The journey to ‘Red, White & You’Written by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
In May 2010, at the height of her “American Idol” run, I asked Crystal Bowersox to predict the future.
“As your career progresses, will you be seen more as Jamie Farr or Katie Holmes?” I asked.
Bowersox, a native of Elliston, knew exactly what I meant.
“Jamie is the model,” she said. “I am proud to be from here, proud of the people I know. As long as I can, I will always show love for Toledo.”
Three years into her continuing journey, Bowersox is making good on that promise. In addition to her work for the Toledo School for the Arts, she has graciously contributed to our ongoing CD projects. In 2011, she recorded a vocal for a celebrity reading of “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” for the first Toledo Free Press Make-A-Wish “Holiday Wishes” CD. A few months ago, I asked Bowersox’s manager, music executive Gina Orr, if she would approach Bowersox about contributing a track to this summer’s Red Cross benefit CD, “Red, White & You.” Her response, “I think we can offer ‘Holy Toledo,’” floored us. We would have been grateful for a recording of Bowersox reading her grocery list, and she was donating one of her most successful and meaningful tracks.
Bowersox’s generosity is echoed in another famous local daughter, Alyson Stoner. A native Toledoan, Stoner has achieved fame through movie franchises such as “Cheaper By The Dozen,” “Step Up,” Camp Rock” and her work on Disney Channel’s “Mike’s Super Short Show” and “Phineas and Ferb.” Stoner also recorded a vocal for the 2011 Make-A-Wish CD and donated a stack of autographed DVDs for that cause. For this summer’s Red Cross project, she donated “Sweet,” an energetic and hyper-catchy song from her “Beat The System” collection.
“Red, White & You” is the fifth CD Toledo Free Press has produced, and each one has been a lesson in how talented, accessible and philanthropic the Toledo music scene is.
That generosity is embodied by the people who continually help us raise the bar with the CD projects. You may know Chrys Peterson as the anchorwoman for WTOL-11, but our CD listeners know she is also an incredibly talented vocalist. Her holiday contributions have been a testament to her talents, but her track on “Red, White & You” is a revelation. Holiday music is inherently restrained and spiritual. On her summer track “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” Peterson employs gritty, sensual and weary nuances that will impress even those who are familiar with her vocals.
Other artists are integral pieces of these philanthropic puzzles. Kerry Patrick Clark has written original songs for the holiday CDs and recorded an honest and aching rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Girls In Their Summer Clothes” for the Red Cross CD. Pat Dailey has been a true friend of these projects, allowing us to utilize his vast catalog of music, but he bested even our lofty expectations when he and his manager Tom Brady came through this summer with one of his signature songs, “Put-In-Bay.”
My friend Jeff Stewart has been an anchor of the holiday CDs and this summer contributed a brand-new track, the melodic and gorgeous “Little One” from his upcoming album.
There are of course other great friends of this project. Kyle White’s heart is as big as her voice. Carmen Miller’s music is the soul of our CDs and she has been amazing in helping organize the free Red Cross concert with several acts at 7 p.m. June 23 at Hollywood Casino Toledo. I believe Eddie Boggs would busk on a street corner with a hat on the ground for these charities if we asked him. The musicians in goLab, Nine Lives, The Sanderlings, Arctic Clam, Buck69, Old State Line and The Bradberries comprise an army of great music and generous spirits.
We are also making new friends with each new project. Matt Sayers, Highbinder, Mike “Mad Dog” Adams, Throw It To Erie and Milano each make their Toledo Free Press CD debut this summer, and I fervently hope we will bring you more of their music as the years roll by.
Behind the music
Behind the music are two monster talents. Mighty Wyte and Brett Dennison. Mighty has been our engineer from the beginning and makes the CDs sound amazing whether you are listening on earbuds, car speakers or a home system. Dennison, of Firefly Studios, opened his space to record a number of songs for the project and delivered epic versions of some classic summer songs.
The sponsors for the summer CD are stellar. Bennett Enterprises is utilizing every avenue of its Frisch’s Big Boy and Ralphie’s network to fund and distribute the CDs. KeyBank is on board as a distributor, a major addition to our philanthropic arsenal. A.A. Boos & Sons stepped up as a sponsor. Our media partners, WTOL/FOX Toledo and WSPD, are crucial partners and powerful allies.
The creative emphasis is on music, but the impact is for the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. The $10 you spend on the CD (and you get $4 of that back on a Frisch’s Big Boy/Ralphie’s coupon) provides comfort kits with hygiene items and necessities to five adults or children following a disaster. The local Red Cross team members who have helped with this CD — Tim Yenrick, Amanda Aldrich, Peggy Holewinski and Ken Robinson — are tireless in their Red Cross work and have been wonderful teammates.
And of course, there is you. Thousands of you purchase the Make-A-Wish CD each year and I hope you will trust us with this first summer Red Cross CD. You support the sponsors, bands and distribution locations and for that, all of us are appreciative and grateful.
No one knows what the future holds, but these CDs represent a collaboration of art, commerce and charity that defines Toledo’s present.
Call for music
Speaking of the future, now that our summer CD has been released, it is time to start working on the 2013 “Holiday Wishes 3: If You Believe” album for Make-A-Wish Foundation. If your act or studio is interested in contributing, please contact me and we’ll get started.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.
Tags: A.A. Boos, Alyson Stoner, Amanda Aldrich, American Idol, Arctic Clam, Brett Dennison, Bruce Springsteen, Buck69, Carmen Miller, Chrys Pterson, Crystal Bowersox, Eddie Boggs, Firefly Studios, FOX Toledo, Frisch’s Big Boy, GoLab, Highbinder, Holiday Wishes, Holiday Wishes 3: If You Believe, Hollywood Casino Toledo, Jamie Farr, Jeff Stewart, Katie Holmes, Ken Robinson, Kerry Patrick Clark, KeyBank, Kyle White, Lighting The Fuse, Make-A-Wish, Matt Sayers, Michael S. Miller, Mighty Wyte, Mike “Mad Dog” Adams, Milano, Nine Lives, Old State Line, Otis Redding, Pat Dailey, Peggy Holewinski, Put-in-Bay, Ralphie’s, Red Cross, Red White & You, The Bradberries, The Sanderlings, Throw It To Erie, Tim Yenrick, Tom Brady, WSPD, WTOL-11