"Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia" is an 18-month labor of love for the Share America Foundation, Inc. and its volunteers, featuring performances by over 30 youth ages 11-27 including Colton Brown, Emerald Butler, Warren Carnes,Phillip Cross, Landon Fitzpatrick, Nicholas Hickman, Trevor Holder, Kings Springs Road, Caleb Lewis, Isaac Moore, Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band, Matthew Nave, Wally O'Donald, Drew Sherrill, SingAkadamie, Ryan Stinson, Landon Wall and Tyler West.
Producer Randall Franks (http://www.RandallFranks.com/) spearheaded the project. The American TV Star and Appalachian entertainer is known for appearing at the Grand Ole Opry, CMA Fan Fair, National Folk Festival, bluegrass festivals, and as part of the National Quartet Convention All-Star Band.
For this project the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Legend brought together the youth, who are primarily from Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina, to perform 18 new songs, covers and standards in Americana, Bluegrass and Southern Gospel.
Several of the songs were written or co-written by the youth such as "Wash Day" by Landon Wall, "How Could I Go?" by Emerald Butler, "Time for the Blues" by Tyler Griffith, "It's A Hard Road to Make Love Easy" and "Someone Greater Than I" by Ryan Stinson. Franks wrote or co-wrote six of the songs.
For many of the youth this was their first studio experience and for some their first experience working with other musicians, or writing songs.
In support of the youth, Franks shares vocals, and plays fiddle, mountain dulcimer and guitar. He also welcomes the talents of several adult guests in support of the youth some including Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Jeff Hullender, SingAkadamie director Sheri Thrower, and steel guitarist Tim Witt.
Songs Presented in CD Order and by Music Genre - Americana, Bluegrass and Gospel
01) It’s A Hard Road to Make Love Easy – Ryan Stinson (2:28)
Songwriters: Randall Franks, Alan Autry and Ryan Stinson Publisher and PRO: Peach Picked Publishing/BMI
Musicians: Ryan Stinson: Lead Vocal and Piano Randall Franks: Fiddle and Harmony Vocals Warren Carnes: Acoustic Guitar Drew Sherrill: Acoustic Bass Phillip Cross: Mandolin Tim Witt: Steel Guitar Matthew Nave: Trumpet Colton Brown: Drums Isaac Moore: Harmony Vocals
Ryan Stinson is a Share America Scholar and he graduated from Luther Rice University with a degree in Religion/Ministry and he lives in Ringgold. He has played piano since the age of 10 and began singing about three years ago. His talents have allowed him to perform on WSM and theaters around the south including special appearances at the Texas Troubadour Theater in Nashville, the Tribute Theater, Country Tonite Theater, and Smoky Mountain Opry Theater in Pigeon Forge, Graceland in Memphis, festivals, concerts and churches.
"'Hard Road to Make Love Easy' is a country-style tune about a frustrated couple who just can't get along. The upbeat rhythm and melody create a fun way to tell the story."Ryan Stinson
"I was telling my friend Alan Autry, "Bubba Skinner" of "In the Heat of the Night," some relationship issues I was having with a girlfriend when he said "It's a Hard Road to Make Love Easy." That hook stuck and I later wrote the lyrics and basic tune. When I began working with Ryan Stinson for this project, I pulled the song out and we updated the music and created a classic country feel that matches his style."Randall Franks
02) Baby’s Coming Home – Caleb Lewis (2:37) Instrumental
Songwriters: Chet Atkins and Jerry R. Hubbard Publisher and PRO: Sixteen Stars Music/BMI
Caleb Lewis, 14, is a Share America Scholar of Ooltewah, Tenn. who attends ninth grade at Providence Christian Academy in Ringgold, Ga. He began playing at age seven. He won first place in the 2017 International Thumbpicking Contest junior division in Muhlenburg County, Ky. This Chet Atkins "Baby's Coming Home" is one he learned from his guitar mentor Internationally known guitarist Wesley Crider.
