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Charles Hill Jr releases new music benefiting hurricane relief

Cleveland country artist Charles Hill Jr recently recorded a direct-to-wax performance of his new song Little Buddy with new studio The Earnest Tube run by local engineer Clint Holley. 

All Earnest Tube recordings are done straight to lacquer, with no overdubs, multitracking or mixing. 

Hill wrote Little Buddy with hope that anyone with a child, grandchild, niece or nephew, can relate to. 

The song was written the night of his baby niece’s first Christmas. “The whole song is about the moment I met her. Little facial expressions she was making when she was only a number of hours old, I looked at my sister and was like, ‘Well, you messed up. You made a me. You better try to make another one that’s like you.'” 

“I’d actually sat down to write a song about Ken [Janssen, Cleveland friend, frontman and founder of Stow House Records, who died of ALS New Year’s Day 2015] said Hill. “This one just came out instead.” 

This single is the very first Earnest Tube recording. Neither Hill nor Holley had done it before. 

“We were just testing out how the process was going to work,” said Hill. “It was never to be released.” But since the recording turned out so well, he decided to run with it. 

“It humanizes the whole [recording process]. There’s a little warble in it just because of how it’s done, but I like that. It gives it a sort of old school aesthetic.”

The single also features a B-side cover of Blaze Foley’s If I Could Only Fly and will be available in a limited edition of 25 hand-made custom pressings, signed and numbered by Charles himself, with proceeds benefiting hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. These pressings form Wax Mage Records go on presale Monday October 16 on Hill’s Bandcamp

“I’m not one to go on Facebook and bitch about the president. I just don’t think it does any good,” says Hill. “Obviously he didn’t approach or execute as well as he should have with the hurricane in Puerto Rico. I mean, you can just see the apathy in the press conferences. So instead of getting mad about it on the internet, I decided it’s just better to try to stay positive and do something good about it.” 

Additional copies will follow November 17 on Stow House Records, with a release party that night at Survival Kit, part of the 78th Street Studios art galleries. Hill will be joined by Al Moss on pedal steel and Mike Allen (The Dreadful Yawns) on bass. Supporting acts Clint Holley and Brandon Shields (The Lucky Ones) will also perform. 

“I love playing [at Survival Kit]” Hill says. “It’s intimate. And especially with the third Friday [shows] you sort of get a built-in crowd and it’s all people that are there to absorb art in whatever way you give it to them.” 

Charles Hill Jr Little Buddy Album Art
Album Art by Eric Alleman
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Can Reeve Carney save Rocky Horror?

I fear, along with many of you, that the Fox presentation of Rocky Horror will be horrible. Maybe as horrible as their attempt at Grease. But I just can’t wait to see Reeve Carney as Riff Raff. His part in this gives me hope.

I first saw Reeve Carney live in 2004 at the Cleveland House Of Blues. As usual, he was joined by his brother Zane on guitar, and his sister Paris came out for the occasional backing vocal.

They were so young, so talented. I was instantly intrigued. I wasn’t yet a concert photographer, but you can bet I won’t miss another opportunity to capture these artists.

I bought Live at Molly Malone’s as soon as it was released, and it stayed on heavy rotation the minute it arrived. A welcome addition, it swam among my record collection and saw me through many a busy workday.

Among his acting credits, Reeve plays the charismatic, immortal Dorian Gray in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful; Peter Parker/Spider-Man for three years in Broadway’s Turn Off the Dark; and Taylor Swift’s irresistible bad boy Romeo in her I Knew You Were Trouble video.

With Thursday October 20th rapidly approaching, we’ll soon find out how Fox’s cast pulls off this beloved cult classic. Will audiences finally accept a woman as everybody’s favorite sweet transvestite? Can Adam Lambert top Meatloaf? I’m looking forward to seeing what Ivy Levan brings. Surely Ben Vereen won’t muck it up. And finally we’ll find out whether all the makeup and hair extensions in the world can make Reeve Carney even the slightest bit unappealing. Will it all be enough to save this production from bastardization? Watch for yourself and let us know what you think.

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