds. Mike Way’s electric lead bounces in and out of Scooter’s rhythm without intrusion, like in track two, “When You’re Older.” My first thought on hearing this album was, “These guys aren’t from around here ... are they?” If you like the less-than-angst side of music you’ll like this album. Their sound is what you’d expect to hear from 92.5 The River. It’s an album that cries for summertime drives with the top down, but also for rainy days spent inside. It’s good to hear alone, or sing along to with friends. There’s a positive energy as well as somber sounds. “Get On It” starts off the album and demonstrates the band’s demeanor. There’s a pop sound to them, but not in the boy-band kind of way. Their harmonies blend beautifully and they’re able to play a tune that gets your head bopping, like “About Today.”  Little Things is a return to stripped-down music at its finest. This is definitely an album worth listening to.