The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Annette Shacklett
LOG Editor 

Blackwater releases album, starts tour

 

Blackwater Railroad Company photo

At mid-winter Blackwater Railroad Company takes to frozen Trail Lake at Moose Pass.

It's about arriving home. About the wandering some of us do before we find the place we feel we can call home.

Blackwater Railroad Company created its new album "Sound of Home" around the feeling of being on the run ­– the feeling of lifetimes searching for a sense of community, a sense of home. And then finding it – in the case of the singers, musicians and songwriters of Blackwater – in a little town at the end of a highway and at the head of a bay. A town known as Seward.

"They're searching for what I found in this place. I'll never ride the rails again," they sing in the tune "Bound for San Antone."

Woven together by the band Seward is proud to call its own, Blackwater pays homage to the journey and the community which the band members felt called to by the same "energy."

In the melody "Sound of Silver" they sing "And I'll tell you – all you people – a life of wandering is a life not found."

The album features a fine blend of five voices, guitar, violin, cello, bass and light percussion for a bluegrass/Americana sound that gets people out on the dance floor. And it's as professionally done as any to be found.

All the songs on the CD are written by the band members.

The Band

BWRR is made up of five musicians and a producer/manager from all over the U.S.

Tyson Davis from North Carolina brings the bluegrass feel to the music. He plays guitar and sings.

Katy Larkin comes from Texas and plays the cello. Larkin also designed the album's graphics.

Isaac London also comes from Texas. London does vocals and percussion.

Noah Hull Diamond hails from Massachusetts and plays fiddle.

Andy Zamarippa from Arizona plays bass and sings.

They've been aided though the CD production and band growth by executive producer, writer and nomad J.W. Frye.

The band started playing as a community band and quickly became a raucous dance-all-night, whiskey drinkin' band. A state that is expressed in the album's first track "Old Town."

Community, Youth

BWRR wanted to give back to the community where they feel they truly grew up. TYC came to them with an idea that's making it happen. Seward Parks and Recreation's teen council was looking for a way to engage the high school youth, who generally drift away from the TYC programs. The council proposed a jam session once a month. BWRR signed on. For the first jam a few weeks ago the council set it up and did all the flyers and marketing. Usually new programs at TYC attract a half dozen youth. This time there were 30. Now the jams will be held once a month. The second was last night.

A drive to get instruments into the hands of youth who want to play music continues after the CD release tour. Blackwater plans give a community concert/benefit with proceeds going to purchase instruments for loaners.

The show will open with Snow River Players, a string band of 12 to 14 year olds sometimes referred to as "Little Blackwater." In coordination with TYC/SPRD, Seward Arts Council and Seward Music Boosters donations of cash collected as a cover charge will go to purchasing instruments which will be held by Seward Music Boosters to loan to youth who want to learn to play music. Donated instruments will be accepted as well. Seward Arts Council will match the donations dollar for dollar, up to $500. Watch The LOG for date and times.

The CD

Blackwater recorded the CD at the home studio of Sunny Mack-Hansen who engineered, mixed and produced the album. Hansen came to Seward from Nashville where she learned the trade from six-time Grammy winner John Mayfield, and worked at Miller's Landing. She subsequently moved to Anchor Point where she lives off the grid with no running water or electricity. Mayfield mastered the album.

"Sound of Home" is on sale at AK Starfish in the boat harbor and soon will be available at other outlets in town as well as online at the iTunes site, spotify, bandcamp and others.

Also, for sale only at AK Starfish is the official tour T-shirt.

The Tour

The CD statewide release tour starts next week in Seward and ends on May 31 in Seward.

The first show on the tour is at Tony's Bar on Wednesday, May 13.

The band is then off to Homer, Anchorage, Fairbanks and points between in their new/used sprinter van which Hertz in Seward made easy for them to purchase.

On the tour, BWRR steps into something that germinated in Seward. That is benefit concerts for getting instruments into the hands of youth. The benefit concerts will start or help continue instrument loaner programs for youth.

In Seward they'll stay until October when they go Outside for a 5-month, 50-gig tour.

To follow the band on the tour visit wwwblackwaterrailroad.com.

 

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