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Thursday, November 28, 2013

‘Dead’ Ducks: band Gratefully inspired

NASHUA – Like the fingers of a guitarist’s picking hand, The Sitting Ducks are an incredibly intuitive unit that creates music to get you moving.

Ro Ahuja, Dan Rahilly, Ty Cicia and Andy Sutcliffe have combined forces through their love of such legendary bands as The Grateful Dead and artists like Jimi Hendrix, and have been filling the heads of a growing number of fans with their bluesy-jazz funked-up music for more than four years. ...

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NASHUA – Like the fingers of a guitarist’s picking hand, The Sitting Ducks are an incredibly intuitive unit that creates music to get you moving.

Ro Ahuja, Dan Rahilly, Ty Cicia and Andy Sutcliffe have combined forces through their love of such legendary bands as The Grateful Dead and artists like Jimi Hendrix, and have been filling the heads of a growing number of fans with their bluesy-jazz funked-up music for more than four years.

And at the annual Holiday Stroll in downtown Nashua this Saturday, the boys will be headlining the main stage, helping to ring in the season by filling the air with the sounds of dancing in the street.

This is the third year the band has played the event, but is the first for them on the main stage.

“Playing the main stage this year not only gives us a chance to put on a great show for our fans, but also share our music with more people,” Cicia said. “We want to show people that we are the best up and coming blues rock act in the area.”

Cicia joined the band in late 2011. His first gig was playing the Rockin’ Rib Fest battle of the bands, which they won, and were actually back to back winners.

Their first year playing at the Winter Stroll, Cicia said they played in what amounted to an off-off-off Broadway stage – in other words, one of the side stages set off Main Street. The next year they were given a spot a little closer to the primary action. “Guess we had to earn our way up,” Cicia said. “Just like we like it.”

Sitting down with these guys in Nashua for three hours discussing music, philosophy and their future, it was clear they have the “it” factor. Ahuja plays a mean guitar and has a soulful voice, but the heart of a peaceful prankster. Rahilly likewise can shred – or noodle, as many have attached to Jerry Garcia’s style – and sings with the soul of Otis Redding. Aside them, Cicia adds his playful personality and Phil Lesh-like lead bass lines into the musical stew. Sutcliffe fills the gaps with creative, madcap abandon, and holds the rhythm for the rest to play within and without.

In the basement, they stream their way through the Dead’s “All New Minglewood Blues” and it is very clear they are serious about what they do, but at the same time are having a blast. They play the Dead as passionately as their own creative output.

“I think the Dead is such a heavy influence on us because it’s easy for us to relate to,” Cicia said. They “really helped us discover each other as musicians, which is why I think we play so well together.”

The guys have also incorporated aspects from the likes of Gov’t Mule, Hendrix and Eric Clapton into their repertoire.

Philosophically, the group takes a collective “hard work and the multiverse will provide” type of perspective. “We have all the time in the world,” Sutcliffe said. Making the national splash is something they’d like to do at some point, but they look forward to putting in the effort to build the fan base and earn it. Thus far they definitely are seeing successes.

“We have a small but dedicated following in Nashua,” Cicia said.

The Sitting Ducks are looking to add as many shows as possible to bring their auditory vision to more people and like their inspirers the Dead, are best experienced live. More of their sounds can be found on reverbnation.com/sittingducks
band.

Rick Dumont can be reached at ricksne
@gmail.com.