The Songwriter's Solstice: "A Celebration of South Florida Songwriters" was recorded before a live audience at the Rinker Playhouse, The Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL, June 21, 1998. Presenting 13 songs from this diverse group of south Florida's top original artists, the cd is the first project of Solstice Records & Productions, Box 2152, Delray Beach, FL 33447.
For better or worse, the 1990s made the compilation CD unto an ultra-commercial art form. So it's not surprising that there's finally a compilation CD for Palm Beach County. Songwriters' Solstice is well-recorded, well-produced,
Songwriters' Solstice was recorded live last June at the Kravis Center Rinker Playhouse during a concert to benefit the Connor Moran Childen's Cancer Foundation in West Palm Beach. The CD sounds like the show (I know, I was there). South Florida singer/songwriter/guitarist Rod MacDonald was instrumental in setting up the event, and his Neil Young-like "Days of Rain" is one of the solo-performer highlights. Others include Marie Nofsinger's tongue-in-cheek "I Am Blue," Amy Carol Webb's soaring ballad "With You Without You," and James London's "The Road Not Taken."
Area duos and trios are also well-represented. Mad Dogs & Irishmen's "Hustle & Bustle" is traditional rich Irish poetry; Ron & Bari's "The Lion's Den" is a biographical tale of the very different neighborhood that used to inhabit the Kravis Center site; and Legacy's "At Last" wraps expert vocal harmony, guitar, and mandolin playing into the disc's most upbeat tune.
Two full bands are in effect here: Boxelder shows its unplugged side with the shuffling "Lately," and Human Beings provide the Solstice centerpiece with their serpentining eight-minute epic "Stairwell From Heaven." Jim Collier & friends offer an audio snapshot of the crowded cover photo with the gospel-tinged finale, "You Are The One."
Kudos to recording engineers Marty Gauthier, Duane Engstrom, and the Kravis' own John Wurm. Ditto for the production by Gauthier, Engstrom and MacDonald.