The self-proclaimed “couture rock” group double-breasted consists of three unique members with three very distinct instruments—Kristy Chmura (harp, vocals), Ardith Collins (cello, vocals), and Josh Bicknell (percussion, vocals). The three met while earning their Bachelors’ of Music at The College of New Jersey and soon embarked on a journey to marry their classical training with the pop/rock music that was also close to their hearts.
While Kristy initially dreamed of playing coffee houses, Ardith and Josh wanted to crash the independent music scene at traditional rock clubs. Ironically, many of double-breasted’s songs are appropriate for both locations. All three members compose and sing, bringing a certain variety to their songs that is rarely found in current pop groups. “You Never Said Goodbye” is a heartfelt lament of a friend lost, without closure. It begins with the harp and cello in counterpoint beneath Kristy’s vocal lament and ends in a frustrated rupture of emotion. In the softer ballad, “Clocks,” Ardith expresses grief from the passing of time and friendships. Kristy’s harp is the tolling bell, while the anguished cello sighs under a distraught chorus. “Lullabye” is one of double-breasted’s quietest songs, featuring Josh’s lead vocal over a harp ostinato and swelling cello lines.
On stage, double-breasted is not only a sight—Kristy’s beautiful 6-foot, 46-string harp and Ardith’s striking flamed-back cello surround Josh’s drum set—they are also a synergy of musical power and beauty in harmony. The harp parts have been compared to a finger-picked lead guitar, but can also strike chords with the strength of a piano. The cello provides much of the low-end, but is also used as a lead instrument much like an electric guitar from a traditional rock group. The drums and percussion fill out the spectrum, providing a dynamic range and pulse to the music. Double-breasted have played the stages of NJ/NY rock venues such as Maxwell’s, Arlene’s Grocery, The Court Tavern, and The Cutting Room; more intimate acoustic venues such as The Goldhawk, Café Meow, and Here’s to The Arts; and local music festivals, such as the Black River Music and Art Fest. They have also peformed as part of NJPAC’s Prelude Concert Series for the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and the national tour of RENT at the prestigious New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ.
After a hiatus during 2003 – 2005, double-breasted reappeared in 2006, more creative than ever. They have been busy writing, performing, and recording new material. Their first full-length album, Who Will Love You? was released in late 2008 and is currently available for purchase. A new five song EP is to be released in the very beginning of 2012.