“I had a lot of fun working on the CD. I enjoyed meeting many talented people. It was pretty easy song and it was one I just learned the week before. I really like Chet Atkins style better than most of the guitar players I have heard.” Caleb Lewis
03) Been Gone A Long Time – Wally O’Donald (3:41)
Songwriters: Tommy Lee Scott Publisher and PRO: Katona Publishing Co./ASCAP
Musicians: Lead Vocal and Guitar: Wally O'Donald Fiddle: Randall Franks Acoustic Guitar: Warren Carnes Electric Guitar: Tyler West Harmonica: Colton Brown Piano: Ryan Stinson Acoustic Bass: Drew Sherrill Steel Guitar: Tim Witt Banjo: Trevor Holder Drums: Colton Brown Background Vocals: SingAkadamie directed by Sheri Thrower including Jacob Trotter, Grant Lewellen, Nicholas Hickman, Lilly York, Haleigh Grey, Kayla Starks, Chelsea Brewster,and Logan Lynne
Wally O'Donald, 11, attends Ringgold Middle School and he lives in Ringgold, Ga. He has played guitar and sang since the age of four. He has performed as a regular at the Ringgold Opry for six years and the 1890s Day Jamboree and has competed at the Great Southern Old Time Fiddler's Convention in the Song category every year since he was five.
“It was really cool to be in a recording studio and see all of the equipment. I didn’t know before how much time it takes to record a song. I am grateful though for the opportunity.”Wally O'Donald
"In the 1950s, Country/Western Music Pioneer and Film star Ramblin' Tommy Scott wrote a whimsical rockabilly love lament "Been Gone a Long Time" spinning the song around classic nursery rhyme characters such as Little Bo Peep, Old Mother Hubbard and others. When our youngest singer Wally O'Donald joined the project, I thought it would be a perfect song that people would love to hear him sing."Randall Franks
04) Piano Man – Colton Brown (2:45) Instrumental
Songwriter: Billy Joel Publisher and PRO: Joelsongs/ASCAP
Musicians: Colton Brown: Piano, Drums and Harmonica Warren Carnes: Acoustic Guitar Isaac Moore:Acoustic Bass
Colton Brown, 16, plays piano, harmonica and drums on this Billy Joel song. He is from Chickamauga, Ga. and is a 10th grader at Oakwood Christian Academy. He began performing at the age of six. He has performed with District Honor Band for three consecutive years,UGA's Midfest for two years, and JanFest for one year where he was chosen for the Honor Band. He won first place in Georgia Association Christian School Fine Arts competition and third place at the national level in the American Association Christian Schools.
"I chose Piano Man because I appreciate the challenge of playing the harmonica and piano at the same time. I love Billy Joel’s style of playing. I was blessed to be part of this incredible opportunity for Share America."Colton Brown
05) How Could I Go? – Emerald Butler (2:17)
Songwriter: Emerald Butler Publisher and PRO: Emerald Butler/BMI
Musicians: Emerald Butler:Vocals, Guitar, and Fiddle; John Roberts: Bass Bary Wilde: Piano Chris Gordon: Drums Tim Neal: Dobro
Engineer: Josh Chuma (Breaker 17 Studio)
Emerald Butler is a Share America Scholar, graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Bachelors of Science in Music Business with a minor in marketing. As an songwriter/entertainer, she performs country roots music as a vocalist, guitarist and fiddler. She has appeared as a guest performer with Rhonda Vincent, Cody McCarver of Confederate Railroad, and opened for David Allan Coe alongside Cedi Allen Moore.
"It has been a pleasure being a part of the Share America program, project, and community. It has helped me along with my journey, and I hope that what little I have contributed will encourage and benefit others."Emerald Butler
06) What About All These American Flags? – Randall Franks (4:54) Recitation with Music
Musicians Randall Franks: Recitation and Fiddle Landon Fitzpatrick: Banjo Phillip Cross: Guitar Colton Brown: Harmonica and Drums Matthew Nave: Trumpet SingAkadamie directed by Sheri Thrower including Jacob Trotter, Grant Lewellen, Nicholas Hickman, Lilly York, Haleigh Grey, Kayla Starks, Chelsea Brewster,and Logan Lynne: Background Vocals
"This recitation focuses on the historic sacrifice of one family revealed in an innocent adventure shared by a grandfather and his young grandson Robbie. It was inspired by the flood of flags displayed across the United States following the September 11, 2001 attacks. I performed it once in conjunction with a continuing patriotic Festival of Flags celebration offered bi-annually in my hometown of Ringgold, Ga. honoring deceased veterans. The youth singers and musicians help me give it a classic Johnny Cash feel."Randall Franks
07) The Star Spangled Banner – SingAkadamie featuring Nicholas Hickman and Kiersten Suttles (1:41)
Songwriter/Arranger: Sheri Thrower Publisher and PRO: Sher-the-Music Publishing/BMI
Producer: Sheri Thrower
SingAkadamie, under the leadership of multi-award winning director Sheri Thrower, has featured talented youth from throughout the North Georgia and Tennessee since 2009. The group has opened for numerous stars and appeared from Radio City Music Hall, Hard Rock Cafe to T.D. Jakes' Mega Fest. http://www.Singakadamie.com/
08) Wash Day – Landon Wall (3:59)
Songwriters: Landon and Ken Wall Publisher and PRO: Landon and Ken Wall/SESAC
Musicians: Landon Wall: Acoustic and Electric Guitar Mitch Snow: Steel Guitar and Drums
Producer/Engineer: Mitch Snow
Landon Wall, 15, is a Nashville recording artist from Trinity, N.C. He is home schooled. He is a member of the Country Music Association and a SESAC songwriter. Billboard Magazine, Taste Of Country, Sirius XM, Rolling Stone Country, IHeart Radio, and Radio Country Disney have all featured focuses on Landon and his music.
