The Songwriter’s Solstice: “A Celebration of South Florida Songwriters” was recorded before a live audience at the Rinker Playhouse, The Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL, June 21, 1998. Presenting 14 songs from this diverse group of south Florida’s top original artists,
By Bill Meredith(Originally appeared in the Free Press, West Palm Beach, FL, 3/99)
Summer in the county
For better or worse, the 1990s made the compilation CD unto an ultra-commercial art form. So it’s not surprising that there’s finally a compilation CD for Palm Beach County. Songwriters’ Solstice is well-recorded, well-produced, and it’s available at a music store near you for $12. With 14 songs on the disc, that’s less than $1 per tune.
Songwriters’ Solstice was recorded live last June at the Kravis Center Rinker Playhouse during a concert to benefit the Connor Moran Childen’s Cancer Foundation in West Palm Beach. The CD sounds like the show (I know, I was there). South Florida singer/songwriter/guitarist Rod MacDonald was instrumental in setting up the event, and his Neil Young-like “Days of Rain” is one of the solo-performer highlights. Others include Marie Nofsinger’s tongue-in-cheek “I Am Blue,” Amy Carol Webb’s soaring ballad “With You Without You,” and James London’s “The Road Not Taken.”
Area duos and trios are also well-represented. Mad Dogs & Irishmen’s “Hustle & Bustle” is traditional rich Irish poetry; Ron & Bari’s “The Lion’s Den” is a biographical tale of the very different neighborhood that used to inhabit the Kravis Center site; and Legacy’s “At Last” wraps expert vocal harmony, guitar, and mandolin playing into the disc’s most upbeat tune.
Two full bands are in effect here: Boxelder shows its unplugged side with the shuffling “Lately,” and Human Beings provide the Solstice centerpiece with their serpentining eight-minute epic “Stairwell From Heaven.” Jim Collier & friends offer an audio snapshot of the crowded cover photo with the gospel-tinged finale, “You Are The One.”
Kudos to recording engineers Marty Gauthier, Duane Engstrom, and the Kravis’ own John Wurm. Ditto for the production by Gauthier, Engstrom and MacDonald. The sold-out concert raised $1,000 for Conor Moran, which receives an additional $1 per retail CD sold. Songwriters’ Solstice is available at all Peaches and Borders locations, and this purposeful compilation is an accurate soundtrack to the lighter side of the south Florida music scene.
(Originally appeared in the Free Press, West Palm Beach, FL, 3/99)