Duo has been combining musical talents to create songs for over two decades
“I have a notepad with me and it may be a line I’ve heard in a restaurant or bar… I jot that line down and I may not revisit it for several months. Usually a song comes from a single idea.” — Peter Sheardy, Songwriter
By Cathy Kimmel-Srock
Review Staff Writer
Music can do a lot of things. Turn around a person’s mood, get them pumped up or even bring them to tears.
It can certainly be said that music can bring people together. And for Lake Orion High School alumni Peter Sheardy and John Hruska, it has continued to seal a friendship decades in the making.
Sheardy, from the LOHS Class of 1977, and Hruska, Class of 1978, have been collaborating and making music for over 25 years, but they’ve been friends much longer. The two grew up a mile apart from each other, attended Orion schools together (although one year apart), were each the drum major for the LOHS Marching Band in back-to-back years and then both continued their love of green and white by earning degrees at Michigan State University. Then, 27 years ago, their friendship took on a different note – a music note, that is.
“It started over a champagne breakfast in Kansas City of all places,” explained Sheardy, who is a published poet and author.
“John said, ‘You know, we should take some of your poems and put them to music.’ We quickly found out that poetry doesn’t necessarily transcribe to music, so I had to do a little adjusting to the way that I write and that’s how we started it.”
From that point on, Sheardy would write the lyrics and Hruska would compose the music, and the collaboration between the two was born. According to Sheardy, the two don’t stick to a specific genre, rather describing their sound as “Americana.”
They have released two CDs, one in 1996-97 and another last year, and have another one in the works, with a tentative release date in the spring.
That new CD features a song that Sheardy recently won second place for in the American Songwriter September/October 2016 Lyrics Contest, called “Ghosts And Broken Hearts.”
“I finished it two days before the contest deadline and sent it in,” said Sheardy, who has entered the contest before and earned honorable mention a few times.
“You never really know since it’s based on a panel of judges and you don’t know what they are looking for,” he added. “I may think it’s a great song but maybe nobody else does.”
That wasn’t the case with this song though.
“It’s really competitive and pretty amazing,” Hruska said of the contest and his friend’s second place finish.
In fact, this propelled “Ghosts And Broken Hearts” to the top of their to-do list to complete for the latest album, which they are currently fine tuning and finishing, according to Hruska.
“We’ve had little bits and spurts of success,” he said, noting that anytime you can sell CDs and your music to hundreds of other people, it feels pretty good.
The pair has also had some success with some advertising music work, including having a project pending right now.
“First, we were trying to be the songs on the radio, and now we are trying to be between the songs on the radio,” Hruska joked regarding their growing advertising work.
Accolades and advertising jobs aside, the two make music because it’s a passion and way of life.
“I have a notepad with me and it may be a line I’ve heard in a restaurant or bar, or it may be a line I’ve heard on an airplane and I jot that line down and I may not revisit it for several months,” said Sheardy. “Usually a song comes from a single idea.”
The words and the music then come together in a little studio Hruska has in his basement.
The duo gets together to collaborate when real life, day jobs and distance does not get in their way.
Sheardy is a horticulturist, traveling the country as a plant buyer, who calls Chicago his home now.
“I am on the road about 250 nights a year,” he said. “I actually do a lot of writing on air planes. For some reason, I get inspired on planes.”
Hruska, a father of three who lives in Rochester with his wife, works in banking.
“It’s kind of a strange mix – music and banking,” he said. “It’s a little left brain, right brain thing.”
The pair still gets together several times a year, sometimes even meeting at songwriter seminars and other music-related things around the country, or just socially right back at home where it all started.
“We’re still attached to Lake Orion, no doubt about it,” said Hruska.
For Sheardy, who moved out of Lake Orion after college, he tries to come into town at least four times a year, most recently during the Fourth of July holiday.
“I still have friends and family there, so I get back to the area quite a bit,” he said.
The biggest change he’s noticed in his visits to Orion since living here?
“The Wagon Wheel closed down! That was our old stomping grounds,” Sheardy joked.
If you are interested in getting a CD from Hruska and Sheardy, or HrusH Sounds as they are called, you can contact Hruska at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also purchase their song, “Aces Up Your Sleeve” online at Amazon, iTunes and Microsoft Digital.
Also, some of the duo’s music can be found online at their page on ReverbNation, www.reverbnation.com/hrushsounds.