"A little while back...My mom got a new washing machine. I made a post on my Facebook page that I had..."Never seen someone get so excited about a dang washing machine..Lol".. After reading the comments...I had a talk with my dad....and I figured out why it meant so much to her...We sat down and wrote..."Wash Day." I'm honored and grateful for the opportunity to share it with you...."Landon Wall
Bluegrass Programmers may also enjoy "Farther Along" and "I Want to Be Ready" under Gospel.
09) Old Spinning Wheel – Landon Fitzpatrick (3:22) Instrumental
Songwriter: Billy Hill Publisher and PRO: Shapiro Bernstein and Co. Inc./BMI
Musicians: Landon Fitzpatrick: Banjo Randall Franks: Fiddle Phillip Cross: Guitar and Mandolin Isaac Moore: Bass
Landon Fitzpatrick, 21, of Chickamauga, Ga. is a graduate of Gordon Lee High School. He began playing banjo at 11 years old and is a recipient of the Atlanta Society of Entertainers Horizon Award. He currently appears with Larry Efaw & the Bluegrass Mountaineers and also appeared with the Lonesome Mountain Boys, Double Cross Bluegrass Band, and Fox Mountain Express and currently with Ralph Stanley II.
10) Time for the Blues – King Springs Road (3:08)
Songwriter: Tyler Griffith Publisher and PRO: Tyler Griffith
Musicians: Tyler Griffith:Guitar, Bass and Vocals; Owen Schinkel: Dobro Kylie Anderson: Mandolin and Vocals Josh Meade: Banjo Max Silverstein: Fiddle and Vocals
Engineer: Ben Bateson Mastering Engineer: Dan Boner
(East Tennessee State University Recording Lab)
Kings Springs Road features Share America Scholar Owen Schinkel who plays Dobro. He is from the Netherlands in Meppen. He began playing at 16 and came to study in the U.S. at East Tennessee State University in 2017. The other members of King Springs Road are Tyler Griffith, Kylie Anderson, Josh Meade, and Max Silverstein. They are from throughout the U.S. and study at East Tennessee State University in the Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program.
11) Traveler’s Lantern – Wally O’Donald (2:10)
Songwriter: Dwight David Yoakam Publisher and PRO: Figs D Music/BMI
Wally O'Donald: Lead Vocal and Guitar Randall Franks: Dulcimer and Fiddle Warren Carnes: Acoustic Guitar Phillip Cross: Mandolin Colton Brown: Harmonica Drew Sherrill: Acoustic Bass
Wally O'Donald, 11, selected this Dwight Yoakum song for the project. He attends Ringgold Middle School and he lives in Ringgold, Ga. He has played guitar and sang since the age of four. He has performed as a regular at the Ringgold Opry for six years and the 1890s Day Jamboree and has competed at the Great Southern Old Time Fiddler's Convention in the Song category every year since he was five.
12) Midnight Train – Phillip Cross (1:42)
Songwriters: Randall Franks and Cotton Carrier Publisher and PRO: Peach Picked Publishing/BMI
Musicians: Phillip Cross: Lead Vocal, Guitar and Mandolin Randall Franks: Fiddle Isaac Moore: Acoustic Bass and Background Vocals Trevor Holder: Banjo Tim Witt: Dobro
Phillip Cross, 21, attended Chattanooga State and is a graduate from Central High School in Harrison, Tenn. He performs with his father Dale in the Double Cross Bluegrass Band. He received the 2017 Horizon Award from the Atlanta Society of Entertainers.
