here for you EP THANK YOUS!
There are so many people who went into making this happen, most of them behind the scenes, so let me just attempt to cover most of them!
Obviously the most key person was Matt Patrick – who, yes, while he was paid to do the producing etc. on this project, nevertheless went far over and above what I actually paid for, and poured himself into making this a unique and beautiful project as a gift to Tommy and I. We both knew Matt since we were pretty young although we did not meet each other until our 30s. As far as we know, he is the oldest friend we both have in common. I know Matt was the first person I ever brought music to, to work on, when I was a teenager, and while I guess we didn't get far back then and I can't even remember which song or songs we worked on then, it sure felt great to come back nearly 30 years later and complete a project together.
And then of course there was my cheerleader, my husband Tommy, who believed in me enough to reach out to Matt and initiate us making this happen. He was purposely careful to keep the project ownership mine, but he and our good friend Alex Lowery (who is in Robosapien with Tommy) sat and listened and gave feedback when I needed it. And then when it came time to promote, he brainstormed, he wrote lists, he posted, he reached out to people, he encouraged me, he made press release templates, and videos, checked postage rates & priced shipping materials, and basically went all out in helping me achieve my dream (along with initially agreeing to the budget for this, which, since I am not an accomplished musician myself by any means and had written most of these songs a capella, was not inconsiderable).
Lizz Brazen had asked me about the process of what I was doing to record close to the beginning here, last January, and while she was over at our place and we were on the subject of songwriting, she asked when I'd written a song last – and I honestly couldn't remember off the top of my head. It had been a very long time. But somehow, I think it was the next day, perhaps, or maybe a couple days later, I wrote Reach for Me, and was able to tie the right songs together to make this project. Sometimes just talking though things shakes them loose!
Sara Beth Horishnyk was also someone whose encouragement really helped. She apparently liked my previous music enough to show interest in drumming for the live release show that we didn't end up being able to do at this time, and even texted me in February – by chance – to see when I had more studio time with Matt and see how things were doing with the EP, 8 minutes before one of my sessions with him. How did she know??! She's a great drummer, so her interest and vote of confidence has meant a lot!
Kellie Schneider has been a wonderful friend, and my artistic partner in a few different projects now. In this project, I feel like, as the graphic designer, she gave just the right feel to the CD cover & imprint design and my Facebook banner, and has even been giving me breath practice Zoom sessions when vertigo and possible panic attacks seemed to threaten my well-being leading up to the release. And she added me her business Zoom account for the release show. On top of all this, she resolutely refuses to be paid, and I feel completely spoiled to have such a generous friend.
Erin Lynn Marsh, my best friend for now over 20 years at least, has also been instrumental in helping this project along. She and my dear friend, the amazing musician Paul Huesman, who I've known now for 25 years or so now, were my test listeners when I had a difficult decision to make, and thank goodness they were both in agreement! I trust their artistic judgment implicitly. Erin also helped me proof my EP bio, pick out outfits for public (virtual) appearances & assisted in testing the release party Zoom format.
Amy Roberts, my favorite vocal coach(/cheerleader/counselor/friend), who I used to go to when I lived in Hollywood and was in the band Old Souls, let me hire her for a virtual California to Minnesota class, to help shape up all of the songs before I went in to do final vocals. It is always amazing to me, how much she helps with my confidence and technique.
Ali Jafaar, a friend of Tommy's, wrote the bio for my EP and did a fantastic job. I would definitely hire him again in the future to do so. He is very 'gifted with the words'.
My mom, Linda Merry, took the iconic kids' moment pic I used for the album cover, of my sister and I, through the deck door somewhere around 1980. My sister Nicole Merry graciously allowed me to use it. And David Koplos took the bear hat pic that I used for the artist photo on the back of the CD and on promo materials, I think it was at a party where he asked some of us to model for some test shoots for fun and practice. I think he did a great job! It's a few years old, but I figured it beat new photos taken in my current awkward stage in the transition to gray hair.
Most recently, for pinch hitting in the home stretch (I say, like I watch sports), my friend Andrew Crandall volunteered to help me stitch together the music video for Peter's Lullaby to use for the release, in exchange for letting him use part of it for his editing reel. And he ended up doing a lot more that a couple stitches – he threw in a ton of stock video and plenty of magic, and made the video something special. And Jeremy Harvey, a really great guy who has been a friend of Tommy's for probably 20 years(?) and who has become a friend of mine too, upon my asking him some advice about digital distribution companies, generously offered for his label Dead Letter Records to take care of the digital distribution for me free of charge. Seeing as balancing so many learnings curves at once was a lot for me to handle, these two last offers could not have come at a better time, and these guys are both lifesavers!
I need to shoot a special thanks to my church Mercy Vineyard, which put up with me being a veritable prayer whore for the last year or so, wanting prayer all the time for things to go smoothly in this project. And I gotta say, all their words of encouragement, verses they gave me, the weird times when they would know things they couldn't know, the sage advice I got from Melanie G.S. Walby: "Done is better than perfect." – all these things helped me to hang on and move forward, even when the world fell apart with a pandemic, and it would have been easier to not persist, or to have released it in a quiet, forgettable way and return to regular life once done. They have reminded me this is a worthwhile undertaking, bringing beauty and peace and encouragement into the world, and it's worth doing, and worth doing right. I am absolutely grateful that I have this little community to be a part of.
There are more I didn't get into the pics above, but are still very much to be thanked! Such as Brian Kehew, who recorded the first demo of Peter's Lullaby (probably back in 2004?), which lent his stamp to this project's direction, Scott VanKoughnett, owner of Eat My Words Bookstore, who offered to sell my CD long before I had one made(!), Greg Best, whose listening party we were able to base mine on (gave Tommy the idea) and who patiently answered my technical questions, Kashimana, who suggested making videos to have the chance to confirm sound quality in advance, and Zaq Baker, a friend of ours who provided a significant number of press contacts to us to get the word out! An upcoming May podcast interview is in the books is due to connections he shared. Kat Jones just yesterday helped in thinking through shipping costs after we'd gotten some wildly different quotes from the post office. I am sure there may be more I am forgetting.
And then, beyond all this – so many of you, everywhere, folks & friends I've known from all different stages of my life, have reached out and encouraged me, prayed for me, sent good vibes my way, shared my project with others – some of you I don't even know and you have done this, which amazes me! So – these thank yous are WAY longer than the actual EP itself so I'll stop now here in a sec – I just wanted you to know that all these kindnesses were noticed and appreciated and I hope this project encourages you in facing things you might be afraid of too, and following dreams that seem unattainable, and taking risks and being willing to fail. Sending love and hugs and hope for a better tomorrow to all of you.