The staff at RiverRock Studios (formerly WaterBury Studios), in Northeast Minneapolis, have enlisted several local musicians for a new take on traditional holiday music. The Sounds of Giving, an album of Christmas songs, was produced by Tommy Barbarella and engineered by Eric Blomquist.
The proceeds from Sounds of Giving will go to The Bridge for Youth program, a shelter for youth in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The Bridge for Youth serves over a thousand teens a year and works with families as well.
“The goal is to get the youth reconnected with their families,” said Eric Blomquist, co-owner and engineer at RiverRock Studios. “It was a pretty easy charity for all the artists to get behind.”
The artists on the album include Nicholas David, Davina and the Vagabonds, FDeluxe, Keri Noble, Sarah Morris, Julius Collins, Desdamona, Alison Scott, and Chris Koza. The tracks include Christmas songs including “Joy to the World,” “Givin’ You My Love,” and “O Holy Night.” In total, says Blomquist, nearly 40 artists worked on the project.
The artists bring a variety of sounds and textures to the songs: R&B, hip-hop, folk, and more. “It’s holiday music with integrity,” Blomquist said. “It’s not a cheesy type of thing we just threw together. It’s really music that we were really all digging and it really has a good feel behind it.”
Tommy Barbarella produced the album and performs on each track. “[The album is] a very eclectic mixture of original takes on holiday classics,” Barbarella said.
Barbarella chose the artists and says he enjoyed the whole process, enlisting the likes of Minneapolis singer-songwriter Rachel Kurtz. “I was just blown away and thought she was really cool,” Barbarella said. “Her record is really great, so I thought more people should hear her.”
The goal of the album is to create as much awareness about The Bridge for Youth program and to raise as much money for the program as possible. Excerpts from the songs can be heard on The Bridge for Youth website; discs or downloads of the full album are available now in exchange for donations of $25.
“With this being for charity, and it’s such a great cause, everyone was really coming together. It was really a nice relaxed atmosphere. [It was] just a lot of fun,” Blomquist said.
Kayla Culver is studying multimedia journalism and public relations at Concordia College. Once she graduates she will be pursuing a career as a music journalist. She blogs irregularly at chameleonears.com.