WUTK station manager Benny Smith conceived his radio station's ReDistilled local music compilation CD as a means of promoting local music while celebrating the station's 25 years (now 26) on the air—not to mention raising a little extra money for a station perennially strapped for cash. He knew it had purchase when, two weeks later, one of the city's best-known rock singers approached him with the same idea.
"I got a call from former Judybats singer Jeff Heiskell, and he asks ‘Why don't you see if you can put together a CD where bands from today cover bands from yesteryear?'" Smith says. "I started to think then that maybe the idea has legs."
A year in the making, ReDistilled features 17 local artists from today covering songs from 17 artists from years past. There's some overlap in the form of artists who appear as performers, yet who also have songs covered by other artists in the disc, including long-running singer-songwriter R.B. Morris, the recently reunited Superdrag, former Mississippian Tim Lee, and the Immortal Chorus.
Other participating artists include the Tenderhooks, Scott Miller, Angel and the Lovemongers, John T. Baker, Mic Harrison and the High Score, the Rockwells, Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, Nug Jug, Stewart Pack, the Westside Daredevils, 1220, Senryu, and Heiskell (Jeff Heiskell, now with his own band). Other covered artists include Balboa, the Taoist Cowboys, the 1-900s, the V-Roys, Sea 7 States, Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes, Roger Smith, the Judybats, Quartjar, the Paper Faces, Dim Kitchen, the Faults, Teenage Love, and 30 Amp Fuse.
"The bands were so stoked about it; it gave them a chance to play a song by someone that maybe they snuck in to see at [former Market Square venue] the Mercury Theatre when they were 17," Smith says. "They really poured themselves into it, and you can hear it in the finished tracks.
"My favorite changes every week. Right off the bat it was the Tenderhooks covering Balboa's ‘104.' Then it was the Rockwells doing the Judybats ‘Is Anything?' Then it was Todd Steed doing Quartjar's ‘Crosstown Waltz.' Right now, the track I can't get out of my head is Jeff Heiskell doing Tim Lee's ‘Dead Guy Story.'"
Released April 15—"Because hopefully, we're everybody's favorite tax write-off," says Smith—ReDistilled is available at the Disc Exchange, Cat's Music, McKay used books, Pluto Sports, Rik's Music, and at WUTK's Sundown in the City tent.