"A piece of advice Randall Franks gave me was 'Record as much as you can while you’re young.' What better way than an album full of great young musicians all from the shadows of the Smokies? I’m proud to be an Appalachian American and proud to be on this album."Phillip Cross
"Trains have been a thematic vehicle for folk songs since their introduction into the world. The lonesome sound of the whistle evokes emotions of sorrow especially to those who saw trains as the primary medium of taking loved ones away from you. My childhood mentor Georgia Music Hall of Fame member Cotton Carrier penned the verses of this song in the 1954 leaving it unfinished. When I found the words, they drew me in, and I was inspired to write the chorus and a melody, that I hope would have been perfect for a performance by the legends of bluegrass."Randall Franks
13) Filling the River with Tears - Randall Franks with Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band (3:48)
Songwriter: Randall Franks Publishing and PRO: Peach Picked Publishing/BMI)
Musicians: Randall Franks: Lead Vocals and Fiddle Cody Harvey: Banjo Tyler Martelli: Mandolin Chris Brown: Guitar Eli Beard: Bass
Randall Franks performs his bluegrass lament over love lost "Filling the River with Tears" popularized by David Davis and the Warrior River Boys live for the audience of WSM's Allnighter with Marcia Campbell. He is supported by Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band. A youth band originally formed at Signal Mountain High School in Signal Mountain, Tenn. and through its history included four Share America Scholars including banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and bass.
Gospel Programmers may also enjoy "What About These American Flags?" and "The Star Spangled Banner" under Americana and "Traveler’s Lantern" under Bluegrass.
14) Someone Greater Than I – Ryan Stinson (3:28)
Songwriters: Cotton Carrier, Ronnie Johnson, Randall Franks and Ryan Stinson Publisher and PRO: Peach Picked Publishing/BMI
Musicians: Ryan Stinson: Lead Vocal and Piano Randall Franks: Fiddle Warren Carnes: Acoustic Guitar Colton Brown: Drums Jeff Hullender: Acoustic Bass and Background Vocals Tim Witt: Steel Guitar
Ryan Stinson performs an original Southern gospel song "Someone Greater Than I" with a classic feel. Gospel Music Hall of Famer Jeff Hullender (Gold City Quartet) joins him for the classic harmonies on the song. Stinson is a Share America Scholar and he graduated from Luther Rice University with a degree in Religion/Ministry and he lives in Ringgold. He has played piano since the age of 10 and began singing about three years ago. His talents have allowed him to perform on WSM and theaters around the south including special appearances at the Texas Troubadour Theater in Nashville, the Tribute Theater, Country Tonite Theater, and Smoky Mountain Opry Theater in Pigeon Forge, Graceland in Memphis, festivals, concerts and churches.
"'Someone Greater Than I' is a gospel song with a very simple message. It brings attention to all of the small details of God's creation, serving as a reminder of the supernatural nature of the world and the One who created it."Ryan Stinson
"This is a song I have wanted to find the right performer to sing for years. I have always loved the lyrics and bringing in Ryan to add to the melody gave it just the right feel that I think listeners will connect with."Randall Franks
"It has been a joy to work alongside Randall on this project. I have a couple of original tunes on the CD that I'm really excited about, and I think everyone will enjoy the variety of songs contributed by all of the artists on the album."Ryan Stinson
15) I Believe He Spoke to Me – Nicholas Hickman (3:55)
Songwriters: Cotton Carrier and Randall Franks Publishing and PRO: Peach Picked Publishing/BMI
Nicholas Hickman: Lead Vocal Caleb Lewis: Acoustic Guitar Colton Brown: Piano Isaac Moore: Acoustic Bass Randall Franks: Guitar Phillip Cross: Mandolin Tim Witt: Steel Guitar SingAkadamie directed by Sheri Thrower including Jacob Trotter, Grant Lewellen, Lilly York, Haleigh Grey, Kayla Starks, Chelsea Brewster, and Logan Lynne: Background Vocals
Nicholas Hickman, 18, is a Share America Scholar who is a graduate of Ringgold High School in Ringgold, Ga. He attends Dalton State College studying communications. He has performed with the ensemble SingAkadamie since age 12 and appeared in numerous musical stage productions.
