Pop In ‘Along the Road of Faith’ From In A Chord For Your Memorial Weekend Travels

So as we all kick into the first official weekend of summer, we have some awesome music from the duo In A Chord. Cindy Ballaro and Paul Huff have been performing together as In-A-Chord since March 2015. They bring to the world original and unique inspirational songs, melodies and harmonies, coupled with a delivery that is unmistakably heart-centered. They are extremely proud & excited to present their new album, ‘Along the Road of Faith’ with the global music audience of @skopemag. Join us today as we chat about the album, 2 artists/bands that have been most influential, and of course are these 2 a couple?

Stoli: Where are we talking from today and how is your week so far?


PAUL: We are in beautiful Charlotte, NC. [laughs] I’m having a colonoscopy this week so I’m hoping things will get better as the week goes on.

CINDY: My week is going great! Seems that the Universe wanted me to help friends out with doctor’s appointments this week (including Paul), so that has felt good to do.

Stoli: You have been together since 2015, how did you meet up and when did you realize that you had a musical bond?


PAUL: We belonged to the same church. I played guitar and sang with our church’s music team every Sunday, and Cindy would join the team about once a month or more. I had written a song called, “If I Knew You,” and I thought it would be cool to do the song as a duet with a female. So I asked one of my buddies who suggested I ask Cindy. I knew she had a great voice, but we had never worked on anything together – not just the two of us. So we agreed to try this one song. The response we got when we performed it a few weeks later was pretty overwhelming (in a good way!), and the church asked us to do a 30-minute set for the annual volunteer dinner. Since we’d only sung that one song, we scrambled to find another 5-6 songs. The response we got from that engagement was even more encouraging. I believe Cindy and I just looked at each other and said, “You want to do something with this,” and we both agreed that we’d love to see where this would go.

CINDY: I’ll only add to Paul’s answer that I feel like it was one of those “perfect storm” situations. I had recently ended a job – which meant I had time on my hands – AND I had a real desire to become a “professional” singer, and a long-time dream of “singing in a band.” When I felt the chemistry with Paul I knew this was a sign from the Universe that this needed to be pursued. And the rest is history!

Stoli: How long did it take to form your niche sound and how would you describe your sound to new fans?


PAUL: It actually took several months because Cindy and I come from such different musical backgrounds and exposures. Cindy is a trained vocalist with a bent toward show tunes, while I’m a self-taught guitarist who has never had a singing lesson, which is probably evident – ha! Plus, my musical preference is more in the Southern rock, folk, country and bluegrass genres. Since I am the songwriter, Cindy has kind of had to come over to whatever I’m writing.

I always tell our fans that the music I write comes through me, not from me. I never sit down and try to write a song. Most of the time, the lyrics, melody and beat just come pouring out, so I

decided early on that I wouldn’t try to pigeonhole my music into a specific genre. Sometimes the melody is country. Or bluegrass. Or folk rock. Our fans tell us it’s “feel-good music.” It’s of a spiritual nature, and it’s intended to be inspirational. But it definitely is not in-your-face Christian music. It is positive and uplifting. Our fans tell us if they’re having a bad day, they pop our music in and the world seems like a better place to live in. One agent said, “The world needs to hear the positive message in your songs.”

CINDY: One of the other things that we’ve developed (and that I think sets us apart) is our comical banter. I love to laugh…and Paul has a unique comical style that makes me sincerely laugh out loud – ALONG with our audiences. We say that our performances are full of humor, harmony and heart (and I think our fans would agree)!

Stoli: What 2 artists/bands have been most influential on your music and why?


PAUL: Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash – The chemistry and harmonies more so than anything else. Cindy and I are not romantically involved, but we do have great chemistry and we sound good together. One of our fans said, “Your voices really like each other.” We actually have more fun interplay than June and Johnny did.

Sonny and Cher. – A little bit about the harmonies here, as well, but more so the interaction they had on their television show. Who knew they were going to be funny?

We haven’t modeled anyone or any group, really. Much of our interaction is simply spontaneous. Our fans tell us we have great songs, tight harmonies, and a fun, interactive presentation. We frequently hear, “You guys are so real, you come straight from the heart.”

CINDY: I agree with everything Paul said!

Stoli: How did you decide on the name In-A-Chord and how does that represent your music & repertoire?


PAUL: It’s definitely a play on the phrase in accord. We brainstormed ideas about our name for several days before we settled on In-A-Chord. I think the name resonated with both of us. We think it stands for singing in harmony (and on the right chord!), but also that we want harmony for ourselves, harmony in our relationship with Spirit, harmony for the world. We spelled cord as Chord to remind ourselves and our fans that we are about the music.

CINDY: Many years ago I sang in a barbershop quartet and our name was Complete-A-Chord. When we were brainstorming about names I remembered that one and then we changed it up to fit us better.

Stoli: Your new album ‘Along the Road of Faith’ is out now. How long were you writing & recording that collection of music?

PAUL: The majority of the songs on that CD were written before Cindy and I started singing together, so we had a lot of material to choose from. Once we decided that we wanted to do a CD together, it was simply a matter of selection. What 10-12 songs do we want to include out of 300+ that I’d written. I do want to make it clear that the way the songs were originally written ended up a little differently [and better] when Cindy and I started arranging them for us.

CINDY: We had the fortunate experience to cross paths with an incredibly talented musician/producer/sound engineer, named Fred Story, at a workshop we attended. After hearing us sing he enthusiastically told us that he would LOVE to work with us. Fred is very well known in our area and an accomplished movie score composer. We were SO honored by his gesture and took him up on his offer! Over a period of almost a year we recorded the songs in his state-of-the-art studio in Charlotte. After we would record the vocals (with just a guide track of usually piano) he would do his magic of creating amazing arrangements that sound like we have multiple instrumentalists with us. The process was SO fun! AND, Fred has already told us he love to work on our NEXT CD!

