Shellye Valauskas & Dean Falcone
Photo By Audra May Photography.
The Shellye Valauskas Experience's Box It Up is a box of secrets, surprises and delights. By the time she formed the band, vocalist/guitarist Shellye Valauskas was an established solo performer, winning the New Haven Advocate's Grand Band Slam readers' poll and rating a slot in New York's CMJ Marathon several years in a row. As her songwriting collaborator and bandmate, she enlisted ace guitarist Dean Falcone, who's served the Connecticut music scene since the early '80s with Jon Brion in The Excerpts, his own Dean and the Dragsters, and a host of others. Valauskas and Falcone's shared love for the punchy pop of Crowded House, The Posies and Aimee Mann, as well as the burgeoning Americana movement, helped them nail a distinctive yet accessible radio-friendly sound from the start. Drummer Bruce Crowder quickly mastered the intricate pacings and style shifts of the songs. The band's also been well served by a succession of team-player bassists, including Eric Lichter (who plays on the EP) and the new recruit Chuck Roscoe (a veteran of roots bands such as The Motel Preachers and The Sawbucks). In its native Connecticut, the band is as comfortable at major outdoor festivals such as the Meriden Daffodil Festival or New Haven's Ideat Village as they are music-friendly bars like Café Nine. They have shared the stage with such notable performers as Todd Rundgren, Melissa Ferrick, Ivy, Patty Griffin, Kristin Hersh, Pat Benatar, Amy Rigby, Merrie Amsterberg, Joe Pernice, Mike Viola, Shane Nicholson and Mary Lou Lord. In 2002 the band released their debut CD entitled The Stupid Truth which was well received by music critics and fans. The New Haven release party for the cd was a sold-out success and the album is currently receiving airplay on college stations throughout the tri-state area. 2008 brought the release of Box it Up which quickly gained the respect of local critics and fans alike. The EP was named one of the top 10 best local releases in the yearly round-up of both the New Haven Register and the local arts paper, The New Haven Advocate.