Vince’s Notes: The songs my grandfather taught me

Picture by Andy Whorehall

By Vince Chiarelli

I have spent my life trying to continue the legacy of my grandfather, Vince Chiarelli. One of the most important things my grandfather left me is my love of music. I believe music is important in everyone’s lives, and leaves a mark with them forever. I try to help all local musicians get their music heard and get the recognition they deserve. While I don’t usually like talking about my own music, in this article, I’d like to talk about my brand-new CD that I have produced in honor of my grandfather.

As the tagline of this article says, this CD is composed of songs my grandfather not only taught me, but also wrote. This tagline comes from a festival I played last month. I was asked to perform at the Oakley Festa Pasta Vino in Chicago, and festival promoter Ron Onesti came up with this great tagline. Festivalgoers seemed to really respond to the sign in front of the stage that billed our performance as “The songs my grandfather taught me.” It truly explains, in one sentence, the music I perform.

If you are not familiar with my grandfather, he was a local tailor, musician and owner of Vincent Records. Many people called him the “Singing Tailor,” and for several decades performed music throughout Rockford. He taught me everything he knew and graciously left me the rights to his record label, Vincent Records. Throughout the years, he wrote and published hundreds of his own songs, but also published and recorded several other local and regional artists.

For the past year, it has been my goal to release a CD in honor of his music, and I have recently done so. A few months ago, Frank Calvagna (guitar) and I (guitar and vocals) recorded a live set of my grandfather’s songs at the Midwest Sound with engineer Dan McMahon. The sound we produced came out great, and we decided to release a CD. I titled the CD Play Play Guitar: The Songs of Vincent Chiarelli, as one of the songs is called “Play Play Guitar” and the entire CD is completely acoustic guitars and vocals.

I am proud to say that this is the first release on Vincent Records in about 30 years. However, I am not stopping here. The next Vincent Records release will be in the next month or so, consisting of a re-release of a Vincent Records recording artist Joey Irving. We also have several other releases in the works for the near future. It is my goal to continue where my grandfather left off, and keep pushing local and regional original music.

This Friday, July 12, I will be releasing this CD to the public as I perform at the Rockford City Market. What better place to showcase local, original music than with all the talented local artisans at the City Market? After the City Market, we will be quickly moving our gear and taking the stage at Abreo to play another set from 8 to 11 p.m. To see our full performance schedule, please visit You can purchase our CD digitally or physically at Please continue to support local music!

Please contact Vince Chiarelli if you have any original Rockford music or radio suggestions. He can be reached at

From the July 10-16, 2013, issue

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