Heart on a String
The stories Chuck Keiper's guitar cases could tell. From dodging beat cops on the corners of New York, grinding through smoke-filled clubs of the Midwest, to sweating under Beijing concert lights, his Martin, Taylor and Mossman cases could tell the Chuck Keiper story almost as well as he could. And what a story. By the time he was 17, Chuck was a favorite performer around Midwest college campuses and by 20 he'd spent more sleeping hours in his car as he traveled across the nation than his own bed in Kent, Ohio. And while choking down greasy food, waiting for his stage start, and searching for the local laundry mat, Chuck found one common dominator in his travels: People. People were eager to share their stories, eager to share their perspectives, sometimes even hungry to share a little dirt. And people found their way into Chuck's songs."So many times people never realize how what we've shared becomes so much a part of me," Chuck says. "If I had a penny for every conversation that woke me in the middle of the night and led me to my guitar, I could buy a truck-load of new six-strings." Chuck remembers spending time with an Olympic athlete who defected from the Soviet Union during the late 70s. His remarkable story reminded Chuck that his own grandfather had also given up everything to come to America. "I could hardly put my guitar down until I finished Just Another Immigrant," Chuck says of the song about his Italian grandfather. "It's funny, really, how sometimes it takes a stranger to remind you of the blessings in your own life." The song follows a young man as he boldly and nervously strikes out for the unknown. Just Another Immigrant reminds us that America is still "a brighter day" and "the better way" of life so many people around the world crave. The voice of a solitary instrument begins the journey, and is soon joined in a dizzying crescendo as the band swirls around Chuck's tender yet booming voice. The journey continues through the happiness and contentment the now-aged young man finds in America, and finishes as the voices of traditional instruments remind us that in this remarkable country it is our separate roots that bind us together. The song eventually reached the ears of legendary rock and roll producer Bob Johnston. "You have something truly remarkable here. You're going places, my boy," Johnston told Chuck. And he would know after producing such superstars as Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkle, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, and countless others. Chuck Keiper is now on the list. Heart On A String, Chuck Keiper's debut CD, is a lightning strike in a music world starving for honest emotion. Chuck's music explodes against a backdrop that celebrates the rich musical heritage of the singer-songwriter movement of the 70s. "I grew up listening to James Taylor, Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchel, Bob Dylan, Harry Chapin, Cat Stevens, John Prine, Janas Joplin, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. I wore out my Bridge Over Troubled Water album. I used to buy two albums a week, one new one and one replacement for an album I wore out," recalls Chuck. "I have great memories of sitting with my guitar in my lap and trying to learn every note exactly as it was on the album. I had to pick up the needle and put it down so many times that most of my albums had less than a thirty-day shelf life." Chuck brings the same musical precision and lyrical intensity to Heart On A String. From the smoky, bluesy Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That, to the Buffet calypso beat of Bonnie Jane, to the Dylan-meets-JT When, this CD will move your feet and tug your heart strings. Chuck's gutsy anthem Rise Up Together reminds us all that our voices are strongest when they are united. From start to finish, Heart On A String is world-class: A band rich in incredible musicians... a voice that awakens our emotions... lyrics that transport us. This is a must-have CD. Produced by World Renowned Producer BOB JOHNSTON Bob Johnston, the legendary producer of Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkle, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Michael Martin Murphy, The Statler Brothers and countless others, has a simple if not imperative philosophy in the recording studio: Kindly keep the future open. That mindset, as well as his discriminating ear and talent for organizing session musicians, earned him acclaim at Columbia's Nashville division. Johnston's important work in the studio started when Bob Dylan walked away from his pervious producer, Tom Wilson, in the mid-1960s after recording "Like A Rolling Stone." Johnston produced most of Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited in New York but suggested Dylan use Nashville session great Charlie McCoy. Dylan's double album, Blonde on Blonde, was recorded almost entirely in Nashville. There was concern that Dylan's off-the cuff-approach would not work well with drummer Kenneth Buttrey, guitarists Jerry Kennedy and Robbie Robertson and organist Al Kooper. Johnston suggested they kindly keep the future open and what followed made music history. But, Johnston wasn't finished logging himself into the pages of music history. In the late 1960s he produced Simon & Garkunkle's first electric folk-rock albums, Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme. Johnston produced Johnny Cash during the star's period of greatest success with pop audiences as well as some unreleased sessions for a possible Dylan-Cash album. "Girl from the North Country" was released as a result of that collaboration. Although legendary as a producer, Johnston is an accomplished writer and musician. His songs appear on many albums, including those of Engelbert Humperdinck and Tracy Nelson. He played organ and harmonica on Cohen's Live Songs and trombone on a couple of Jack Costanzo songs. In the studio, Johnston will often borrow a guitar or lead interested listeners to the piano for an impromptu performance of one of his songs-in-progress. A teller of great stories, Johnston is fond of relating experiences with artists he both produced