BOSTON DOES BOSTON
a word from curator/organizer Jason Dunn
Back in the mid-90’s in my hometown of Burlington, VT, a local compilation of VT artists covering each other was dreamed up, compiled and titled “Burlington does Burlington” (Good Citizen Records). It was one of my favorite things ever. While mulling over a broken ankle in February 2013, I pondered the recreation of the idea in Boston – it would be a way to knit an often disparate music community more closely together and make an unapologetically big deal out of the talent in the area without competition, rivalry or falling under any corporate or business umbrella, just plain mutual appreciation and tons and tons of talent on display. Home recording had proliferated and improved to the point that it couldn’t be that costly to do it well, and to top it off, we could put out a CD and throw a few CD release parties – and give all the profits to The Animal Rescue League of Boston, where countless dogs, cats and other animals are given a second lease on life after being rescued from streets or abusive or negligent homes.
To my surprise and delight, the response was overwhelming. I approached about 30 bands and artists with the hopes of getting enough people on board to produce a CD of 12 or 13 tracks – and in the end I wound up with 26, requiring a double album. Equally fantastic was the enthusiasm – everyone loved the idea and the cause, and the theory that everyone on the comp would not only record a song by someone else on the comp, but would hear their own material recreated as well. When heavy-as-all-hell metal band Black Thai requested synth-pop legends Freezepop as their cover targets, I knew we had something special on our hands.
Of course, bands will be bands, and deadline after deadline went by before I got everyone’s tracks in (in full disclosure, my own band The Luxury turned in the last track after everything else was all set), but in the end it was more than worth it. No-one phoned it in, and everyone put their choice through the mill of their own signature sound. I could barely contain my giddiness as track after track trickled in over the summer and fall, tracks that sounded so good that they could easily have been included on the covering artist’s next release.
Along the way, more and more people signed on to support the project – some of Boston’s best recording studios took part, a top-shelf graphic artist stepped up to handle the CD artwork, and in a whopping display of support and generosity, New Alliance East offered the time and expertise to master the entire compilation. News outlets were more than receptive to the idea, contacting me through social media before the project was even presented to them. I could scarcely believe it.
But in the end, looking at it as objectively as possible, it’s not really that hard to believe. These are great bands. This is a great cause. And this is a great city, with a top notch art community too often overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Whether that last fact changes or not remains to be seen, but along the way it’s good to know that we can come together, give each other a solid musical high-five and produce a timepiece like this. And in the end, I’m just glad to have been a part of it. And I feel extremely lucky to be able to listen to it before all of you. Ha!
– Jason Dunn