"When WSB Barndance star Cotton Carrier originally wrote the lyrics to this song in 1954, he envisioned it for then pop gospel entertainer Martha Carson. With my new melody and some refreshed lyrics, I think Nicholas Hickman and the kids of SingAkadamie with director Sheri Thrower give it an amazing sound that Cotton would love."Randall Franks
16) When We All Get to Heaven & Blessed Assurance – Colton Brown (2:34) Instrumental
Songwriters/Arrangers: Colton Brown and Randall Franks Publisher and PRO: Peach Picked Publishing/BMI
Colton Brown: Piano, Drums and Harmonica Randall Franks: Fiddle Phillip Cross: Acoustic Guitar and Mandolin Landon Fitzpatrick: Banjo Isaac Moore: Acoustic Bass Tim Witt: Steel Guitar
Colton Brown, 16, plays piano, harmonica and drums on two of his favorite classic hymns. He is from Chickamauga, Ga. and is a 10th grader at Oakwood Christian Academy. He began performing at the age of six. He has performed with District Honor Band for three consecutive years,UGA's Midfest for two years, and JanFest for one year where he was chosen for the Honor Band. He won first place in Georgia Association Christian School Fine Arts competition and third place at the national level in the American Association Christian Schools.
"The gospel songs I chose to play were inspired by my life in church. I love the tempo change in the 2 songs. I learned valuable lessons from my time in the recording studio and enjoyed getting to know other artists. Mr. Franks goes above and beyond to help young people interested in music."Colton Brown
17) Farther Along – Isaac Moore (3:55)
Songwriter/Arrangers: Isaac Moore and Randall Franks Publisher and PRO: Peach Picked Publishing/BMI
Musicians: Isaac Moore: All Vocals, Bass and Guitar Randall Franks: Fiddle Phillip Cross: Guitar
Isaac Moore, 17, sings lead, tenor, baritone and bass on this gospel standard. He is a junior at Adairsville High School in Adairsville, Ga. who plays bass, guitar and piano. He won his high school talent show and aspires to perform Southern gospel or bluegrass music professionally.
About his choice of song, Isaac Moore said: “It’s impossible to understand God’s reasoning for the circumstances we face in this life, but as the scriptures tell us; His ways are higher than ours, and one day when we become as he is in Heaven, we will understand it all. Every trial, burden, and temptation will be understood.”
18) I Want to Be Ready – Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band (4:05) Traditional
Musicians: Eli Beard: Bass and Lead Vocal Cody Harvey: Banjo Colin Mabry: Guitar Wil Markham: Fiddle Tyler Martelli: Mandolin
Engineer: Steve Mabry (Steve Mabry Studios)
Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band originally formed at Signal Mountain High School in Signal Mountain, Tenn. and through its history included four Share America
Scholars including banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and bass. The band included on this recording includes Scholars Cody Harvey, Wil Markham, and Tyler Martelli joined by Colin Mabry and Eli Beard.
Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia CD Credits
Producer: Randall Franks Associate Producer: Ryan Stinson Studio and Mastering Engineers: Tim L. Witt, Witt Studios, Rocky Face, Ga., and Bradley Powell, Ringgold, Ga. Associate Engineers: Randall Franks and Ryan Stinson Cover Design: Randall Franks; Original Art: Tommy Scott's "The Mountain" Photos: Randall Franks/Share America Foundation, Inc.
The music featured on this project is distributed to radio stations thanks to a Round Up Grant from the North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Ringgold and the Wes and Shirley Smith Charitable Endowment.
Monies raised from the CD benefit the Share America Foundation, Inc. and its Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship. The project is distributed by Crimson Records.
Special thanks to Robert and Lynda Weingartz of AirPlayDirect.com and Mark Hodges and Missy Delgado of Mountain Fever Records (http://www.mountainfever.com).
About Share America Foundation, Inc.
The Share America Foundation, Inc., a 501-C-3 of Georgia, which fosters the arts and preserves the history of Appalachia while presenting the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship annually to youth who continue traditional music styles of Appalachia. The organization hosts special events and creates projects that perpetuate the Appalachian experience.
It operates with a five-member volunteer board, currently including Chairman Gary Knowles, Vice Chairman Jimmy Terrell, Secretary James Pelt, President Randall Franks, and Vice President Jerry Robinson, and a task force of volunteers.
The organization has assisted 28 college scholars thus far and numerous other youth in aspiring towards their musical goals through entertainer mentors, live performances, and creating opportunities for learning and success.
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