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Majic 95.1 and Sweetwater release second Majic Miracle Music CD

By Jim Fester

Fort Wayne Reader


In 2006, when WAJI program director Barb Richards organized a charity CD to benefit the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, she was pretty sure it was going to be a one-shot deal. “I remember saying, ‘let’s not call it volume 1, because we don’t know if there’s going to be a volume 2,’ she laughs.

But the CD came together very quickly, and proved an enormous success. Featuring exclusive tracks by artists like the Gin Blossoms, Landon Pigg, and Jars of Clay, it raised over $8000 for Riley. Richards says they started working on the second volume almost right away.

The result is Majic Miracle Music volume 2, which came out November 16. Like the first, it offers a stellar line-up of exclusive tracks by national recording artists. American Idol contender Chris Daughtry performs “Home,” Five for Fighting donated an acoustic rendition of “World,” and “We’re All Alone” from Jim Brickman and Anne Cochran, just to name a few.

And also like the first CD, volume 2 was a real labor of love for everyone involved. “Any time we had an artist coming through Fort Wayne, we’d always hit them up and ask them to be a part of our charity CD and record at Sweetwater,” Richards says. She found that practically every artist she approached was more than happy to donate a track to use for the CD, or to stop by the Sweetwater studios to record one for them. Record company red tape got in the way a few times, but for the most part, most artists were happy to contribute. Sweetwater’s first-class recording facilities were also a big draw. “John McLaughlin was like ‘oh my God, this piano is so great. I don’t want to go!’” says Richards. “They love their experience.”

Eight of the 15 tracks on the CD were recorded at Sweetwater. Jon McLaughlin performed an acoustic version of “Indiana,” the title track of his debut album (he’s from Anderson); venerable Midwest favorites REO Speedwagon recorded “Dangerous Combination” during a stop in town last February; and current VH-1 sensation Sara Barellis has versions of her two singles — “Love Song” and “Gravity” — which are unavailable anywhere else. “She did both of those songs in one take each,” says Sweetwater’s Chris Guerin of Barellis’ session at the studio. “I’ve heard two other versions of her song ‘Gravity,’ one with a gospel chorus and one from her current album, and the one that she sang with us is, in my view, the best she’s ever done. It’s just a stunning version of what is really a terrific song anyway.”

Local artists Dan Nightingale and Madeline’s Toybox (we covered them in FWR #53) contributed “Got A Dream” and “Great Big Sunshine Day” respectively.

Unfortunately for us, the recording sessions at Sweetwater elicited no stories of audacious pop star behavior — no outrageous demands or temper tantrums or hissy fits. “Just the opposite,” laughs Guerin. “I’ve never seen a nicer bunch of people making music. Everyone is very gracious. They’re glad to be there and glad to participate in the effort.”

“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere,” he adds. “We’re just there to watch these people make music and capture it.”

One of the unique things about Majic Miracle Music is that all the money goes directly to Riley Hospital for Children: the CD costs $10, and every penny goes to the cause. “If I had gone with a CD replicating company, I would have to pay them,” Barb Richards explains. “$2 or $3 of every $10 CD sold would have gone to that company. But Sweetwater donates everything. Majic Miracle Music costs $10, and $10 goes to the kids at Riley.”

For Sweetwater’s part, Guerin says getting involved with the project was the proverbial no-brainer. “These are national recording artists in our studios, and that’s fun,” he says. “Besides, it’s a great charity. We raised $8000 the first year, and we think we could do more the second. It was just one more cool way to do that.”

You can pick up Volume Two (and Volume One) of Majic Miracle Music at Anchor Books, Anne’s Hallmark stores, Borders, and Higher Grounds Coffee Shops, as well as Sweetwater’s new retail store at 5501 US Highway 30 W, and online at: www.waji.com (and) www.sweetwater.com/miracle/

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.