Inspired by a prompt that asks creative writers to craft short stories about items on their keychains, Parrell decided to shift the idea toward another medium — an album he ended up calling “Keys to My Life.”
Parrell said that his talents as a musician with the United States Air Force Band and experience as an adjunct professor for the Northern Virginia Community College allow him to transcend different musical genres. Listeners can expect to hear six to eight tracks on the album each featuring a different genre or style of jazz.
Despite the variance, Parrell said the album is still meant to flow cohesively.
“It has been the most challenging thing I’ve done musically, to get everything together and off the ground,” Parrell said.
One of the largest roadblocks during the creation of his album was a problem with the licensing for one of his tracks when he wanted to cover a song from a Canadian artist. “Getting to that point was like six months of frustration because I couldn’t find the right person to talk to,” he said.
Once he was able to track down the artist, they were excited about the idea of his cover, he said, adding that most artists are excited to get their work out into the world.
Before the big album release, fans can expect two singles accompanied by music videos. Parrell said “My Bike Lock” should appear on his Facebook page before the end of July, while “Man Like You” will be released in early August.
“Keys to My Life” features well-known musicians such as Justin Stanton of Snarky Puppy and Grammy Award Winning trumpet player, Randy Brecker. Stanton and Parrell attended school together and will both perform at the album debut event on Aug. 25.
Parrell considered hosting the debut in New York City, but decided to keep it local, since he grew up in Vienna. He hopes to help put the city on the map while helping local businesses and foster the music scene.
“Places like Jammin’ Java are rare,” he said. “Big names go through there and you wouldn’t even know it.”
Tickets start at $10 for the debut performance of his album. For an extra $10, attendees can walk away with an album CD. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Second photo courtesy Ricky Parrell