Ace Magazine compilation CD celebrates charities, holidays, and Lexington music by todd piccirilli
With Halloween over, it’s almost time to get out the ornaments and tinsel (assuming you can find them), unstring a mile of lights (and figure out which is the one bulb that doesn’t work), shop for all your friends and family (insert snide comment), and somehow spread a little good will and cheer along the way.
And when you have a chance to sit back, relax, and do your best to get into the holiday spirit, the only thing on TV is the one millionth broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life, and the only thing in your CD collection is A Chipmunk Christmas and that Kenny G album you don’t want anyone to know you actually own.
What if, by some miracle of the season, an album came out with holiday music that’s actually good? What if it was full of all the local bands you’ve come to know and love? And what if proceeds from the CD went to local charities? Talk about killing two birds with one credit card: cool holiday music and a karmic good deed. All YOURS for buying the new ACE Magazine Holiday Party, volume 1.
Indeed, there are a lot of good things that can be said of the Holiday CD (see sidebars on charities), but one of the most important things is that it will serve as a showcase for all the music talent being cultivated in this little city of ours.
The Who and the What
The easiest part of making this CD was the decision to take the plunge and do it. As soon as it was given the go-ahead, though, the first obstacle was one of the biggest and toughest. There are a lot of bands and a lot of people comprising the local scene, so who got invited to this year’s Holiday Party?
“We tried to shoot for eclecticism,” says Rob Hulsman who coordinated the project, including everything from rock to rockabilly to blues and country-not to mention those styles that defy pigeonholing.
“My song was pretty weird,” muses Paul K of his rendition of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
Tripp Bratton says of the Catawampus Universe track, “We thought it would be interesting to do a new take on ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ since we have two percussionists. We kind of went berserk on drums.”
And for at least one band, this CD will likely mark the end of an era. “This probably is going to be our last recording,” says Too Fat To Skate’s Eric Little, “It’s a good one to end on since it’s for a good cause.” If this indeed is their last recording, at least they’ll be going out with style-a ska take on a holiday classic, “The Christmas Song.” (Mel Tormé must be turning over in his grave. Oh, wait…that might be a little premature or maybe not; who knows?)
Taildragger (featuring ACE’s own Jon McGee and Rob Hulsman) tackled the Sonny Boy Williamson song “Santa Claus.” According to Hulsman, “We took a blues song and, in the tradition of 70s rock, we spiced it up.”
Rounding out the CD are many local favorites who’ve taken well-known holiday songs and added their own particular flavor to them.
On one end of the spectrum, the Blueberries remind listeners “what Christmas is all about” with “Jesus Christ,” while at the other end the Yonders have some fun with a childhood classic, “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late).”
Some holiday staples from the world of rock and/or roll have also made their way onto the CD. Crown Electric covers the upbeat, toe-tappin’ “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” and Malachai get a little mellow and do their best Elvis impersonations for “Blue Christmas.”
And of course, the album wouldn’t be complete without a few alternative variations on some holiday classics (not to imply that anybody else attempted traditional covers). Gladys brings a Neil Young/Pearl Jam sound to”Good King Wenceslas.” Rabby Feeber waxes heavy with their edgy interpretation of “We Three Kings.” And Art Geko does their best Art Geko for “Winter Wonderland,” which features Z103’s Freadkdaddy on guest harp.
As a fitting end to the CD, the Prayers offer a wonderfully soulful “Amen,” which is sure to boost your holiday spirit no matter how much you try to fight it.
But it’s the first band on the CD that some involved in the production feel was the biggest coup, the proverbial icing on this sweet gingerbread of an album (mmm proverbial icing).
“We were very honored to be asked,” says Greg Martin of The Kentucky Headhunters, “And we’re very proud to be a part of it.”
Of their “Run Run Rudolph” track, Martin says, “We had a blast cutting it. It was the first time Doug [Phelps, the band’s lead singer] played piano.”
The Kentucky Headhunters have not done a lot of charity projects, but their decision to contribute to this album came without hesitation. That’s because one of the charities that this CD benefits is near and dear to the hearts of this band.
“My son Eric is autistic,” Martin remarked. But contributing to the album goes beyond one member’s son. “When music works best, it brings people together,” states Martin, “And when God gives you talent, it’s always good to give something positive back.”
From Concept to CD
Of course, getting 13 different groups to first agree and then get together to record their songs was no easy task. But despite the occasional logistical headache, complaints were few and far between and everyone involved seems genuinely happy with the outcome.
The next step was lining up all the bands. After brainstorming a list of local bands and deciding who to ask, actually getting the bands to agree to make a contribution was fairly easy.
