Listening to Matt Marshak's music, a mix of jazz and rhythm and blues, its easy to imagine lounging at home in a well-loved leather chair with a glass of red wine or perhaps bourbon, and unwinding after a long day. That's precisely the vision that High Point, N.C.-based Pulaski Furniture had when it approached the Riverhead resident about collaborating on a new line.
The result of the collaboration is Rhythm and Home, a collection of 70 pieces of furniture inspired by Marshak's blend of retro and contemporary style and the ambience he looks to create when playing his guitar. The pieces will be hitting retailers nationwide in May and will be available locally at Furniture Plus, 1137 Old Country Rd., Westbury; 516-427-5092. Items in the collection will range from $599 to $1,299.
Marshak, a Long Island native who has released seven albums, plays regularly at the Downtown Jazz summer music festival in Winston-Salem, N.C. Don Mitchell, Pulaski Furniture's president, had gone to one of Marshak's shows. After he returned home, Marshak received an email about the proposed licensing deal. He then traveled back south to meet with the company's designers, speaking with them about how he writes and what inspires him, as well as the ambience he tries to create when he's performing.
"When I play jazz, I like to portray environments," Marshak says. "A funky groove has elements of the city. Another song has a bluesy flavor. . . . It was me talking in musical terms and them talking about furniture terms. Their designers ran with it."
The collection is split into two groups: Vintage Tempo which is made with primavera wood veneers in charcoal with a distressed finish, and Modern Harmony, which is made with chocolate-brown walnut.
Some of the most musical pieces include a dresser with hardware inspired by the bridge of the iconic Gibson Les Paul electric guitar as well as the Amp Nightstand, which resembles an old tube amplifier and can play music through its speakers via Bluetooth.
"We were looking at creating a casual, lifestyle furniture group," says company spokeswoman Mary-Price Furr of the new line.
While Marshak regularly endorses Epiphone guitars, this is his first big licensing deal. He said he doesn't consider it "selling out." The music industry has evolved over the years, and fans no longer look askance at partnerships like this, he says.
"As an artist, you have to be really open to new ways to reach people," says Marshak, whose next Long Island performance is Sunday at Raphael Vineyard in Peconic (39390 Main Rd., 631-765-1100, raphaelwine.com)