Compilation CD will help aid the struggling music scene in downtown Keene
Two years ago, Tim Gagnon, the general manager of WKNH, started to compose a CD that would feature the local talent of Keene, N.H.
Originally, the CD which is titled Give Something to The Starving Artist, was created in order to make a profit that would ultimately help purchase needed radio equipment. But two years later, a greater cause presented itself.
When The Starving Artist closed its doors during this past June to become a pop-up venue, Gagnon found a reason to finish the compilation CD. During the spring 2012 and fall 2012 semesters, Gagnon began to push for the compilation CD to be finished. Now, the CD which released on Nov. 13, 2012, features 22 local musicians and sells for four dollars. The proceeds of this CD, which is sold digitally via the website wknh.bandcamp.com, will all be donated to The Starving Artist to help fund the booking of shows at local venues, Gagnon said. This compilation CD will ultimately help The Starving Artist in their feature endeavors as a “wall-less collective,” where they will book art classes and shows in local halls and venues such as the Summer Knight Chapel and Heberton Hall, according to Gagnon. “We hope to see that they will book shows in the area. They brought in really good musicians regardless of popularity,” Gagnon said.
This CD will help showcase musicians based on the talent they possess, rather than their popularity among the Keene community. However, this compilation CD will not only feature local talent–Gagnon said that bands such as The Civil Wars and Say Anything have also released acoustic tracks that will appear on the CD. Gagnon said that he took a chance emailing the manager of The Civil Wars to see if they wanted to help the cause. “They emailed me back and said this was a great cause and that they were willing to help,” Gagnon said.
But when contacting more mainstream artists, Gagnon sought out to recruit one of his favorite artists–Max Bemis of the band Say Anything.
“They’re one of the most approachable bands, which is the most surprising part,” Gagnon said, “We don’t care how big they are, we just want bands who are into local music.” For John Remmetter, vocalist and guitarist for local band TheColorOrange, he couldn’t imagine being featured on a CD with Bemis, one of his favorite artists.
“The fact that he [Bemis] has a chance to see what else is on it is awesome. You can’t even put it into words,” Remmetter said. For this CD, Remmetter said that his band recorded a song that none of their fans have heard yet. “We had practiced it once and then we recorded it,” Remmetter said of his song “Eyes to Hide Behind.” “Eyes to Hide Behind” was one of the first songs that Remmetter wrote when he came to Keene, he said. And the compilation CD was a reason for Remmetter to finish the song. Like the other songs on the track, “Eyes to Hide Behind,” is recorded acoustically on the album. Gagnon said that this was done to unify all of the tracks on the CD. “Bands that wouldn’t fit together normally fit together under the acoustic context,” Gagnon said. Gagnon explained that most bands don’t release acoustic versions of their music, which makes this album that much more unique.
Gagnon said that the bands featured on this limited edition CD vary in their respective genres–from pop, funk, alternative and punk songs–each are all unified under the acoustic sound. Gagnon said that his biggest hope if for The Starving Artist to continue to put on shows. “Really for them [The Starving Artist] to keep promoting shows, it really brought character to Keene,” Gagnon said.
The compilation CD released on Nov. 13 showcases the talented music scene that Keene possesses, Gagnon said. And what this compilation CD showcases is the need for a place for local artists to perform. “Really what the bands on this compilation care about is getting a really good venue. If we do this compilation again, I want to build on the fact that local music is rad,” Gagnon said. Along with TheColorOrange, the compilation CD also features local artists, Jake McKelvie and The Countertops, The 123’s and The Wendigos.
But all of these local musicians are doing more than just being featured on a CD–they are helping the music scene in Keene stay alive.
Sam Norton can be contacted at