Walking For Pennies: Playing For Sandy Relief
By Joe Marvilli
|Walking For Pennies performs at a benefit for the victims of Superstorm Sandy at the Sunnyside Community Services Center.
Photo by Joe Marvilli
While Neeley Bridges and Andy Jobe may perform under the name Walking for Pennies, this past weekend, they were Playing for Sandy relief as well.
Walking for Pennies was one of many acts to perform at the Restaurants United for Sandy Help Benefit at the Sunnyside Community Services Center on Nov. 18. The event, which went from 4 to 8 p.m., was packed to capacity, getting to the point where people had to wait outside for others to leave.
The entrance fee was $10. Unlimited food and bar bracelets were $10 each. Attendees also had the option of purchasing a combo unlimited food and bar bracelet for $15.
For Walking for Pennies, Sandy hit close to home, as their apartment lobby in Long Island City was flooded with several feet of water.
“We lived with my parents for nine days,” Jobe said.
The audience greatly enjoyed the band’s concert. Adults swayed along to the four-song set in the background. A group of children danced wildly in front of the band, some of them even climbing the fence between the crowd and the songwriters to get a better view. The band took it all in stride, charmingly conversing with the kids in between songs.
“We got asked to do it through the connection that we do have with kids,” Bridges said. “This was our first opportunity to do something like this.”
Both Bridges and Jobe share vocal and guitar duties, with some additional mandolin from the former. Their music is a style they’ve playfully described as Mo-grass, a mixture of Motown and bluegrass.
The bluegrass side comes from Bridges, who has been influenced by Bonnie Raitt and other country-ish artists. Jobe’s main source of creativeness came from listening to James Taylor.
“I pretty much took James Taylor’s greatest hits and learned it,” Jobe said. “That was the beginning of me playing guitar.”
A cover of Taylor’s “The Frozen Man” closes out the band’s debut album, “Forget About Wonderland,” which was released on Oct. 2, 2012. It was recorded over a period of two years, with the band intermittingly recording when they could at Ears & Gears studio in Astoria.
“It was good because we were able to make the choices that we wanted to make and we didn’t have time as a constraint,” Jobe said.
Lyrically, the album is introspective, discussing what it means to be an artist in today’s society. It also goes over Bridges and Jobe’s previous jobs as dog walkers, thus creating the band’s name, Walking for Pennies.
“It’s been a struggle to figure out how to keep your job flexible enough and pay enough so that you can actually make it work,” Bridges said.
For the rest of the year, the group plans to finish and put out a benefit single, titled “Hurricane.” It will be released through their website, www.walkingforpennies.com. All the proceeds will go to the Red Cross’ recovery efforts from the superstorm.
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.