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Local Musicians Inspired to Connect, Collaborate Through Pandemic

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The four members of W2, who collaborated on an album, “4 Corners of a Circle,” with a 1980s and ‘90s rock vibe through the pandemic by each recording their parts remotely. Picture are, from left, Peter Blume (trumpet), singer Joe Walden, Brian Doherty (drums) and Phil Went (guitar).

For as much pain and loneliness that the pandemic has brought, for some, the extra time at home has spawned artistic ventures. You can put Mount Pleasant resident Joe Walden and Phil Went, a Pound Ridge resident, into that category. The two friends had been part of a band with two other musicians and had even recorded two albums together.

But when COVID-19 seemed to shut down the world two years ago, Walden and Went, who go by the band name W2, decided to get creative. They have recording equipment in their basements and a collection of original music, but their two other bandmates did not.

“Phil and I were talking on the phone,” recalled Walden, the group’s lead singer. “We have all these great ideas. We were sitting on all this music and we were itching to do something, and I said to Phil why don’t we do a solo project, something outside of the band.”

They reached out to accomplished drummer Brian Doherty, a Thornwood resident, and 26-year Mount Pleasant Police Officer Peter Blume, who had become friendly with Walden through their children. Blume, a professionally trained trumpet player added brass arrangements. Both Doherty and Blume were also able to record their portions at home.

What they devised was a 10-track album called “4 Corners of a Circle,” which they released last month. It has a definite 1980s and ‘90s classic rock vibe but with their own sound.

“The music reflects all our influences, the ‘80s influence that we all sort of grew up with,” said Went, the guitarist who was a working musician before raising a family and now is the director of the Montessori School in Armonk. “The classic hair bands of the ‘80s is the music that I grew up listening to and influenced my playing.”

Walden was raised musically The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and U2 while Blume gravitated to the big horn sound of groups like Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire but also played classical.

Blume said he plays with many bands and has had plenty of session work, and Walden and Went knew what he had done when they asked him to write a horn arrangement to “Set Me Free,” one of the album’s tracks. Blume was impressed.

“I was blown away. I said ‘Wow, this is a good song,” he said. “It’s very hard to make something musical out of something that’s not. It’s a challenge and I don’t mind doing it, but when you have something that’s good already, now it can take off.”

Walden and Went would eventually ask him to collaborate with horns on seven songs. Blume also plays other brass instruments and was able to mix his part of the recordings to make it sound as though W2 is backed by a full horn section.

“His greatest strength is his sense of melody, and each of these songs that he played on here he actually has these counter-melodies within the music,” Went said. “So there’s the main melody that Joe’s vocal will sing and then there’s a hole where Pete will play a second melody.”

Other pandemic-inspired songs on the album include “Ghost Town” and “Social Distance.”

“It’s really a way to express yourself, a way to reflect on the times and, sure, if you’re sitting home all day long and you’re thinking to yourself I’m working throughout the day, I’m sitting in the house and you’re just itching to connect with people in some way,” said Walden, an artist who designs the Christopher Radko Christmas ornaments. “This was our way of doing that, connecting with each other.”

Doherty, a Yonkers school system music teacher who is also a Broadway musician, said he was dazzled by the material.

“When I heard the music, I thought this is really good, I will definitely make time in my schedule to record this stuff here at home and send in my tracks, and it worked out perfectly,” he said. “I love their music. I’m very impressed by it and I think that they’re great songwriters.

Walden and Went, who also produced the music videos to go with the album, said they will continue to collaborate and include Blum and Doherty in their efforts and perhaps play live at some point.

To listen to W2’s “4 Corners of a Circle,” visit The album is available in select stores in the Mount Pleasant area. All proceeds will go to various children’s charities, including Blythedale Children’s Hospital.

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