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Shively Plantation

Shively Plantation

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Price: $24.77

Product Notes

Keyboardist Erich Overhultz and bassist/guitarist Rick Harper have recently collaborated on a new album that definitely needs to be heard. They call themselves Shively Plantation, and that's the name of their new album. The two of them sat down with Beryl O'Connerly to talk about their project and musical inspiration. Beryl: Congratulations on the new album. Let's talk about your song Hopkinsville; it intrigues me. Erich: It's a town in Western Kentucky that happens to be the home of Western State Hospital, one of the state's psychiatric hospitals. In earlier days it was officially known as the Western Kentucky Lunatic Asylum. Beryl: Lunatic Asylum?That sounds terrible. Erich: It does. But I first became aware of the place when I was doing some genealogical research on my family-wrote a family memoir called The Soils of Muhlenberg. I discovered that my great great grandfather, a farmer named William Henry Overhultz, had a wife named Elizabeth Miranda (Mirandy) Bodine, and they had five children. Sometime in the early 1880s she was committed to the asylum, where she lived for 32 years. State records showed that she died from consumption, and also suffered from psychosis. Consumption is what they called Tuberculosis back then. Beryl: A lot of folks suffered from that back in the day. Erich: Yes-I'm sure it was awful. But here's where it gets even more bleak: one of her daughters, Nancy-who went by the nickname Nannie- was committed a few years later to the same institution. She too had been diagnosed as psychotic, and wound up living in the place for 54 years before dying of arteriorsclerosis. Beryl: 54 years?!!! Did you ever find out what things they did to get them committed? Erich: No, no records that I could find. Keep in mind, this is rural western Kentucky in the 1800s. But what I found disturbing also was that they used to bury the patients on the grounds behind the hospital, but few had markers of any kind, and there was no record of who was buried where. A fire years later burned much the grounds. It's believed that over 1,800 patients are buried underneath the ground there. No names, no markers, just numbers. Beryl: It's a soulful, yet haunting song; I noticed that the lyrics in the song mention both of those relatives, and the lack of markers. I like the guitar on Hopkinsville, in sounds like horns. Something like The Band would have done. Don't mean to compare. And Miracle sounds like something Dionne Warwick or somebody like Laura Nyro might have released. Erich: Well thank you. On both songs! . As far as the Band reference-yes, both Rick and I have been heavily influenced by The Band. Hopkinsville was definitely a personal reflective thing. There's another song on there called Miss Mary Landis, that is sung from the perspective of my great-great-great grandfather to his bride to be, as they headed over the Wilderness Trail into Kentucky in the early 19th century. But that's a happier, uptempo tune. As a matter of fact, I think Hopkinsville is the only thing on the album that isn't upbeat. It came off good though. Beryl: Kentucky has long been associated with bourbon whiskey, and now unfortunately meth labs. You guys sing about both on this album, in different songs. Erich: Good Kentucky Whiskey is just a funny tale about some drunken whiskey boaters or peddlers making their way down the river on their way to New Orleans. And they have the misfortune of encountering the 1812 New Madrid, Missouri earthquake along the way. They have record of the Mississippi River actually flowing backwards for a while because of that quake! Imagine some grizzled gray beard singing along with a honky tonk piano, a bunch of drunk Irishmen in a pub, some kazoos, and you'll get the picture. Beryl: What about the meth labs? Rick: Welllll.... there's a lot of pill pushing doctors here. I couldn't believe how many folks I knew or used to know had this problem w/ pain killers. It dawned on me suddenly one hallelujah evening we were on our way to a gig and one of the girlfriends suddenly whoops over the driver's shoulder into his pocket. Meth is a problem everywhere. I've met some folks in the mountains in NC who live for the stuff. It's an anti drug song, really. And written in '06 or something... The most interesting thing to me is a gal I met over 20 years ago in the carribean plays slide whistle and sings 'methadonemethadonemethadone...' a Polish girl who lives in Romania. Husband has a mobile studio by the sound of it. We've lost touch since then. Emails returned. It's nuts over there. Dana if you see this. Send me a card! Beryl: The Shively Plantation is actually quite varied. You've got some songs with localized topics, but this is not strictly an Americana-only album. You've got some tropical and even reggae tunes on there. Kind of unusual for Kentuckians? Erich: Well Rick here is the true Kentuckian- he was born in Louisville and has spent most of his life in these parts. I'm a Floridian- I was born in Florida and have lived all but 5 years of my life there. But my parents and family roots go back to Kentucky- I spent many vacations seeing my grandmother in Lexington, and other relatives. Florida is where I met Rick, when we both wound up playing in a country-western cover band in a Ft. Lauderdale night club. Both Rick and I played