Origin: Pennsylvania (USA)
Get the feelin' - 1986
- The band Synch was formed in the mid-80s. Lou Butwin was the lead singer. However, drummer Jimmy Harnen wrote “Where Are You Now”, and was afforded the chance to sing it. The song was released on an independent label in 1986. The song got some local airplay in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania market. The band was then signed by Columbia records. By the time their album was recorded, Jimmy Harnen and keyboardist Chuck Yarmey were the only remaining members of the original lineup.
“Where Are You Now” is a power ballad by the Pennsylvania-based 1980s band Synch. Co-written and sung by Synch band member Jimmy Harnen, the song was initially credited solely to ‘Synch’ when it was first released in 1986. In 1989, the song was re-released under the name ‘Jimmy Harnen with Synch’. “Where Are You Now” peaked at #77, and the band was dropped by Columbia.
However, in 1989, the song gained huge popularity and received heavy airplay, prompting record executives to re-release the original (major label) recording of the single, now credited to ‘Jimmy Harnen with Synch’. WTG, a new label at the time, signed Harnen as a solo artist, and while the song was climbing the charts, he began recording a full-length release for the label. This time, the song reached all the way up to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. -
- Jimmy Harnen is a singer, songwriter and drummer from Plymouth, Pennsylvania. He was the drummer for a local band named Synch, made up of lead vocalist Lou Butwin, guitarist Dave Abraham, bassist James A. Donnelly, and keyboardist Chuck Yarmey.
In 1985, Synch recorded some of their songs, with Harnen singing on one song, “Where Are You Now?”, which he cowrote with a friend named Rich Congdon. The band decided to release it as a single on the independent label Micki Records. The song got local airplay, and scored a record deal with Columbia Records. They re-recorded “Where Are You Now?”, and released an album, Get the Feelin’ in 1986. “Where Are You Now?” reached #77 on the Billboard Hot 100, but fell off the chart the following week. Synch was soon dropped from Columbia. They spent the next few years trying to recapture the spotlight, before disbanding.
However in 1989, “Where Are You Now?” resurfaced and began to get a lot of airplay. With the song now credited as ‘Jimmy Harnen with Synch’, it began to grow in popularity, and it shot all the way up to #10 on June 10, 1989. As the song was climbing the charts, WTG, a new label at the time, signed Harnen as a solo artist.
Jimmy Harnen’s debut album, Can’t Fight The Midnight, featured well-known studio musicians including future-American Idol judge Randy Jackson (bass), Toto’s Steve Lukather (guitar) and a guest appearance by one of Harnen’s idols, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin. The album and tour flopped and Harnen spent the next couple of years releasing occasional songs and tapes until his move to Nashville, Tennessee.
Harnen is no longer a recording artist. However, he is now president of the label Republic Nashville. Artists on the label include The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, Sunny Sweeney, Fast Ryde and SHEL. -
- Another band like Magnum(US version) that have close ties with Pennsylvanian legends Dakota. It would appear that Messrs Hludzik, Kelly and Manwiller took on something of a mentoring role for Synch as they both produced and arranged the album for the band. In fact there's something of an incestuous relationship going on here, given that guitarist Jon Lorrance eventually resurfaced in the line-up of <b>Dakota</b> when the band reformed in the late nineties, early noughties. If the above doesn't give you an inkling as to what Synch sound like then the carefully stage managed group photo complete with requisite bouffant hairstyles surely does. Then again, if you're still stumped - the two keyboard players and four backing singers is another tell-tale clue - yes you've guessed it, this is classic AOR.
Fortunately the band have spent equally as much time and attention to cultivating their AOR sensibilities as they have their immaculately coiffured appearance. The Dakota influence is obvious from the start as 'Don't Walk Away From Love' is a classy ballad with layered keyboards, tempered guitar and some delicate harmonies. 'Thinkin Of You' raises the tempo, its high tech opening building into an energetic workout with a great chorus and surging guitar work from Jon Lorrance. This is followed by a couple of live cuts from a concert at Seton Catholic High School. This seems to be a very appropriate choice of venue as the music these guys play is very wholesome and unthreatening. Somehow you can't imagine Kiss or Van Halen being invited to perform the same gig. 'Playin' A Game' is prime time AOR with all the distinguishing hallmarks - the strutting guitar, neatly interspersed with stabbing keyboard fills. Jon Lorrance is even allowed the opportunity to cut loose with a well-oiled guitar solo. In fact he distinguishes himself throughout the album with some impressive fretboard action. Having worked their audience of Catholic schoolgirls into a frenzy (well if the intro is anything to go by..) things are calmed down somewhat with 'Where Are You Now?' I'm not a great fan of this song if I'm being honest, though it's slightly less insipid in a live environment. Side one closer the upbeat rocker 'Hot Summer Night' is a vast improvement. The chorus lifted straight out of the Dakota songbook. It comes as no surprise then to find that it was actually penned by Messrs Hludzik and Manwiller. Side two continues the momentum in spectacular fashion, the raw and dirty guitar riffing from Jon Lorrance contrasting nicely with the strident keyboards and delicious harmonies on the chorus. The tasteful keyboard intro to 'Give Love Another Try' is yet another song guaranteed to have AOR fans swooning in the aisles. The band maintain the energy levels with an excellent version of the Dakota classic 'Don't Stop Believin'. Whilst it's not quite the equal of the original version it succeeds in running it a very close second. The upbeat 'I Want You' is characterised by its high tech keyboard stylings, but Jon Lorrance's biting guitar, the punchy chorus and pumping bass ensures that this is no wimp out. Ending proceedings is the driving 'Something We Already Had' it's dripping with melody and has yet another terrific guitar solo from Jon Lorrance. -
It's easy to understand to why this album is highly sought after by AOR collectors and Dakota fans, because despite the fact it's an independent release the band display major label qualities. As has been documented elsewhere on this site, the song 'Where Are You Now?' took on a new lease of life several years later, culminating in Harnen inking a deal with Polygram and releasing a solo album 'Can't Fight The Midnight'. That was a good album but not a patch on this earlier effort with his former bandmates. -