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Linda Chorney
And I have a sweet 1967 Hummingbird, that an ex-boyfriend was foolish enough to give me during a break-up. He thought it might relieve some of the guilt for his being a drunk. I also got a few good songs out of that relationship. - Linda Chorney
by Jennifer L. Pricci
Linda Chorney
Linda Chorney (Credit: Danny Sanchez)

A typical Friday on the Jersey Shore usually finds me at McLoone's Rum Runner, tethered to the piano bar and as close to Mr. Bobby Bandiera as possible. His local gigs have been scarce lately as he and Bon Jovi have been otherwise engaged, conquering the world. But on one recent evening he invited to the stage a slender woman in pink plaid golf pants and a bright orange Yankees ski hat.

I'm thinking, 'no, please, don't take any time away from Bobby.' But, then she opened her mouth and simultaneously filled the room with her presence. When I asked her name, she replied "Linda Chorney - Chorney, like horny."

At night's end I rushed home to look her up on her website, or MySpace, whathaveyou. As I learned more, I grew more confident that this Boston native in Yankee gear is set to make a big splash here at the Shore.

And as she sings on "Move On," off her album CHORNographEY, "I was put on this earth to be someone to love a man." I'm considering another possibility: Linda Chorney was put on this earth to perform.

Linda has been a professional singer/songwriter for the past 25 years. To date, she's independently produced and released five solo albums: My Blunt Instrument, Racing With Reality, Me So Chorney, 1 Kiss at a Time and, the most recent, CHORNographEY.

When you consider the credits of her backing musicians, it's clear that she keeps good company. Guitarist Hugh McCracken has worked with John Lennon, Lisa Fisher, The Rolling Stones ᾢ remember those famous female vocals behind "Gimme Shelter"? Local Red Bank resident Michael Ghegan rounds out the high caliber line-up, having toured with Elton John, Justin Timberlake and, currently, Cirque de Sole.

Linda has seen the world through varying performance venues - from an altitude of 11,000 feet in Vail to sea-level hot spots in the Virgin Islands. Her adventures have taken her to the base camp of Mount Everest and she's also broken through markets in Micronesia, Australia, China, Tibet, Bermuda, Europe and Alaska.

Lucky for us, a local resident and self-proclaimed stalker rescued her from the mountain tops and made her fall in love with him - and the Jersey Shore.

Music purists have described her CDs as "infectious." Her lyrics demand your attention with their originality, vulnerability, humor, courage, and above all, honesty. She delivers melodic tales with a soothing-yet-strong voice that is at once earthy and non-calculating. Storylines are complemented by tonality and instrumentation, illustrating Linda's journey through her experience and relationships. She sings things most people think but often are reticent to say.

Her catalogue succeeds at being both personal and accessible. Labeling her genre as "dysfunctional rock," her songs go well beyond traditional singer/songwriter fare. Instead, it's an amalgam of experimental pop rock that showcases her commanding vocals, songwriting prowess and strong production skills.

"My inspiration comes from relationships, whether I'm depressed, pissed off, bored or horny. But now that I'm in love, I had to find something else to write about, so I'm going political."

As a child, Linda was self-taught on guitar. "At ten I took one lesson and then quit," she said. "They were teaching scales and notes. I didn't want to learn that. I wanted to play songs. So I went home and taught myself chords."

She handles her instrument with conviction, confidently attacking rhythm but dynamically bringing it down to the appropriate level. It wasn't long before this confident artist gained sponsorship from a guitar company.

"I play with a couple of different guitars. And I play a bit of harmonica. I was sponsored by a cool company out of New Hampshire, Millennia Guitars. They named a line after me; "The Linda Chorney Signature Series". How cool is that?

"And I have a sweet 1967 Hummingbird, that an ex-boyfriend was foolish enough to give me during a break-up. He thought it might relieve some of the guilt for his being a drunk. I also got a few good songs out of that relationship.

"All in all, the suffering was worth the big pay off! I just had a pick-up installed in it by Phil Petillo. The dude is a genius! I cannot believe the array of talent in this area, between Phil and the great cast of musicians. That should be enough local brown-nosing for now."

Linda comes from a musical family. "I knew I wanted to be a rock star from the womb".