for quite a while with a couple members of the original NRBQ, drummer Tom Staley and the late, great Louisville guitarist Steve Ferguson; NRBQ influenced both of us heavily as far as the variety, roots, and organic flavor of music. We listen to and have been influenced by all kinds of music. Like them, we play what we want, when we want. Shively Plantation is not just a recording musical group-it's a state of mind. Just like a farm's crops, you don't know what will pop up out of the ground at Shively Plantation! Beryl: Like Mamey? Erich: Yes, like Mamey! You know it's a fruit, right? It's particularly big with the Cuban-American community and some folks from Central America that have made their way to South Florida. It has an orangish/salmonish color on the inside, and when you do things like make shakes with them, it's delicious! Beryl: Mamey is an instrumental, one of several on the album. Don't you think that's unusual to put so many instrumentals out? Erich: Like I said, we like to play what we want, when we want. Whatever inspires us. I'm primarily a pianist, and I view myself formost as an instrumentalist. I don't know how Rick would characterize himself as, but instrumentally, he is one heck of a bass player. Rick and I are both old enough to remember the days when most music was on AM radio, and lots of times (back when DJs had more autonomy), they'd often play instrumental music to take it to the top of the hour for news. Floyd Cramer, Duane Eddy, King Curtis, whatever. Now Mamey is a happy piece with nice organ melody and infectious bass line. Perez Prado meets the MGs. Rick: I characterize myself as a song and dance man, like Dylan. But better. I'm a bassist. I like any music that's good. And timeless. Ravi Shankar and Beethoven and Byrds and Beatles and Gene Pitney; it's all the same to me. Wonderful. Like The Beach Boys. Beryl: Right. You've got some Byrds sounds, some Beatles. The jangle thing. Then there's Miracle. Rick: Yeah I really like that one. I was a bit surprised Erich wanted to use my stuff; I fumbled a few words and I just considered them demos. But I really like Miracle; it needs Dionne Warwick or Tift Merritt to sing it. Wanted to put a Bacarach trumpet on there...the lyrics came to me while I was putting on the bass. And it pretty much is a true story. Coffee Table 2013 (note: Harper wrote a song many years ago which was recorded by his group Breathers). Erich's track had no melody or lyrics. Erich: Well here's where it gets interesting. I actually had the lyrics and melody already, but I hadn't lined up the singer(s) that I wanted to use. What I had in mind originally was something like a Donny Hathaway voice and a black gospel choir. I had only recorded my keyboard parts, so I just sent what I had to Rick. My keyboard parts and a chord chart. After Rick and (drummer) Harry Price recorded their parts, I went back to the studio of Jason Perry, who played some mandolin on this album. I was putting on a rough- and I mean, rough -it's out of my range- vocal just to show a singer how the song went. Well after I did this, Joe Conti-another guitarist who played on Hopkinsville- said that he liked the song and would like for his young son and school children's choir to sing it. That's when it made sense-like a Charlie Brown Christmas thing. Beryl: Ah, a Christmas classic. Erich: Absolutely. Well, we recorded the choir in the sanctuary of St. Coleman Catholic Church in Pompano Beach. Now in the mean time, Rick hadn't heard anything since he put on the bass, and it had been a couple months. He figured that I had probably shelved the project or forgot about it or something, and he came up with his own melody and lyrics. After I sent him the choir version, he sent what he had come up with. And I loved it. I thought- well why not just release both versions? Rick: The choir version of the song is called 'There Is a Star', and is under the children's choir name. It's separate. Our version of course is Miracle. Most of the instruments are the same-some aren't. The Miracle version has an electric guitar in the mix, and the organ part of Erich's is louder. But I love the tune. Oh gosh I miss her..Miracle girl. But I miss being 18 too. I think. Beryl: What is Ojos Misteriosos? Erich: It's Spanish for 'mysterious eyes.' One of my favorites on the album-the first instrumental you'll hear. Obviously by the title it has a Latin feel, in terms of the piano playing. I became a huge fan of Ruben Gonzalez, the wonderful pianist with the Buena Vista Social Club. Beryl: Oh yes, I heard an album by them- they were outstanding. Erich: Of course-they were the real deal. I love the solo albums he did especially. He passed away just a few years ago. Weird, but it seems like most of the musicians that influenced me are dead. I guess that says something about my musical tastes. Even in his older age Ruben was still playing with passion and fire. But I guess from listening a lot to him, I came up with Ojos, only I envisioned it on top of a hypnotic reggae groove and lots of percussion. Rick did a great job on bass, and the final result was fantastic. That's Ojos Misteriosos. Beryl: Well thank you for your time, and congratulations on putting out a fine album. Erich and Rick: Thank you.

Details

Artist: Shively Plantation
Title: Shively Plantation
Genre: Rock
Release Date: 22/11/2013
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 888174413327
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