Stoli: I love the song ‘Down to the River.’ What inspired the lyrics and instrumentals to that song?


PAUL: Thank you for saying that. Back in 2015, I was having a lot of health difficulties. None of them were necessarily life-threatening, but it seemed like I was getting some new diagnosis every weak. To be honest, it became overwhelming to me and I was at the point of knowing something had to give. One evening, I put my recliner on the farthermost back position, closed my eyes and tried to imagine what it would be like if I simply turned it all over to God. Immediately, a slow-moving, peaceful-looking river came into my mind. I saw inviting green, grassy banks on either side of that lazy river, and I saw myself lying down on my back on the softness of the grass.

Almost immediately, I had a feeling that someone [or some thing] was relieving me of those burdens I’d been experiencing. It seemed both strange and wonderful. A few minutes later, I opened my eyes, and felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from me. Maybe 5 minutes later, the melody, lyrics and beat just started flowing through me. I grabbed a legal pad and wrote down everything I was hearing and quickly recorded it. That song was finished in less than 30 minutes. I had no clue that it would be the first song Cindy and I recorded together, and become one of our most requested songs.

CINDY: I will only add that Paul and I have said to each other many times that these songs come to him so HE can hear the words himself, and then I say “and then for me to hear!” Over the past several years I have felt such comfort from the lyrics to this song. I honestly don’t think I will EVER get tired of singing it…and so far it’s the one song we have sung the most times.

Stoli: Not to get personal but are you 2 a couple, the people want to know? :-)


PAUL: (laughs) Everywhere we go, people ask us that question…

CINDY: And I say, “No, no, no, no”

PAUL: You have to say “no” that many times?

CINDY: Well, I just enjoy having the freedom to do whatever I like.

PAUL: Honestly, if Cindy ever does decide to go on a dating site, when she comes to the part where they ask her if she’s single, separated or divorced, I think she’d mark through all those choices and state, “Independently owned and operated.”

CINDY: Hey, I like that!

All kidding aside, even though we aren’t involved romantically, there certainly is a special connection that we have. We love making music together, and also supporting each other in all aspects of our lives. We truly value our friendship and this special relationship.

Stoli: I am a very spiritual and faith-based man. Why is faith so important in 2018 and why did you choose music as your medium to spread that message?


PAUL: Just speaking for me, I believe faith is all about the expectation of good things to come. And that goes beyond simply hoping. Hope resides in the mind, while faith lives in the heart and in the spirit. Life can be hard at times. When you take an honest assessment of what’s going on in the world today, it could be easy to get seduced by all the negativity. But faith is the knowledge, deep down inside, that things will get better. As to your other question, since I seem to be given these songs, as opposed to actually writing them, I’m not so sure that I choose music as much as music chose me.

CINDY: I totally agree with what Paul said, and know that in MY life faith is having that direct connection with The Divine and knowing that I will be OK, no matter what. To me, that deep connection is the only “secure” thing that I really have. All my worldly things (and people) could go away, but my connection with God will always be there. I call it living on the “faith frequency” – which happens to be the title to one of our new songs!

I think that now, more than ever, we MUST have faith – otherwise world events and situations will just overwhelm us. I have faith that a higher power IS at work and WILL persevere.

Music has a power and magic of its own to affect us in a deep way. We have had SO many experiences of looking out and seeing tears streaming down faces, and people telling us how

the songs touched and inspired them. We have no doubt that music can move us and help us to FEEL and even open our minds…that’s why we use music as our medium of spreading the message of faith and love.

Stoli: When you are not making music what do you enjoy as well?


PAUL: I grew up a regular jock, so I love sports and watch a lot and read a lot of sports-related shows, documentaries and movies. It seems to me that sports are a microcosm of life. We act the same way in life as we do in the competitive arena, displaying character, effort, concern and all the countless traits that make us human.

CINDY: I am a woman of many “hats”…I have a marketing business called On Track Marketing, I lead Vision Board and Soul Collage workshops, I house/pet sit, and occasionally am even a Lyft driver! I’m also love spending time with my friends and going to live music and theatre shows.

Stoli: When you consume music what do you prefer, MP3, streaming, YouTube, CD/vinyl, etc?


PAUL: I hardly ever listen to music without doing something else simultaneously. Whenever I’m surfing the web, I usually find something on YouTube to listen to. I find myself drawn to Southern Rock, Country, Folk, and Bluegrass and not so much to pop music today. Oh, and I also love a few Contemporary Christian artists, particularly MercyMe and Casting Crowns.

CINDY: In my car I am usually listening to some of my favorite artists’ CDs (and singing along loudly!), or have it on a pop radio station. I also have a lot of music downloaded on my iPhone and really love that I can listen to it wherever I am very easily.

Stoli: What is coming up for In-A-Chord and where you @ online?

PAUL: A couple of things I can think of: [1] We’re really trying to take ourselves to the next level. Our agent, Eugene Foley, is pitching us to front for a few groups, as well as pitching our songs to be on TV and/or movies. [2] We are beginning to go through the process of song selection for our next CD. Hopefully, we can get back in the studio toward the end of this year.

CINDY: A couple more things are…[1] After we record some of our newer songs (so we have more to choose from) we are going to work with Eugene on pitching them to more well-known artists to sing [2] We are toying with the idea of having a public access TV show…so stay tuned for more about that! [3] Online we will continue to build our fan base on Facebook and have recently revamped our website. We are also always looking for other opportunities to get our music out into the world – and online is a great way to do that!