I am so excited to share this interview with all of you. This band has a special place in my heart. I clearly remember the first time I saw One Love Bridge perform. It was a cold night down at the Port of Edmonds in the middle of December many years ago. I was still new to Edmonds at that time and falling in love with the city more every day. Stumbling across fantastic live music not only solidified my love for the area, but it also inspired me to push myself musically to perform more. That night I was so stoked by the music I made sure to get a sticker to remember the band. That sticker was the first sticker I put on my little ukulele case. A case that has now been covered with stickers from venues and bands I have met through many musical adventures. It never occurred to me that night that someday I would be lucky enough to call these individuals my mentors and friends.
One Love Bridge is made up of four local musicians, each with impressive musical backgrounds. The band formed around 2016 when Rico V and Alan Hardwick were spending time jamming together and said those magic words that are the genesis of many magical musical endeavors: “We should start a band.” Rico V had already been playing in bands in the Northwest music scene for 30 years at this point, performing and recording with artists such as The Guess Who, Christopher Cross, Crosby Stills & Nash, Huey Lewis & the News, and Los Lobos. Before helping to form One Love Bridge he had been a member of area bands such as Athenz, 22/20, Chain Reaction, AquaVinyl, The Encounters, Magazine and the Edward Paul Trio. Alan Hardwick studied classical and jazz saxophone under Greg Yasinitsky, Brent Jensen and David Hagelganz at Washington State University. He took a long hiatus from performing (which you can read about in this article about his life as an author, and a police officer) before reentering the music scene, playing with the Edward Paul Trio and sharing the stage with Emmy winner Bryan Duncan in 2017.
Alan and Rico brought percussionist Mark Pendolino in right away to get the band going. Mark had played with Rico previously in addition to playing percussion and singing for over 20 years in a variety of bands across the West, including The Hethrows, Bernice and Vegas DeMilo from San Francisco, Chilliwhip, 3-Headed Soul and Mozart’s Revenge from Denver, Area 51 from Las Vegas; and Mudbug, Knox, Mark Lilly, Threeve and Loophole from Seattle. To fully round out the sound, the three became four with the addition of bass extraordinaire Gary Sparling. Gary is a veteran of the Northwest music scene, playing bass and singing lead and background vocals in bands across Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alberta. His bands have shared the stage with A Flock of Seagulls, Starship, Anne McCue, and Heart by Heart.
Sitting down with these four legendary musicians was a little intimidating at first, but they created a fully welcoming environment for our conversation. The banter started right away, their ease and camaraderie showcasing how effortlessly they jive as a group. I asked them to share some of their favorite memories of shows they have played. Favorites ranged from funny stories (a guest artist taking their pants off on stage!) to shows where they felt fully connected to the audience and the sound, like playing the Main Stages at Taste of Edmonds and the Edmonds Arts Festival. They have many favorite venues in the area and ultimately enjoy every show, especially when the crowd gets up and starts dancing.
Future dream gigs for One Love Bridge would be to play at the Gorge, at the Triple Door and at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. They are looking forward to playing larger stages and opening for a national act or doing a headline show someday. But it isn’t all about going for the big stuff; they are also really excited about opportunities to collaborate with other local artists and help others get music out into the world.
In addition to their lineup of live performances this summer, One Love Bridge is also finishing an album to be released by the end of this year. With 10 original songs already and a few in the works, this will be a can’t-miss album to add to your collection. The album is currently untitled, but make sure to keep up with their Facebook page and website to get updates. If you have seen them play live before, you have heard a couple of the originals that will be on the album. They try to fit in a few originals during every show. I have my favorites already!
When asked what advice they have for people getting started with music or performing, they all agreed that you just need to go for it, have fun and don’t worry about perfection. What makes the experience so fun for these four playing together is that they don’t take it too seriously (just serious enough) and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s about getting up there and having a blast, entertaining people and having fun. They each added a bit to this sentiment, chiming in with “Music is an art,” “Everyone’s art is different” and “Mistakes can turn into something really cool.” Alan also shared that it is common for musicians to be hard on themselves and often be afraid to put their music out into the world. He advised that most people are probably better than they think they are. All four band members love helping aspiring musicians get out into the world.
