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Tolland Musician Finds Statewide Success with Band

Desmond McCaffrey co-founded Uncle Flatty in 2005.

Tolland resident Desmond McCaffrey and his fellow band members from "Uncle Flatty" are making music that is being embraced all over the state.

Uncle Flatty, which was formed back in 2005, recently won the "Best Blues/Country Rock" category at the in New London. 

McCaffrey said that the award was a sign of how far the band has come. 

"We were so honored to be included with some of these bands," he said. "We thought there was no chance we'd get this award."

But Uncle Flatty fans have been growing in number, drawn in by the band's original music that can switch from foot-tapping country, to a harder rock influence, which McCaffrey says places the band into the "Americana" category.

"It's a catch-all phrase, which I think is a good thing," he said. "It defines those things that aren't mainstream."

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The band's individualistic sound is a direct result of the musical upbringings of its four members: Desmond McCaffrey, James Gannotti, Eric O’Hara and Rick D’Elia. The four grew up together in southeastern Connecticut and were part of a number of bands before some casual jamming led to Uncle Flatty's beginning.

"My siblings and I were brought up on a diet of classical music and Celtic music," McCaffrey said of his own childhood. "My mother dressed us up in Irish sweaters, and we played at church functions, hospitals and elder care homes."

McCaffrey would eventually learn to play the piano, violin, drums and a few other instruments, as he explored different genres.

Each player's rich musical background can be heard on the band's two albums: "Sad Songs and Wildflowers," released in 2010, and their most recent release, "Broken Places." 

McCaffrey said he is looking forward to sharing the latest releases at performances this summer, which will include the Ellington Farmers' Market and the new Vernon Arts Center.

"To be able to play at some of these arts center, you have to have a style of music accessible across all age groups, which is great," he said.

You can listen to the band's latest album, "Broken Places," on the band's music page.

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