“Everybody’s been really generous donating their time and skills,” says Hulsman, “It shows a lot of heart in the music community.”
In fact, only one band who was asked to contribute didn’t record a song, but that was not because they refused, but rather because they had to drop out of the project. (The band is now defunct.)
Then came the hard part-the actual recording of the album.
“We used three different studios to accommodate 13 bands,” says Hulsman. “It was a nightmare to schedule, but everyone was great about working with us.”
While everyone involved was crucial to getting the album made, many are singing the praises of the CD’s producer, David Barrick.
“David Barrick was a saint,” Hulsman claims, “He let bands record for free, he mixed and re-mixed tracks, and he made things from three different studios blend together. It wouldn’t be as high quality as it is without him.”
Barrick prefers to shrug off the praise and talk about the great experience he had making the CD.
“I really enjoyed it,” says Barrick, “We had great, very festive time.”
For the most part, Barrick thinks everything went fairly smoothly. “Everybody took it seriously because of the cause.” And of the final outcome, Barrick says, “I was amazed at how it all went together.
“I think this will surprise a lot of people. It sounds like a classic record-something that’s been around a long time.” And besides making a good Christmas gift, Barrick thinks this CD will expose people to the high level of professionalism in the Lexington music scene.
Of course this ship wasn’t able to steer clear of at least a little turbulence here and there.
Tripp Bratton of Catawampus Universe, who mixed some of the tracks on the CD, recalls one particularly scary moment. “I had all my mixes on a DAT tape and had the tape in the deck. There was a storm that knocked out the electricity, and when the power came back on [the DAT deck] went into record mode.”
Narrowly escaping one disaster, another glitch meant some last minute maneuvering. “Rabby Feeber did their song themselves and gave me the master,” says Hulsman, “But when I took it to Barrick’s studio [which is in Glasgow], it was all digital static.” Illustrative of the heart that these bands put into this project, Rabby Feeber got another tape to Catawampus Universe who was on their way to a gig in Bowling Green. Hulsman then met Catawampus along the highway at the Glasgow exit and retrieved the tape so that it could get on the album in enough time.
And then there were the almost slapstick moments. One involved Joey Broughman, local bluesman and former Keith Richards roadie, who was slated to record a track for the CD. Hulsman and others were scheduled to meet at 10 am one morning so that everyone could drive to Barrick’s studio in Glasgow together, but Broughman, assuring Hulsman that he knew how to get to Glasgow, said he would drive over later that afternoon. Everyone at Barrick’s studio waited, but there was never any sign of Broughman. The phone was in sight at all times; answering machines were changed to direct Broughman to any brief changes in venue (such as Shoney’s or Denny’s or whatever). All to no avail. Only later, did they learn Broughman spent the day lost driving around Tennessee. Unfortunately (especially for his fans), Broughman doesn’t appear on the CD, but it at least makes for a good story.
While all the contributors demonstrated professionalism and an unyielding willingness to do whatever they could because of the charities involved in the project, most also feel that working on a compilation CD can only help the local music scene.
“In a way, the local music scene is another charity,” jokes Jon McGee, who appears on three different tracks (Yonders, Taildragger, and Crown Electric).
“There hasn’t been a good compilation [CD] in awhile,” says Tripp Bratton, “Hopefully [the ACE Holiday Party CD] will boost respect for the whole local scene by giving people a chance to hear bands they wouldn’t normally hear.”
Arte Bratton of Art Geko echoes his brother’s sentiments. “A lot of times a band will have a certain following, and now these people will get to hear other bands.”
Michael Fossum of Malachai thinks, “Some of the bigger bands on [the CD] will help us lesser known bands.”
While the album will hopefully serve these bands well in their future, it also speaks to Lexington’s past and present. “This is kind of a tribute to all the local working musicians,” states Hulsman.
What The Critics Are Saying
In order to get completely biased, one-sided reactions to ACE Magazine Holiday Party, volume 1, we asked those involved in the project to tell us what they think of it.
“This has the potential to be picked up by a national label,” says Greg Martin. “We were blown away by the talent in Lexington and the surrounding areas. Everybody did a great job.”
And what about ACE Magazine Holiday Party, Volume 2? Dave Barrick says, “I’m definitely looking forward to another one. This is something that should be done every year.”
Rob Hulsman had no comment.
ACE Holiday CD Volume 1 Events
Here are some of the happenings we have planned to get word out about our CD, the charities involved and the incredible bank of talent that have donated their time and resources.
Nov 13, 1998 8am – Rob Hulsman on Z103’s Freakshow with Freakdaddy and Sticky.
Nov 17 12:30pm – Taildragger on The Afternoon Show on WKYT, channel 27.
