Music

Nightcrawler: Howard Be Thy Name

Local musician attends Stern’s b’day bash; Ratite Studio owner Tony Jilson scores silver screen successes.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
photo courtesy of Tony Jilson
Tony Jilson in his studio

Considering the competition, it wasn’t difficult for Sean McDaniel’s posts to swiftly catch the Crawler’s cornea as he scrolled though his Facebook Newsfeed during one of the recent thrice-weekly storms.

Let’s see… there’s Bobby’s dog trying to pee in the snow. Joey’s kids buried in a snowbank. The Reilly family snowman with an ill-placed carrot.

And... David Grohl? Steven Tyler? Slash? What the... who the… what gives, Sean?

“That’s my wife and I at the Howard Stern birthday bash in New York,” the guitarist for local acoustic trio Slim Pickins explained. “We have been fans of the show for 20 years and were prepared to do anything short of sniffing Richard Christie’s shorts on-air to get there. But as it turns out, Sirius offered a handful of its customers a chance to win tickets. And thanks to the help of my decades of experience buying concert tickets online and refreshing webpages, we were one of the fortunate few!”

McDaniel went on to report that between his trips to the open bar, oyster bar and taco bar and seeing celebs like David Letterman, Louis C.K., Robert Downey, Jr. and Stern’s America’s Got Talent co-host Heidi Klum, a who’s-who of the music world turned in stellar performances that were far from the loose jams one might expect for a one-off party like this one.

While he was not surprised to see The Black Keys and veteran John Fogerty reliably rock-solid on stage, McDaniel admits that John Mayer wowed him with his “Like A Rolling Stone,” displaying a fretboard virtuosity he was unaware Mayer possessed. And although the sonic dream team of Steven Tyler, David Grohl and Slash garnered the loudest ovation for their take on the Aerosmith classics “Walk This Way” and “Dream On,” it was, quite to his surprise, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine who left the most lasting impression on McDaniel.

“I have to say, he absolutely killed on ‘Purple Rain,’” he says. “Not only was his voice perfectly suited to the tune, but to hear him nail the fire and intensity of that guitar solo was surprising, to say the least!”

For updates and streaming music samples from McDaniel’s Slim Pickins, including a patented “cow-folk” cover of the Talking Heads’ “Pyscho Killer,” kindly point your browser to reverbnation.com/slimpickinscowfolk.

In other news, former Ostrich Farm/St. Mix mastermind Tony Jilson checked in to report that he’s been scoring some small screen successes at his newly renovated Ratite Studios in Ashfield of late.

The first project, a documentary dubbed The Kim Loo Sisters, was recently awarded some $14,550 by the New York Council for the Arts in an effort to have it enjoy a full-fledged theatrical release.

“It’s about four sisters from Minnesota who were hailed as the ‘Chinese Andrews Sisters’ and performed all over in the ’30s and ‘40s, including [on] Broadway and alongside Frank Sinatra and Ann Miller,” he explains. “I got involved with the project through my association with Harry Keramidas, a semi-retired Hollywood film editor and fellow Ashfield resident whose credits include the Back To The Future movies. I’ve been at it about two years and have helped out in every capacity, from assistant editor and animator to motion graphics designer and all-around audio/music person.”

More recently, Jilson says, he has enlisted the services of a few local violin and cello players to resurrect and re-record some 5- to 8-minute pieces he originally created on the computer for a short film about his friend Cynthia Elbaum.

“Cynthia grew up right here in Ashfield and was a photographer covering events in Chechnya in 1994, when she was killed in a Russian air raid,” he says. “The music I created for the short film was very well received, so I decided to take it a step further this time.”

To monitor his progress on both efforts, or learn more about his studio and other services, hit up birdwaves.com.

Last but not least, Amy Fairchild’s new single may be called “Hold Me Down,” but as evidenced by her recent first-place finish in the 10th annual International Acoustic Music Awards (inacoustic.com), the former Valley girl continues to ascend. To view the video for said celebrated song, visit amyfairchild.com/music-video.•

Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email garycarra@aol.com.

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