By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item
— “I’ve played the wide gamut of shows that stick with you and ones you can’t forget soon enough. Lately, I typically enjoy the ones where both the crowd, and me as a musician, are just having a good time. ”
A good time will be on tap tonight when Washingtonville music man Tony Halchak gets the good times started with music for the common man at the Old Forge Brewing Company in Danville.
To kick the music into a higher level, Halchak will be joined by noted musician Bret Alexander.
“Bret and I tend to do our own laid back renditions of popular tunes and a lot of original music we’ve both written over the years,” Halchak said. “Honest, blue-collar lyrics, craft-brewed acoustic tunes to accompany finely-crafted libations.”
Since 2004, Halchak has earned a legion of fans that range from the college crowd to middle age and beyond at his gigs that average about four a month, in addition to co-hosting Vinyl Night every Wednesday at the Turkey Hill Brewing Company in Bloomsburg.
Music has become such an important aspect of his life, the 30-year-old talent also produces music for other regional players, a fitting task for someone with Halchak’s skills and knowledge of the musical world.
“I’ve been playing music for about 14 years. It all started when I found an old dusty guitar lying under my father’s bed. I taught myself how to play it and now, many years later, I still feel like a rookie constantly trying to learn how to make myself better.”
In addition to the guitar, Halchak also brings the vibrant sound of a mandolins to the music, to create more depth and feeling.
When paired with Alexander’s impressive skills as a guitarist, the pair make for a multi-faceted sound that can be heard at numerous venues across Central Pennsylvania.
In addition to Alexander, the hectic musician also performs with the soulful blues and folk artist Ed Randazzo, Scranton rock legend Jeremy Burke, and the wonderfully talented fiddle player Christine.
Since Halchak is also a graphic designer and web consultant, finding time for his musical endeavors is a challenge. However, it’s a challenge he loves.
“I’ve spent my entire life as a musician who tries to make the best records possible by surrounding myself with all of the right talent. Years were spent trying to figure out what is the right way to get people interested in my music. There used to be a road map that artists could follow if they wanted to give it a legitimate shot. Today, there is no more roadmap,” he said. “I’ve spent the last several years coming to grips with that. On one hand, it’s a sobering realization but on the other, it’s empowering. I’m no longer trying to package myself up in a box that can be easily sold. I don’t worry about saying all of the right things. I just make music.”
His original tunes are miles away from the cookie-cutter type lyrics found in many mainstream songs because he follows his own rules. By doing so, his work stands separate from musicians who try and be something the public wants to hear and not who they are.
“I try to write tunes that are thoughtfully worded and deeply felt. I’m not typically interested in what people think my music says about me. I just hope I write some tunes that people enjoy and wouldn’t mind adding to their mix-tapes,” Halchak said. “I used to care a ton about making some kind of statement. As I’m getting older, though, I realize I’m just going to keep writing and performing songs until I drop dead. Maybe one of my tunes will present a way of looking at something that someone hasn’t thought about before. That would be a compliment and the best one I could get. “