Local guitarist releases studio album 30 years in the making

Musician Bruce Bednarsky has called both Stratford and Shelton home for most of his life, and is well known in music circles in the area, having taught music at both Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University, as well as being a noted jazz performer in New York.

Bednarsky recently fulfilled a long-time dream by having a studio album he wrote in the ’80s released for the first time. “A Time to Remember,” featuring all original tunes he penned, is now available on popular online music platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

The reason it took so long, he said, was that the tunes, akin to something Rick Springfield may have done at the time, were no longer in vogue when he was ready to record and release them more than 30 years ago.

“It was an ironic time in music because I was up against the new rappers coming out and most record companies were interested in hip-hop and the onslaught of this music,” he said. “To bring songs that had a melody and lyric content that was meaningful didn’t seem to have its place anymore. It was just too late.”

At one point, he thought that Warner Bros. might be interested in the recording, because the company had published a book he wrote, “Bassically Bass,” a guide to the bass guitar. But real interest hadn’t materialized.

The recording contained five songs, originally aimed at those listening to pop stations during the time of Alf, shoulder pads and Ronald Reagan, and Bednarsky dubbed his recording, “the best feel-good ’80s pop rock you’ve never heard.”

“I feel like if these had come out when songs like this were a hot commodity, maybe one or two of them could have made the Top 10,” he said. “I have gotten responses from people who have heard them telling me how much they enjoy it and that it’s really good ‘80s feel-good pop rock.”

Back then, Bednarsky recorded the album in his home studio along with his wife, Carla, and a guitar student, Tom O’Neill, on a reel-to-reel. Recently, Bednarsky’s youngest son, Michael, took a cassette recording of the songs and recorded it on his iPhone to digitize it.

“It has an old-school feel to it,” he said. “If we were to go in the studio again, we would have to bring them up to date with the quality of sound there is today.”

Although the songs were played for others over the years, they never really left his stream of influence.

“Putting these out there wasn’t really my idea. It was my kids’,  who understand today’s technology and said I needed to get these songs out there,” Bednarsky said. “They said, ‘Maybe a producer would hear one and think it works for a movie soundtrack,’ so I just let them go ahead with it.”

When Bednarsky graduated from the University of Bridgeport, he met one of Bob Dylan’s producers, and gave him an early recording of some of his songs. It was this music producer who encouraged him to follow his dream.

“I thought Dylan’s music was pretty crude, but it had a great message, even though his voice wasn’t very melodic,” Bednarsky said. “I went back and worked on some of my own songs.”

These days, Bednarsky is a member of three area jazz bands: Vintage, Counterpoint, a 17-piece jazz band, and New Beginnings. He also teaches private guitar, bass, and ukulele lessons at Rockwell Dance Center in Trumbull.

And his family is following in his musical footsteps. His middle son, Matt, is a recording artist in Nashville and has five of his own CDs available, and his oldest son is a jazz musician in Los Angeles. Youngest child Michael is also in L.A. making his way in the biz.

“I am still playing all the time and loving it,” Bednarsky said. “I am going to be doing 10 shows at Fairfield University sometime in April and I’ll continue to do what I love.”