News Column

Modesto musicians release compilation CD

August 15, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 15--Some of Modesto's busiest musicians have banded together to put out a compilation CD. "My Friends and I" is an American roots/soul album featuring 13 songwriters and their bands.

The project was spearheaded by Earl Matthews of the blues bands Big Earl and the Cryin' Shame and the Poorhouse Millionaires and was funded by $1,640 raised through Kickstarter.com, as well as an additional $1,360 raised from donations and other sources.

"Everywhere I go, I tell people about our music scene," Matthews said. "I thought, "What better way to promote it than to take 13 groups and send them out on their way with music?'"

The CD-release party is scheduled tonight at 7 at Prospect Theater Project in Modesto.

The artists featured on the album are Ryan Russell, Cole Thomason, House of Orange, Heaven Lindsey-Burtch, LoveCore Singing Telegrams, Nathan Ignacio, Poorhouse Millionaires, Christine McGrew, Rob Hill Band, Patty Castillo Davis, Bob and Chandler Pratt, Bethany Joseph and Sommer Cooks.

All the recording was done at the musicians' homes by Chandler Pratt, who performs in House of Orange and the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit. The mastering was done by Lucky Lew, who recorded internationally popular Modesto alternative band Grandaddy and won a lifetime-achievement award from the Modesto Area Music Association.

The performers range in age from the early 20s for Lindsey-Burtch, who is the daughter of Grandaddy drummer Aaron Burtch, to the 80s for Bob Meisenbach of Bob and Chandler Pratt.

Pratt said he was happy to be a part of the project because he wanted to support his musical friends. What was especially fun was that the performers played or sang on one another's tracks.

"I feel great about it," Pratt said about the CD. "It turned out better than we imagined."

He said he hopes the CD will bring some excitement to Modestans. "I want them to be surprised it came from their town."

Ray Vazira, who plays several instruments and performed on many of the tracks, said he was energized by the quality of the music. "It dawned on me the magnitude of talent I get to work with," he said. "This is a small portion of the talent. We've got to let people know there's a music scene here."

This isn't the first time several Modesto artists have joined together for a CD. Three years ago, Modesto's now-defunct Off the Air music series put out the compilation CD "Portraits," featuring 32 singers and 32 songs. The participating artists, some of who are also on "My Friends and I," performed a show together at the Gallo Center for the Arts.

"We already had a strong community, but it's gotten stronger," Matthews said. "We've gotten excited about sharing with each other what's possible."

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