When Mark Pietrovito’s previous band, Part & Parcel, decided to break up in March 2020, he began looking for a new purpose. He wasn't sure what he wanted and didn't have a singular vision, but after giving it much thought, he decided to start writing and recording his own songs under the name GoodFolk.
On May 25, he'll release his first album under the moniker, Thanks for Being My Friend, which includes a mix of Americana songs he's written over the years that never found a home in his other musical projects and tracks he wrote during the pandemic, when he felt trapped at home, looking for a way to pass the time.
He describes the upcoming record as his “pandemic baby." His friends from Tenth Mountain Division serve as his backing band, and he recruited Pennsylvanian folk artist Little Flowers for additional vocals. Close friend Fritz Boniface of the Deer Creek Sharpshooters plays dobro, and Kay McKenzie from Three Wire Winter also sits in.
“It was special to share my music with them,” Pietrovito says. “They knew I wrote all the music myself. I trusted it in their hands, backing me up as a band. They did awesome. It was cool.”
Pietrovito reached out to his friend Brian Dale Allen Strouse, a songwriter, producer and audio mixing engineer, who he knew would understand his vision for the project. They recorded the album at the Home Ranch, located in Clark, Colorado. They began by soundproofing one of the cabins on the property, turning it into a prime recording studio space. The group also borrowed necessary gear to complete the project from Boulder’s Cosmic Collective. The album was recorded in just a few days.
“It was special to be able to do it there and with those fellows, because I trust them with my vision, and they understand me as a human,” explains Pietrovito. “Recording the album was incredible. I love being in the studio, especially like the one that we built up there."
While the recording process was taking place, the musicians immersed themselves in what Colorado ranch life has to offer, and they gave the project their all. "We go up, and we camp out in little cabins. We go fishing and rafting and take in the whole thing," says Pietrovito. "So being able to record it there was big, because it had become such a special place."
Two singles from the record have already been released: “I Can’t Swim,” which includes Tenth Mountain Division's full band, and “Living Proof,” which includes Tenth Mountain member Andrew Cooney. Little Flowers sings backup vocals on both tracks.
Many of the songs offer sorrow, but the record also brings joy, Pietrovito says. Throughout the project, his intent was to make light of the human situation.
Pietrovito describes "I Can't Swim" as follows: “I think that I tried to be sarcastic. This track makes light of hard times. I think it makes mischief out of struggle. It sets a tone for the record."
The second single, “Living Proof,” is a little bit slower than the other songs, and shows the album's softer and more acoustic side, says Pietrovito. “I wrote this tune years ago. It always stuck with me. I think it’s about a life-long sort of love.”
Moving forward, Pietrovito hopes to continue what he has been doing for years: staying true to himself and creating what he loves.
“I'm just excited about GoodFolk and excited to collaborate with other artists,” he says. “I’m excited to keep pumping out records. We've got a second one on the way already, and I look forward to it. I'm super excited about what’s happening, and the future of GoodFolk.”
Thanks for Being My Friend can be pre-saved on Spotify now and will be available May 25.
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