With COVID-19 came the ban of live music at bars and restaurants, and many local musicians struggled to find their way through the difficult times that didn’t appear to be coming to an end soon.
But PJ Duo found new inspiration and shows to play throughout the region.
The music group referred to as “young guys with old souls” has had gigs at Gaffney’s in Saratoga Springs, Lake George Beach Club and On the Rocks Pub while writing and recording new material in the process.
But even with that comes hardship.
“It’s been kind of a nightmare, I literally couldn’t think of anything worse for the entertainment industry than a pandemic,” said guitarist and vocalist PJ Ferguson. “This was going to be one of our biggest years and it turned out we did okay. I’m glad that we got to play at all.”
Drummer and vocalist Jesse Hyatt realizes that this is not just a local issue. This has affected musicians around the world.
“It sucks. I feel for a lot of the other musicians in our area and beyond. It’s a rough go for sure this year,” he said.
But for Hyatt and Ferguson these strange times have helped create some new music. They wrote and recorded three new original songs along with a plethora of covers recorded in their usual live style.
Hyatt said that he wanted to look on the bright side.
“In regard to these songs I don’t know that we would have recorded them. I don’t know if they would have come out the way they did because it kind of gave us a chance to sit back and evaluate what we were doing and what we wanted to do,” he said.
Their latest release, “Uncomfortable,” written by Ferguson and Hyatt, became available on all music streaming platforms on Oct. 14. Ferguson described it as a breakup song with a different take to it.
“People may or may not be able to relate to it,” he said.
The song was recorded over the summer and was a collaborative effort with Hyatt’s brother Jacob Hyatt on bass, Johnny Saris on lead guitar, Jordana Mineo on vocals and Noah Chieco as the engineer. Ferguson brought the initial song and the they all got together to write the different parts to it.
“I really like how it turned out,” Jesse said. “We do have a few more hopefully coming out soon that we’re planning on releasing, but this one is probably my favorite by far.”
Ferguson said that the other two singles will probably be released this month.
On Oct. 10 Ferguson announced on his personal Facebook page that he was going to be moving to Nashville, Tennessee before the year’s end. He said that the winter is already usually a slow time for live music, and this year will be even slower due to COVID.
“It’s a perfect time to take this time that we have to do something different and new,” he said.
PJ Duo has two more gigs before he leaves: one at Gaffney’s on Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. and one at Putnam Place in Saratoga Springs.
But Jesse and Ferguson made it clear this isn’t a farewell tour.
“It’s certainly not done,” Ferguson said in reference to the band.
“PJ Duo definitely isn’t dead,” Jesse replied with a laugh. “Ideally I’ll be going down and hopefully we’ll play in Nashville a little bit since it is a little more opened down there.”
Nov. 21 at Putnam Place will be the last opportunity for the local community to see the pair perform live in the region for a while, but you can also show the duo support by visiting their new online store www.pjduo.com. You can purchase a PJ Duo facemask, shot glasses, their first CD “Simply Strangers” and more.
“We hope to see people before we leave. Nov. 21 is the perfect time to do that,” Ferguson said.