Musician Rob Black has built another compilation CD around one of his songs, as last seen in “Welcome to P’Town” last year, which is set for release this Friday.
When Black wrote a song about downtown Portsmouth last year, he realized that there were many other artists who shared his passion for the area. He decided to start a movement of local artists who all embodied what Portsmouth stands for, creating the album.
After much demand of an encore, and after another original song about Portsmouth, he has created a second album entitled “Welcome Back P’Town.”
The album was built around Black’s song, “Bessie Lift Your Baby Up,” which is based on local legend Bessie Tomlin, who was the only death caused by the destructive 1937 flood. Tomlin is known for drowning during a struggle to hold her child above the water, so she may be rescued. Bessie’s daughter lives today.
“The CD was inspired by the song I wrote about Bessie Tomlin, which stemmed from a request from Andrew Feight,” Black explained. “It is now on his website, Scioto Historical. It was what got us started. It is similar to the genesis of the first CD; it started with a song and went from there.”
The album features many local names, some of which include Scot Mullins, Jeff Valentine, Alex Brown, and more. A portion of the tracks are also performed by musicians outside of the area.
The topics touched on include the 1937 flood, South Shore, Tecumseh, the river, local legend Zeke Mullins, and more. There is also a sequel to Black’s song about Tomlin that features rap music.
“They (artists) are great. Most will be at the opening reception at Party Connection, too,” Black said. “We will play what we can live, and what we can’t, we will play off the CD.”
As with the first album, the artwork was created locally by rising artists. The first album features the talent of Charlie Haskins, a Second Street painter and business owner, as well as a professor for Shawnee State. His cover art is bright and colorful, featuring many highlights of the community.
The new album art was created by collective artist group C*MAR, which features the talents of Nickolas Sherman, Connor Sherman, June Borell, and Dominique Johnson. The highlight of their work is the front, which is dedicated to Bessie, as well as the objects found within the Portsmouth floodwall murals.
“It is a whole different feel from the first one,” Black said. “I wanted it like that, because I didn’t want them to be compared.”
The last album sold 700 copies and caused so much support that Black founded the Boneyfiddle Project, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the local arts in the historic district of Portsmouth.
Through CD sales and fundraising, he has collected money to afford the weekly Final Friday events in downtown Portsmouth. His expense goes to cover everything from merchandise costs to paying artists.
“All proceeds go back into Final Friday in Boneyfiddle,” Black said. “It is to benefit the concert series. We are a non-profit and have no employees or administrative costs. It is 100 percent a labor of love to that project.”
The Boneyfiddle Project will be holding a reception for the release of “Welcome Back P’Town” at Party Connection on Friday, December 4 at 6 p.m. Live excerpts from the new CD will be performed, with wine tastings and light hors d’oeuvres. CDs and Boneyfiddle merchandise will be for sale.
CDs are on sale at Party Connection, the Sweet Boutique, Pack Rats, and Beltone Hearing Aid Center. They are $15. The project was accomplished, thanks to Nevada Hart Productions.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.
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