One of the most inspirational supporters for the band came from the late international recording artist Enrique Henao. Enrique was a long-time Edmonds resident after traveling the world as a musician, and he made a really big impact on the individuals in One Love Bridge. Henao was a master of classical and jazz music and performed for heads of state and with artists such as Charlie Parker, Sammy Davis Jr., Julio Iglesias and Andres Segovia. After playing concert stages in more than 80 countries, he made Edmonds his home and dedicated his life and talents to helping others, specifically children of the world. He would play free concerts for kids and would teach the neighborhood kids how to play. Enrique’s passion for sharing music, for playing locally and for supporting other local musicians such as Alan, Rico, Mark and Gary, made a significant impact on One Love Bridge, and it is what motivates them to share the love moving forward.
It’s in the name, One Love Bridge: “The love comes from bringing beautiful people together with the vehicle of music. Magic is the right word, music is what real magic is and it’s most magical when it’s natural.” (A shared quote from all four members chiming in).
Go be part of the magic and feel the love at one of the upcoming gigs for One Love Bridge:
Sunday, July 2 – Rico V is playing solo at the Port of Edmonds from 2-4 p.m.
Saturday, July 8 – Dance, Edmonds! One Love Bridge at Salish Boathouse from 7-10 p.m.
Saturday, July 29 – LIVE in Kenmore! One Love Bridge at 192 Brewing from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Saturday Aug. 19 – Boathouse Brew-ha-ha! One Love Bridge at Salish Boathouse from 7-10 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 20 – Mill Creek Summer Concert Series at The Forum at 6 p.m.
My recommendations for July:
Wednesday, July 5 – Sea Notes weekly Wednesday Jazz Combo Jam at the Port of Edmonds with the EWHS Jazz Combo. (Every Wednesday through the summer!)
Friday, July 7 –Deep Sea Jazz Jam Session at the Port of Edmonds (every Friday evening from 6-8 p.m.)
Saturday, July 8 – Saturday Night Guitar at the Port of Edmonds (every Saturday evening)
Sunday, July 9 – Local songwriters Beclynn and Cherie Migas playing Songwriter Sunday at the Port of Edmonds from 2-4 p.m.) or Sturtz – folk/soul/acoustic quartet at City Park from 3-4 p.m.
Tuesday, July 11 – James Coates – folk/rock singer-songwriter at Hazel Miller Plaza from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 13 – McPage & Powell – Roots/Blues/Pop at Hazel Miller Plaza from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Friday, July 14 – Miss Sydney and the Downtown Saints at Salish Brewing Boathouse from 7-10 p.m.
Sunday, July 16 – John Pinetree at the Port of Edmonds, 2-4 p.m. or The Fentons – Rock/Country/Bluegrass at City Park from 3-4 p.m.
Tuesday, July 18 – Outpour Vocals – acapella ensemble at Hazel Miller Plaza from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 20 – Mark Lewis Quartet – Jazz at Hazel Miller Plaza from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Friday, July 21 – Local group The Encounters at Engels Pub from 9-midnight.
Sunday July 23 – McPage and Powell at the Port of Edmonds, 2-4 p.m. or Show Brazil – contemporary and traditional Brazilian music at City Park from 3-4 p.m.
Tuesday, July 25 – Guitar Gil + Sorry Charlie Leggett – Blues at Hazel Miller Plaza from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 27 – Anar Dana – Dances from N. Africa to Central Asia at Hazel Miller Plaza from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 30 – Local award-winning songwriter Kellee Bradley at the Port of Edmonds, 2-4 p.m. or Duende Libre Quartet – Pan-global jazz fusion at City Park from 3-4 p.m.
Enjoy the music
— By Rachel Gardner
Rachel Gardner has a heartfelt appreciation for art in all forms and believes everyone is an artist, some just don’t know it yet. A dedicated and involved Edmonds resident, she can often be spotted onstage cracking jokes between sets or in the audience enjoying local live performances. She enjoys being playful with her art and finding unique ways of expression, like forming a boho-grunge-folk ukulele trio with local Edmonds moms.