Dec 1 12:30pm – The Blueberries on WLEX, channel 18.
Dec 1 3pm – The Blueberries playing live at Disc Go Round on Rose Street and Euclid Ave.
Dec 2 7pm – Crown Electric playing live at Disc Jockey in the Lexington Green on Nicholasville Rd.
Dec 3 CD Release Party at A1A Sandbar and Grill on Main Street – bands TBA.
Dec 4 7pm – The Outhouse Raiders, an allstar lineup featuring Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters along with members of Taildragger, the Yonders and Crown Electric at CD Central in the Southhill Station on Bolivar Street.
Dec 4 10pm – CD Release Party featuring Crown Electric, The Blueberries and Taildragger w/Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters sitting in at Lynaghs Music Club at the corner of Woodland and Euclid. This is gonna be a PARTY!, with give-aways and lots of craziness, plus an allstar jam at the end of the night.
Dec 5 10pm – CD Release Party featuring Art Geko, The Prayers and the Catawampus Universe at Lynaghs Music Club at the corner of Woodland and Euclid. This is gonna be a PARTY part II with more give-aways and lots of extra craziness.
Dec 18 7pm – PreMillennial CD Party at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, come party with us before the Millennium show, bands TBA.
Dec 18 10pm – Velvet Elvis reunion show!!! It’s the 80s again, wear parachute pants and sleeveless red and black t-shirts! Taildragger and a very special guest that is yet to be announced will be opening this show at the Millenium, downtown on Main Street. Velvet Elvis Reunion Story.
of the Bluegrass
Give Till It Hurts
Then Give Some More…
By Dan Elkinson
When we think of autism the film Rainman comes to mind, but this is only part of the picture. As doctors slowly become more familiar with this mysterious lifelong disability, early diagnoses are becoming more common. The number of children and adults with autism has climbed to an estimated 1 in 1,000 which places it as the second most prevalent developmental disability, yet we still know little about dealing with individuals with autism in everyday life.
There are currently numerous techniques and theories in their experimental stages investigating autism, which is a neurological disorder that interferes with the normal development of the brain in areas which control verbal and non verbal communication, social interaction, and sensory development. It is classified as a spectrum disorder due to the great range of symptoms and characteristics individuals with autism display, and the varying severity in which these are experienced. Autism is defined by a specific set of behaviors such as the exhibition of repeated body movements, unusual responses to people, strong attachments to objects, and the resistance to change in routine to mention a few. However any combination of these behaviors occurring in any degree of severity is possible. Each case of autism is different, which is why it is so difficult to arrive at definitive methods of treatment and therapy. Therefore, research must continue towards discovering how this disability is caused, how (or if) it can it be prevented, and what can be done to help children diagnosed with autism to better function in this already challenging world.
Imagine the despair parents would experience upon realizing that something is wrong with their small child. Numerous questions would immediately come to mind such as what can we do; will our child ever have a “normal” life, will they fall in love; can they make friends; and what will become of our lives in trying to make his better?
Speaking with the mother of a five year old autistic boy provided some answers, but also proved there still remains much to learn about autism.
When her son Jay was one year old he did not respond to her when she called his name, and did not make eye contact when she held him in her arms. As he neared the age of two, she and her husband knew something was wrong, despite the physician’s insistence that they were being over cautious parents. Shortly thereafter, a series of initial screening tests (covered by health insurance) ruled out what was not wrong with their son. Finally, with the consultation of a multiple disciplinary panel consisting of physicians, psychologists, and speech therapists, their two year old son was diagnosed with autism. No discussion followed on what that meant, what could be done, and how their lives would change. Speeding directly from the hospital to the Medical Library, Jay’s mother went inside to research this strange disability while her husband sat in the car with their son. She emerged confused and scared, but was willing to do anything to help her son.
Now, three years later her handsome blonde haired, blue eyed son is enrolled in a self contained kindergarten class. Laws ensuring disabled children the equal right to education have allowed her child access to a public school and special education teachers who work with disabled children in small groups. Development, behavior, and speech make up the three-pronged program that the schools should ideally be teaching. However, despite the laws, public schools do not do enough, and some have even refused to teach autistic children claiming they are unqualified. To supplement his education, Jay’s parents paid a California doctor to train psychology students from UK to teach their son. Following that lead, UK’s Dr. Ruth Baer has assisted in training numerous students who can be hired to assist autistic children and their families. Autistic children are very capable of learning, they simply require information to be broken down into small pieces and fed to them slowly, through a routine process.
