By Chris Spiewak |
Music composition can be as simple or as complex as one desires. Early rock ‘n roll songs were frequently simple three-chord arrangements, ala “Johnny B Goode” or “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” and told a story in simple terms. With 60 years of rock music in the books, today’s songwriters have to be creative with their lyrics and music to set themselves apart from past composers and current competition. Singer/songwriter Rand Hubiak of Asbury Park is one of those creative people, a modern-day virtuoso using unique chord structures and penning insightful lyrics that would make any college professor smile.
Hubiak, also known as “The Random Hubiak,” has all the attributes to make a successful songwriter. He is well traveled, being born in Utah and moving to California before settling in western Pennsylvania in his teen years, then to New Jersey in 2003. He is well taught, taking lessons on his parents upright piano at the age of 8 from an 81-year-old teacher, who had been teaching for 60 of her 81 years. And he is well educated, graduating from Penn State University with a degree in English, focusing on English literature.
Hubiak began writing lyrics and poetry in the seventh and eighth grades in California, and began combining words with music shortly thereafter. His mother and father were always singing around the house, listening to Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, and it was about this point that he discovered that he had been blessed with a crystal clear tenor voice. His adolescent years in Pennsylvania saw him compose his first songs, and there was no looking back. While attending Penn State, he met Adam Silverstein who would become a lifelong friend and music collaborator. Unfortunately, the music did not generate enough revenue to pay the bills, and a “day job” was imminent.
Soon after college, he began to care for his ill grandmother, and needed an occupation with a flexible schedule so he became a tutor with The Princeton Review, an acclaimed tutoring and test prep organization. With little free time, he took a sabbatical from music. In 2008, his family responsibilities lessened, and he decided to renew his love of music.
A year later, though, his life would take an unfortunate detour. Diagnosed with pneumonia in 2009, severe coughing lead to damaged vocal folds and a ruptured esophageal sphincter, and doctors were unsure about his future vocal quality. Years of vocal rest and continued homeopathic treatments have been successful, and Hubiak is now back to 95 percent of normal. At a recent solo show in New Hope, Pennsylvania, he was able to hit all of his notes, and he sounded as good as ever.
Culling from his early musical influences and his English literary background, Hubiak’s music is, as he likes to say, “sensory” music. Each composition is carefully crafted to tap sentiment from the listener and create scenes in the listener’s mind. Many selections have little hooks and witty observations embedded in the stories; his love of author and Pulitzer Prize winner Edith Wharton is certainly evident. The early music has a definite Billy Joel influence to it, and in fact his Billy Joel cover songs are wonderful to listen to in person, each piano note hammered with percussive force in the same style as the original. There are hints of Elton John and Tom Waits in his music, along with Joni Mitchell, one of his biggest early favorites. Some songs have a Broadway show feel to them; when asked why he doesn’t take his talents to New York City, Hubiak replies simply “I just want to play rock ‘n roll.”
Hubiak has certainly been prolific in his music career with two full-length albums and seven EPs recorded to date, and his recent acceptance to the Pandora streaming music service is something he is proud of. He credits his band for much of his success, currently consisting of collaborator and keyboardist Adam Silverstein, guitarist Tom Briant, bassist Jacque Jobes, and drummer Paul Galiszewski. Steve Jankowski of Jankland Studios is the mastermind behind the fantastic sounds on each release, and there will be a new album arriving in November 2018. Visit TheRandomHubiak.com for news and upcoming live performances. There is an art to great storytelling, and through his music Rand Hubiak knows how to bring his stories to life.
Chris Spiewak is currently the bassist for rock/blues cover band VyntEdge.
This article was first published in the Oct. 18-24, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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