These Walls Are Alive, the song, was inspired by our visit to the Caldwell Heritage Museum, in Lenoir, North Carolina, where, with the help of Cindy Day Hedrick, the museum’s director, we found photos, artifacts and documents referring to my ancestors.
These Walls Are Alive was recorded remotely from tracks made by the musicians in their homes in Charlotte and Lenoir, North Carolina, and New York City and Slate Hill, New York.
Lyrics by Ellen Kaye | Music by Ethan Fein
Vocals – Ellen Kaye
Guitar, banjo, vocals – Ethan Fein
Bass – Anna Stadlman
Mandolin – Pat Crouch
Guitar and vocals – Kay Crouch
Mixed by Bill Moss
Produced by Ellen Kaye, Alan Joseph, and Ethan Fein
Kay Crouch and Patrick Crouch: Kay and Patrick Crouch are based in Lenoir, North Carolina. They are dedicated to performing an eclectic variety of musical styles in an acoustic setting. They play regularly as Strictly Clean and Decent, the band which Patrick founded in 1989. They are busy in their recording/teaching establishment in Lenoir, Ticknock Studio.
Kay Crouch performs on the guitar, flute, piano, and tin whistle. Kay has a widely varied musical background that includes symphonic and solo percussion work and musical theater as well as country and bluegrass music. Her solid rhythm playing and interpretive vocals are an integral part of the duo.
Patrick Crouch handles the mandolin, banjo, dobro, fiddle, and guitar. Patrick has been performing acoustic music since 1977 when he founded New River Reign, a staple at Blowing Rock’s P.B. Scott’s Music Hall. He turned to country music with the Long Time Gone band. Strictly Clean and Decent
Anna Stadlman, bass; reviewed as “lovely and wonderfully talented” (vocalstandards.com), Anna has appeared on stage with artists such Glen Campbell (Farewell Tour), Andy Williams (Branson, MO), Robert Davi (“Davi Sings Sinatra”), Eric Marienthal, Bobby Vinton, Les Brown Jr., Deana Martin, Mickey Gilley, Bill Medley and has played bass on stage for an episode of Fox TV’s “Glee.” In addition, she has played in orchestras for a multitude of musicals and orchestral performances.
Anna has played in venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Ahmanson Theater, Carnegie Hall, the Orpheum Theatre, the Boston Opera House and in virtually every jazz club in L.A. including Catalina Jazz Grill, Vitellos, Vibrato, Steamers, Lighthouse and Typhoon.
Currently Anna resides in Charlotte, NC. You can find her playing with the Charlotte Symphony and Opera, and other venues as a freelance bassist.
About These Walls Are Alive
Ellen: “Our song These Walls Are Alive sprung from our trip down to Lenoir, North Carolina where my mother’s people come from. My cousin Robey Hartley brought us to the Caldwell Heritage Museum and introduced us to Cindy Hedrick Day, the museum’s director. Cindy took us through the museum and showed me my ancestors on the walls. It stayed in my head. I lost my father when I was seven. I think of him every day and hear him in my thoughts. We’ve all lost people we love throughout our lives and now with Covid-19 we’re losing them at a rapid rate. The people we love are with us always. And if we work at it, so is their wisdom.Old Bones Odyssey is our storytelling project with original music that is taking us back into American history, searching for clues to who we are as a people and a country.
Ethan: “Although museums exhibit things from the past, we found when we went to the Caldwell Heritage Museum that it brought the story of Ellen’s ancestry to life.My family has only been in the United States for two generations. My grandparents were not born here. My parents were. It is nearly impossible to find real evidence of my family’s lives in Poland, Ukraine, and Paris. When we went down to Lenoir, North Carolina, and the Caldwell Heritage Museum, it was fascinating to me that there were artifacts of Ellen’s ancestors there. Who knew? Poking around in the backroom library, I found a whole hard bound book on the Tuttles, who were Ellen’s ancestors.”
Alan: After hearing so much about Ellen’s past in Lenoir, NC, the trip down south with our pug was interesting and exhilarating. Driving down Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway, along the same path that Ellen’s ancestor helped developed, was a scenic and moving experience. Arriving in Lenoir and experiencing the rural city feel brought the history of the area alive. “These Walls” beckons us to hear the history of those that came before us, learning from our ancestors (from their mistakes as well as their triumphs). The song (and tune) has the feel of rural America, with the energy and promise of a better tomorrow.
About The Recording:
Ellen: Cindy Hedrick Day suggested we reach out to Kay and Patrick Crouch who are both North Carolinian musicians. We asked them to play this song with us and they did! And Ethan found Anna Stadlman. We asked Anna to play on this tune and were thrilled when she said yes.When Ethan called around, Anna Stadlman was one of the most highly recommended bass players in North Carolina.
Ethan: Patrick and Kay have a home studio, and a lot of experience in recording, so it was a no-brainer to have them record their tracks down there. I had written a part which could have been played on mandolin, violin, or clarinet. Patrick plays violin and mandolin, and thought the mandolin a better fit, so he played that. Kay played a second guitar part and sang a harmony part. Anna, whom we had been hoping to collaborate with when we were going down to North Carolina before the pandemic hit, volunteered to record her bass part for us and send it up. I was new to the remote recording routine, but learned enough to put the pieces together. Mixing was not only beyond my own skill set, but since I have had a long relationship with Bill Moss, who used to be at Nola Recording Studio in New York, the obvious thing was to send the separate tracks to Bill for the mix.