However, learning is not only for the children. Jay’s mother who is currently Co-President of Lexington’s Autism Society of the Bluegrass, one of 220 branches of the Autism Society of America, has educated herself to be an advocate for people with autism. The goals of the society are to educate and inform people about autism, and to provide support for families with children diagnosed with autism and related disorders. The Autism Society of the Bluegrass was founded about five years ago by Virginia Moody, Hazel Forsythe, David Montgomery and Fern Rudd.
It began as a group of parents commiserating and sharing their experiences in hopes of gaining understanding about autism, and the way it affected their children. In the last few years it has grown to include over 200 members on the mailing list, and at least thirty regular attending members. The group members work on newsletters to educate parents of recently diagnosed children, focus on advocating for better special education in public schools, and raise public awareness. The newsletters and information about the society are available at doctor offices where diagnosis are made, so now parents can immediately have access to information and a support network.
Jay’s mother insisted that having people to share this experience with is essential, and spoke about the strength and bravery it takes to raise a child with autism. Parents of autistic children she knows have sold their possessions to generate money for therapy and special child care. Until last year autism was not covered by health insurance, but now there are programs in the workings. The Autism Society of the Bluegrass has arranged some fundraising events in the past (like the annual Walk For Autism in January) and collects a small annual membership fee because currently the society receives no funding from federal, state, or social service organizations. Proceeds from the ACE Holiday Party CD will benefit the Autism Society of the Bluegrass. Anyone is welcome at the meetings and may contact the society at 606/323-4193, or [email protected]
Child Care Fund
By Elizabeth Jones
One of the understated problems in Fayette County is the amount of young mothers who are having trouble both working and paying for child care. The Child Care Fund grew out of the Family Care Center, which provides schooling or technical training to young women who became pregnant in high school. These young women, who had been able to collect welfare benefits, became unable to do so once they started a job with a salary higher than $7.35 an hour.
With Fayette County child care averaging $80 per week per child and upwards ($125 per week for infants), women bringing home $200 a week have a hard time budgeting child care with rent, food, transportation to the job and the daycare, and the other daily expenditures it takes to raise a family. Of all these expenses, childcare is the highest weekly expenditure. There are plenty of entry-level jobs in the Fayette County job market right now, but it is hard to train someone for this job market without addressing the childcare problem.
Women were faced with the choice of staying at work and making less money, or quitting and going back on welfare. The creators of the Child Care Fund saw this gap between what they were trying to accomplish with the training at the Family Care Center and what was actually occurring in the workplace. Women they had trained were quitting or passing up raises to stay in the benefit level, or sending their children to friends’ houses where they spent their important early years in front of a television because the woman watching them was tired from her third-shift job. So a group of people began with a dream of collecting one dollar from everyone in Fayette County to create a self- generating fund that would help subsidize childcare. Reality has not quite matched up to their ambitions, but in the year and a half since they began the Fund, the creators have raised $34,000.
Currently, the Fund subsidizes fifteen families and hopefully will expand to twenty by the end of the year. The money raised through the Fund goes directly to child care providers at a rate of $25 per week per child. For a parent with one child, the Fund begins providing assistance when the parent’s salary reaches $8.60 an hour, or $17,903 per year. This is not a handout; the mother must still pay around $60 per week for the child care, and she must also remain in good standing at work. The Fund only subsidizes for accredited day care centers with safe, quality, healthy, nurturing childcare, and only subsidizes mothers who have a minimum of a 30 hour a week job at which they demonstrate progress. The subsidy is promised for a year, during which time the mother is screened for progress at work, in the hope that she will get promotions that will enable her to take over the payment. The mothers in the program are working hard to stay off welfare, and their success so far is a credit to them, because they could be making more in the short term accepting the government benefits.
The J. Peterman Company and CHA Health started the sponsorships with donations of $5,000 each. Other corporate sponsors are Republic Bank, First Stop Auto Care, Jewish Hospital, Fifth Third bank, Southland Christian Church, WLEX-TV, Wiseman Homes, IDS Cash Management Fund, and Link-Belt. An individual or business can sponsor a child for $25 per week, or $1,250 per year. Many of these corporations do not only give money, but also have members who work closely with the Fund and the children. Every dollar donated to the Fund goes straight to the child care centers, so those on the Board of Directors are volunteers. There is not even an operating fund for printing pamphlets, so generating community awareness for the Fund has been difficult. House Bill 756, which was sponsored by State Representative Jesse Crenshaw and enacted during the 1998 Regular Session, provides for donations to be made to the Fund account through vehicle registration. A donation space has been added to the vehicle registration cards. The members of the Fund have also been talking to area churches about providing day care in the evenings for women who work second and third shifts.
Many women have told the creators that without the help from the Child Care Fund, they would have had to quit their jobs. This is an important service to any community, to help any woman escape the welfare cycle, and to help any child prosper in a good learning environment.