Offtrax Press Release

June 1999

Join the fun and excitement at the CD release party.
Saturday June 26. 9pm at Vienna´s Tap & Grille.
Band proceeds to benefit the Pediatric Heart Unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital!

     Offtrax announces the release of its first CD, Too Long, which fans will agree is appropriately named! For those who don´t know the story of the band, suffice it to say that the road to this moment was particularly long and meandering, as most of the band members made a stop–off in Medical School and subsequently developed careers in Cardiology. But "the Beat goes on", and these guys never lost it, playing and writing in basements and garages over the decades, until a little over three years ago, on a lark, they accepted a challenge from Fairfax Hospital. Knowing there was hidden talent on the Medical Staff, the Virginia Heart Center said "See if you docs can pull a little band together and do a few songs at our benefit, Cuisine for Heart," an evening where the doctors also don aprons and serve heart–healthy foods from area restaurants. Expecting the food to be the showcase entertainment for the evening, everyone was stunned when the band began to play! And the rest is history.

     Over the past three years, Offtrax has played many benefit performances, including the Northern Virginia Heart Ball (American Heart Association), and benefits for breast cancer, AIDS, Fairfax Children´s Hospital, and Inova Fairfax Heart Center. They have also enjoyed playing at local clubs, where their audience crosses age barriers.

     The CD is an impressive collection of all–originals that defy categorization. But what stands out is the variety, and the uniqueness of each song. From the hard–driving rhythms of Funky Blues, to the haunting sadness of Lady, listeners will be taken on a roller coaster of emotion. Friehling´s powerful vocals combine richness of tone with a raunchiness that pushes the limits of propriety on songs like Tattoo Toe. His saxophone is a natural extension of his voice. Esposito´s consistent rhythm guitar is a reliable backdrop for Friehling´s crazy guitar lead lines, as Del Negro, classically trained, boogies on the keyboard. Cohen has a heart–stopping blues voice that is evocative on Off the Edge, her acoustic original. Beggars, Monkeys, and Thieves showcases the rhythm section, with an intriguing bass line played by Raybuck, and richly textured percussion by Schuster. But the most memorable feature that characterizes the entire CD is the "hummability" of the melodies that take hold of the mind and don´t let go. Note this on the title track, Too Long, and the acclaimed Dark Side of the Mountain, which received Honorable Mentions in two categories in the recent Midatlantic Songwriting contest (under the auspices of SAW). Under the masterful creative direction of their producer, Heidi Gerber, the eclectic mix comes together into a powerful 60 minutes of music that is unforgettable.