It was only four short months ago, May 2003, when Andrew Webster came up with the idea to release a compilation of music local to his hometown of Charlotte, NC. With a target release date this October, its impressive to see how quickly the project came together. Considering the fact that over a hundred local artists will be featured on this eight-disc monster, its almost unbelievable.
Webster, 25, is a Charlotte native who has made the local music scene his business. As a musician, hes played in Andrew Nick and Charlie, Jeronimo Punx, Abe & the Spikedrivers, and the Andrew Webster Band. However, his most important role in the community thus far has been hosting the local music show, Complex Radio. The show is broadcast by the Gaston College station, WSGE 91.7FM. Airing Monday nights from 10-12, Andrew showcases local talent of all genres, including live performances inside the studio.
The success of the radio show sparked the idea for the compilation. Webster originally began with about 70 bands that he wanted to include, and the list has since grown to 119. What started off as a five-disc set has expanded to eight discs. So how did he do it in such a short time? Obviously, the majority of the acts that Webster approached were excited to be a part of the project. He notes that there were three or four bands that were hesitant about it at first and one band that flat out declined. But despite a handful of detractors, no artist can dispute the positive exposure that will result from the compilations release.
Many of the included acts are unsigned. Others are signed to locals like Liquilab andMoRisen Records. Getting permission from these labels was no problem, as Webster knows all of the local label heads. When it came to national acts, he ran into a bit of trouble. The process of acquiring permission to use music from Justincase, who are signed to Madonnas Maverick Records, proved too complicated to be worthwhile. Instead, Andrew begrudgingly opted not to include major label acts.
Rather than focus on a particular genre, Webster sought out as many different musical styles as he could for inclusion in the project. But instead of producing a disjointed result, he has constructed the track listing like a master architect, making the running order of the songs complementary a skill he has perfected on his radio show. There are pockets of songs that seem to be on the same wavelength, but it is the overall flow of the eight discs that is consistently emphasized. I have listened to the majority of the tracks that are going to be included here, and the diversity and vast scope of available genres is inspiring. To know that all of this great music is being made right here in Charlotte is a humbling realization. To hear it all together in a way that makes sense is enlightening.
The artwork is still under construction, but obviously an eight disc compilation wont fit in your typical jewel case. To meet the special needs of his project, Andrew has decided to use a vinyl gatefold type package. The large size will also help secure retail advertising space. People wont have any trouble finding this beast in their local music store.
While the compilation is near completion, it is still too early to nail down a specific release date. Webster is hoping for October, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Once a date is confirmed, the CD release party at Tremont Music Hall will be organized. With 119 participating artists, 70% of which perform live in some capacity, finding musicians to play the event shouldnt be a problem. The only problem will be a 300 person guest list.
Webster is already planning a media assault once the compilation is finished, so you should be hearing much more about it in the very near future. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this enormous track listing, and patiently wait for the comps release:
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