A year of music | TheUnion.com

A year of music

Singer-songwriter Chris Crockett didn’t get much sleep last year.

Between presenting a different original song daily from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 on the Web, appearing three months in Off Broadstreet Theatre’s “Put Another Nickel In,” and working a full-time job at Savelly’s Office Services in Nevada City, Crockett didn’t have one good night’s sleep.

It took him from eight to 16 hours each day to complete an intricate process before the songs appeared on the Web.

He taped the guitar accompaniment, vocals and harmonies before mixing the components for each song. Then Crockett burned the song onto a CD to be converted to another format for the Web page. Often, the songs’ lyrics had to be completed the same day.

Each song appeared on the Web page for 24 hours. Every two weeks, the last 14 originals heard online were made into a CD. The project yielded 26 CDs.

“The most time I spent was in my studio recording all the parts and harmony,” Crockett said Friday between answering phone calls at Savelly’s. “I recorded 97 percent of the songs by myself in the studio, which was a solitary and brutal job.”

Looking back, though, Crockett is extremely proud of his hard work.

“It was worth it. It personally helped me see what it was like to press myself to my extreme limits,” Crockett said. “I literally had every minute of my time committed to the year. It was really weird, but it helped me grow. I feel extraordinary that I’ve produced a song a day for a year.”

Crockett’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Through the project, he’s sold a few hundred CDs, has ongoing requests for newsletters about himself (the majority from e-mailers in Denmark and Australia), received correspondence from five long-lost relatives (a reunion is planned for the spring), and has four country singers interested in recording some of his Web page songs.

Sacramento’s KCRA-TV featured Crockett’s CD project in late February then other NBC affiliates, especially stations in Texas, aired the story and featured Crockett’s Web site address on their own Internet sites.

Dave Blackledge of Bloomsburg, Pa., who develops musical Web sites, featured Crockett’s project in December on a site.

“When I saw Chris Crockett’s Song A Day project on the Web, I thought, wow … either this guy is totally bananas or is the most prolific and dedicated songwriter I ever heard of,” said Blackledge Friday.

He was amazed at Crockett’s vast repertoire. “He’s an excellent storyteller, which I strive to be in my songs,” Blackledge said. “I very much look forward to a collaboration of songs with Chris. … We’ve discussed writing some songs together over the Internet and mail.”

Crockett, 58, has written songs since he was 13. He envisioned the CD project when his daughter Michelle said she and her sister Emily wanted to have a collection of his originals.

“It’s my legacy, my Mount Rushmore,” Crockett joked. “I’m exhausted, but I felt this absolute compulsion to create this legacy.”

The musician is rerunning the entire project every day of 2002 for fans who missed the site or for those who discovered it in mid-year.

Crockett is back in his studio, tweaking some songs before they return to the Web site, and producing copies of the 26 CDs.

In addition, he is performing along with area musicians Paul Emery and Peter Wilson on the Reno Fun Train this weekend and every Friday to Sunday in February and March.

As if his music calendar isn’t full enough, Crockett plans to launch an Internet radio station within four weeks. Web page viewers will be able to hear 45 years’ worth of Crockett’s originals anytime.

“I think I have something to say. I’ve got rock, country, folk, Americana, children’s, jazz, blues and pop songs,” he said.

“All Chris Crockett, 24 hours a day until you puke,” he added, minutes before leaving for his train-singing job.

— Crockett can also be seen live with his band, The Velveeta Underground ,on Friday and Jan. 26 at Main Street Bar and Cafe in Grass Valley.

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