and knows. From burning down hotel rooms with Cohen to playing tricks with Dylan to back stage antics with Mick Jagar, Johnston's personal and professional life has always shunned the status quo, including critics. "Critics are an eternal mediocrity," Johnston will tell you, "living at the expense of genius, either to belittle it or to destroy it. A race of insects happily eating away at the foliage of art." Finding a world audience is, perhaps, what Johnston does best. Whether producing artists, writing music, or using his voice to benefit others, Johnston's passion is what sets him apart. That passion lead him to pen a song to benefit the children of the world. The United Nations responded by awarding Johnston with the UN Award for Peace. His understanding of the world stage is exactly what drew Johnston to Chuck Keiper, who, according to Johnston, is going to be front and center. Johnston calls Heart On A String the best written and performed album in 30 years. The legendary producer says "When" contains the best bridge he has ever heard and he is particularly excited about "Just Another Immigrant." "Songs like that don't just come along every day. The whole country is made up of immigrants," explains Johnston. "Chuck Keiper has captured the immigrant experience. This song is big, really F--in' big, man." After 40 years of producing, writing and traveling the world, what is Johnston's favorite song? "When You Wish Upon A Star." Still keeping the future open. THE BAND The best description of Chuck Keiper's band is "world-class." Their experience spans all genres of music, from rock and pop, to country, folk and jazz. The five musicians have toured with the music world's crème'-de-la-crème'. Mutli-talented and versatile, these guys do it all: perform, arrange, produce, sing, and pen their own songs. Shane Keister, a master musician, plays keyboard, synthesizer, piano, organ, and other instruments. He is also an engineer, producer, conductor and arranger. Watch most nationally televised award shows and odds are Shane has played some part in bringing the music to the viewing audience. He has a long history of working with artists from all genres. A sampling includes: Chet Atkins, Jimmy Buffet, Glen Campbell, Alabama, Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Celine Dion, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Roberta Flack, Crystal Gayle, Amy Grant, Emmylou Harris, Barbara Manrdrell, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbit, Kenny Rogers, Sawyer Brown, Ricky Skaggs, B.J. Thomas, and Tanya Tucker. Shane's original songs appear on CDs by Amy Grant, Maia Amada, Steve Green, The Players, and Sandi Patty. Guitars simply spring to life in the hands of Pat Buchanan. Just ask Brooks & Dunn, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kenny Chesney, Billy Ray Cyrus, the Dixie Chicks, Hall & Oats, Faith Hill, Earl Scruggs, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Hank Williams, Jr., and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He brings his high energy and distinctive style to Heart On A String. Pat also plays dobro, the 12-string, slide guitar, and harmonica. Pat's original songs appear on CDs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tammy Rogers, Bill Lloyd, Van Zant, and Idle Jets. Quick-to-smile George Marinelli plays guitar, mandolin and dobro. Gifted with a sense for subtlety, George weaves his magic in, around, and through the music on Heart On A String. He has played or traveled with the Dixie Chicks, Art Garfunkle, Steve Goodman, Bruce Hornsby and The Range, Reba McEntire, Bonnie Raitt, Earl Scruggs, Pam Tillis, and Trisha Yearwood. His original songs appear on CDs by John Elefante, Doug Oekstra, Don Morrell, Jeni Varnadeau and Amy Grant. Although predominately a bass guitarist, Joe Chemay also plays organ, strings and drums. As everyone at Nashville's Emerald Studio learned, Joe is a musical force all on his own. Nearing the end of the first week of recording, Joe picked up his bass and walked into the room where tracking was about to begin on Chuck's instrumental cut, "Falling Awake." Soft-spoken and thoughtful, Joe sat down and started to play. Chuck wrote the song for guitar and piano... only. Chuck and Shane were more than a little surprised. But when he had heard the original arrangement, Joe instinctively knew his bass would add the perfect Polish. The results? Listen for yourself. You can use the guestbook to let Joe know what you think. Joe has worked with The Beach Boys, Stephen Bishop, Eric Carmen, Christopher Cross, Billy Ray Cyrus, Marshall Dyllon, Faith Hill, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Roy Orbison, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Tanya Tucker, Shania Twain and Pink Floyd. One of his songs appears on Toby Beau's If You Believe CD. Drummer Greg Morrow walks softly but sticks and kicks one big sound whether in-studio or on stage. Listen to the remarkable work he does on "Marys and Earls." When Mark Dearnly (English-born, L.A.-based mix-meister-extraordinaire) sat down at the sound board to do the rough mix, he kept looking for more than one drum track. We told him there only was one drum track and only one drummer. "That's one versatile drummer," exclaimed Mark. He was right on the money. Greg is one versatile drummer. He brings drive and rhythm, insight and intuition to this recording. There are simply going to be times when your ears tell you he must have more than one set of hands. He has worked or traveled with Trace Adkins, Alabama, Bad Company, Belinda Carlisle, Mary Chapin Carpenter, David Allan Coe, Cold Blue Steel, Billy Ray Cyrus, de Talk, the Dixie Chicks, Billy Gilman, Amy Grant, Lynryd Skynyrd, Martina McBride, Kelly McGuire, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Primal Scream, Restless Heart, Earl Scruggs, Pam Tillis, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Van Zant, Hank Williams, Jr., and Trisha Yearwood. Greg also played on the original soundtrack Happy Texas, and on the television soundtrack Touched By An Angel: The Album. His original songs appear on DeGarmo & Key's Commander Sozo & The Charge of The Light Brigade.