Being a proud Fort Worthian and also something of a hipster-doofus, I would argue that for a good look –– or listen –– at the kind of music Fort Worth is putting out now, you have a few options, a few more than we’ve ever had, actually. Our annual Music Awards compilation CD is one. Whatever Peter Wierenga is working on is another.
Most recently, it’s been a spellbinding compilation CD to benefit local musos in need. Monies from the sale of Mixing Fort Worth will go toward the fund started by Fort Worth singer-songwriter Rachel Gollay and now managed by Hear Fort Worth, an offshoot of the Fort Worth visitors’ bureau (Visit Fort Worth). Wierenga said he simply “wanted to help.” His idea: Assemble a batch of progressive local musicians, spend a day or so tracking them, livestream pretty much every minute of every session, and put out a quality listening product. Ronnie Heart, Vogue Machine, Austin Kroll, Squanto, Summer Job, Ian Jeffery, The Nova Blak, and Wierenga’s band, Pete and the Crying Teeth, all contributed tracks. And they’re all fantastic. Most of them hew toward pop-structured, occasionally hip-swishing techno, with lots of sensuous melodies and crisp beats. The rest deny easy categorization but could be said to encompass both “rock” and “roll.”
Wierenga (Siberian Traps, Tornup, Sur Duda, Chillamundo) was wrapping up production on two records when lockdown started. “Everyone I know that is an audio engineer has had a hard time. I fully expected to be working at UPS right now.”
Believing that production work was going to dry up for him at any moment, he wanted to stay busy but busy with “people I either really enjoyed working with in the past or have always wanted to,” he said, “and the tips I got during the mixes would help keep me afloat.”
Wierenga went about the business of scheduling and, eventually, tracking the artists, livestreaming nearly every strum, every pound, every knob twiddle via social media. Every day in the studio took about six hours, not counting the time for breaks in between performances when Wierenga would consult with the artists. Sam Culp mastered the album. It was released today.
“It was a group effort,” Wierenga said, “and I’m proud of how it came together in the end.”
The end result kicks complete ass. I wish I could more eloquently express my enthusiasm, but for the sake of sparing you my poetry, I’m thinking a direct “Buy this CD now!” ought to suffice. Price is only $9.
“I thought of it because I wanted to figure out a way to make it through quarantine,” Wierenga said, “but I found it to be fun and loved working with everyone in the project.”
Wierenga said that if Mixing Fort Worth is received well, he’d “love” to create another comp. “I’d like to figure out more ways for artists to be able to have finished tracks that have the potential to do more than just make traction in our local scene, because while great talent is there, unfortunately, the pandemic has affected the financial abilities for all of us, especially in the arts.”
In many ways, Mixing Fort Worth makes me question exactly where I live. Back when I was covering local music daily in this town (so about five or six years ago), guitar-based rock, guitar-based country, and straightforward rap dominated. Mixing Fort Worth shows that “Cowtown” *gag* is just as cosmopolitan and musically progressive as any other “big city” on the planet. Buy this CD now. –– Anthony Mariani
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