by Kevin Burton
Alison Trelfa’s “Winter Warmer,” to be released in the UK Nov. 30, has one element no album has ever had.
Let me be clear up front, I won’t exactly be featured on the album, and there is still editing to be done. But I am pretty sure my voice as a backup singer will be heard on at least one of the tracks, maybe two.
This is my big debut. Yes it’s a small part, but it’s my first. No debut is small to the artist.
Trelfa is the Carpenters-influenced, blind singer/songwriter I wrote about in three posts in late August. She is from Middlesbrough, England. I first saw her on the Facebook page “blind musicians worldwide.” She posts a lot of covers there and most of them are from my 60s and 70s music comfort zone.
I have seen her play keyboard and ukulele and I think she plays other instruments as well.
She released the original set “Decades of Creation” in June. It is definitely worth a listen. You can find it on Spotify and many other platforms.
Winter Warmer is a collection of Christmas songs. Some of them she wrote, a few will come from the great treasury of Christmas music in the public domain.
I contributed bass parts for “Still, Still, Still,” which is an Austrian Christmas carol I had never heard of and “Perfect End,” A Trelfa original. She liked both and was very enthusiastic about the latter. That’s why I’m pretty sure at least that one will survive the editing process.
I’m included on the album as one of the Warbling Baubles, a loose collection of friends of Trelfa’s from school and elsewhere and now stray cats such as me.
The album will be sent off for mastering soon.
When Trelfa mentioned on Facebook that singers from around the world could contribute to her next project, I jumped at the chance.
For some this venture would have been a breeze but not for me. It wasn’t as easy as learning the parts, warming up and singing. My technological limitations made the process stressful, especially at the Sept. 30 deadline for submissions.
I needed a way to record into my PC. My wife Jeannette did some research and then told me about Windows Voice Recorder. I discovered I had this on my PC all along. I then had to find a way to get the tracks I made to my desktop so I could send them to Trelfa. After some false starts and some prayer, I stumbled upon the solution, which was easy enough once found.
To accomplish the interview for my August blogs and to make these tracks, I created new accounts in Zoom, Spotify and WhatsApp. So there may yet be hope for me joining the current tech century.
My two goals for the venture were to get on the record and to do well enough that I would be asked to take part in other projects later. I think the first is about to happen we will see about the second.
As for the future and recording my own music, Trelfa said the hardest part is making the mental leap from thinking of your music as something for family and a few friends to hear to regarding it as something for the masses to hear.
I have found that to be true.
I have feedback from a local producer concerning sixteen of my better original songs. As I ponder how to move forward, that question is front and center. Is this for me and my crew or for the world?
If I’m doing this as a musical selfie that’s one thing. If I am trying to craft something that a larger audience will listen to and even buy, that is another
Trying to sell music opens the product to scrutiny and threatens to smash it and rebuild it into shapes I may not like.
“Kill your darlings” is what writers say about the process of revision. Can I do that? Not sure. Stay tuned.
But singing backup on two tracks is a satisfying small step into the real world of music. I am pleased to be helping a blind artist, eager to see where it leads.