Her mother a concert pianist; her great aunt an opera singer, and her grandfather played mandolin. Resultantly, her family has always been supportive of Linda's professional aspirations. They always came to gigs, no matter if it were a resort or a biker bar. They paid for her demos in the early days. Finally, studios rolled the dice that she would make it big, comping her studio time.

And she came really close to that goal when she broke into the Top 40, at #31, passing Alanis Morrissette, on the A/C Charts with "Friday Morning Quarter Back".

"But the label ran out of money. It was around 9/11. Although I'd worked my whole life for that break, I wasn't upset. I was alive, and nobody I knew lost theirs."

After that close shave, she began to collect performance credits, sharing a marquee with the likes of Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Sheryl Crow, Dave Mason, and others. She has played in front of 250,000 people, having the honor to perform for Nelson Mandela in Boston.

Five self-produced albums, a Top 40 track, sponsorship deals, a performance calendar that's spanned the globe and even a credit on IMDb after her songs and acting appeared in an indie film, Linda Chorney now numbers herself among the elite independent singer/songwriters who call the Jersey Shore home.

"I have newly-found and lovable Jersey fans that faithfully have come to just about every performance. Though it's not their objective to see a show at every venue - some might be out to find a hot date - so they don't all listen. But there is that awesome occasion when my music strikes a chord. So I get an increased audience. Then, when they buy a CD and put it on, I can guarantee that someone will make sweet love to them! Unless they're alone - then they can improvise (laughs).

"Right now, I'm in the process of putting together a trio with Linc Davis on lead guitar and Richy Blackwell on percussion… I'm calling us 'The Odd Squad.'"

Linda Chorney
Linda Chorney (Credit: Danny Sanchez)

So, if you're convinced and ready to catch a solo show, be prepared for some winging dialogue between songs that will keep you laughing. Her big voice is an equal match to her large personality.

"I never have a set list. I just play what I feel, like always. Sometimes I will be in the middle of one song, while having a conversation in my head about what song I will do next, or, what should I eat on my break, or when the hell is my break?

"Although I do throw in more current artists occasionally, like, 'what's that guy's name from around here?' I mostly stick to classic rock. My influences are from that era. And sorry, but no one has come close to touching Zeppelin, Neil Young and The Beatles, not even me!"

On the other hand, she may bring a tear to your eye as she flies from one extreme to the other, as life often does. Songs that find relief from pushing through heartache, "It's better to sing than it is to bleed," from her excruciating break-up song, "Looney Bin," are included in the same set as numbers in which she captures you with her humor.

"I enjoy adverbs, I just don't like the people that drop the 'L' 'Y'. I kinda take it personal (pause) ly." And although some songs are on the sadder side, there is always a surprising turn at the end, turning tragedy into triumph.

"Just last Friday I did my song, "Fins". It's about an ex-boyfriend that physically hurt me. When I finished, this woman came up to me with a tear in her eye, kissed me on the cheek and said that I validated her story, and thanked me. That is more rewarding than getting paid. I love making chicks cry!"

To experience Linda Chorney is to invoke your own past experiences like a photograph, making you long for something you didn't know you wanted. She can move you like a roller coaster ride, the kind of ups and downs that will make you scream. This fresh Shore talent will hook you with her wit, wisdom and creativity.

Currently, Linda is focusing on gaining traction in her new market. In her first full season as a resident of the Jersey Shore, she has secured a number of regular appearances in the area. Look for her at The Fromagerie (Rumson), Salt Creek Grille (Rumson), McLoone's Rum Runner (Sea Bright), SAWA at Pier Village (Long Branch), and The Clam Hut (Highlands).

In addition, Linda is currently being courted to host an Adventure, Musical Travel show. She has already filmed a portion of the pilot in India this past March.

On June 10, you can catch Linda among other Shore-based singer/songwriters; Bob Burger, Ben Feld, Metamorphosis and Bob Denson, performing at "A Night In Progress," a show featuring all new material from each artist, hosted by Rick Barry at The Saint in Asbury Park.

For more about "A Night In Progress" or to purchase tickets visit www.thesaintnj.com.

Track samples, video and Linda's performance calendar is available on her MySpace page:
www.myspace.com/lindachorney

To purchase Linda's music visit:
www.lindachorney.com.

Jennifer L. Pricci is owner of Phantom Power Productions, a publicity, marketing and promotional firm that specializes in advancing the careers and projects of tri-state area independent musicians. Phantom Power Productions prides itself in performing low-cost services for quality artists.
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