Holiday Wishes: Chrys Peterson, Hepcat Revival play favorite Elvis holiday tuneWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | email@example.com
Chrys Peterson said there was no question which holiday tune she would contribute to “Holiday Wishes.”
Since childhood, the WTOL Channel 11 news anchor has loved Elvis Presley’s “Santa, Bring My Baby Back To Me.”
“I’m not sure if this is my favorite Christmas song of all time, but it certainly ranks right up there,” Peterson said. “When I was a little girl, my mom had three or four Christmas records she would put on the turntable and they would slip down one at a time and play, and one of them was Elvis’ Christmas album. This was my favorite song. I would stand up and try to do the Elvis scowl with my lip. It’s just peppy and kind of uplifting and I’ve just always loved it. It was the first song that came to my mind.”
Peterson enlisted the help of her friend Greg Tye, lead singer of Toledo group Hepcat Revival.
“He just jumped in with no hesitation and worked with me on this,” Peterson said. “They are the most talented musicians — really fun guys and they have hearts of gold. It was a blast working with them. I don’t think they knew the song, but now they all love it too.”
Trumpet player Vince Krolak said the group took the original Elvis tune and “Hep-ified” it.
“The original didn’t have horn parts so we added tenor sax and trumpet sounds and also opened it for instrumental solos between verses to change it up and give it a little more blues flavor. We also changed the key to suit her vocal range,” Krolak said. “With the way Chrys did her vocals you can still hear the Elvis, so it just came together really nicely.”
Peterson said she didn’t feel pressure to live up to The King.
“It’s kind of easy when you’re a woman doing a cover of a man’s song; no one expects you to sound like him. The whole gender thing put a different twist on it,” Peterson said. “Hepcat changed the score just a little bit, but we really wanted to stay true to that rockabilly Elvis style and just put our own talents into it, so that’s what we did.”
Peterson sang in high school choruses and worked her way through college singing with an ’80s rock band, but said she doesn’t sing much beyond the shower now.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to come out of the shower,” Peterson said, laughing. “There is so much musical talent in the Toledo area; I don’t know what the heck I’m doing on this CD! We are so blessed to have all this talent surrounding us in Toledo and this is the perfect showcase for the talent that is here and the generosity of those people to donate their time and talents to help the kids in Northwest Ohio.”
Toledo Free Press Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller, who compiled the CD, said he thought of Peterson from the project’s inception.
“I have heard Chrys sing at the Red Cross Oscar gala a number of times, and thought it would be a treat for people to hear what a talented vocalist she is,” Miller said.
As a former board member for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Northwest Ohio Chapter, Peterson has had the chance to see the wish-granting process up close.
“It’s such an amazing organization,” Peterson said. “I get choked up talking about it. I really believe in the power of hope when you’re healing from an illness like that, and I think what Make-A-Wish does for those kids is offer hope. I truly believe that might be the difference that helps some of these kids turn the corner with their illnesses or move through whatever they are dealing with. So to know the money raised from these CDs alone will grant several wishes for kids in Northwest Ohio, that’s really special.”