One day while living in Portland, Oregon (2006),I got a package in the mail from my Aunt Linda. Inside was a huge stack of poems written by my great gramma Pearl Childers. After looking through them I couldn’t believe how perfect they were. I soon found out that my great gramma was a great writer. My life as a musician was about to change!!
This super special project would be titled “Out West for Rene”. Rene (pronounced Ree-nee) being Rene Frick, my gramma. I titled the album after a poem that was written about her (now the title track of the album). I soon learned that Pearl was very close to Rene and many of these poems were very special. Also, since Rene plays the piano and is a better musician than me or Dan we thought she deserved to be in the title. These songs became known as “Rene tunes” amongst my friends, even though they where Pearl songs.
At the time I was living with my best Friends Travis Ellison and Nick Vote. One day I was delivering mattresses with Nick in Washington. I brought my guitar with me and while he was driving I started singing one of her poems. “Rene cut her finger on on common table knife, I wonder why Jack married such a stupid clumbsy wife?” Nick sang in perfect harmony and it hit me that we could do an entire album dedicated to her writings. I soon arranged and recorded a few Gramma Pearlwith Nick: Whoa Blizzard, More Rations and Dust Storms. Nick’s recording of More Rations is AMAZING by the way! I looked to Travis for inspiration with arranging. He is a great writer and ok’d the project. I remember combining two of her poems in the basement (“out west for rene” and “concerning the weather”). I asked Travis if they worked together and he agreed they did.
When I told my brother Dan Frick about the project he joined in! Dan put together: Homesick, Wanderings, Sunday School and When you and I were young. What Dan was doing was amazing. My favorite of his is “when you and I were young”. I’ll post his songs below shortly. We both realized that Pearl was a better writer than both of us and we could feel her love. Oddly enough, her poems were all written with a surprising amount of syncopation, making them easy to arrange.
Nick decided to move back to Indianapolis and I to La Crosse Wisconsin (to live with my Dad for a while). At dad’s house I added piano, and slide guitar to the mix. I finished phase one of the Rene project there just in time for a christmas cd for the Frick family only.
Phase two of the Rene project was when I moved to Chicago to play with the Water Co. again. We recorded “The High Cost of Living”. Sounds really really good!
Phase three is the current phase with the band Coast I’m playing in. We are in the works of re-recording “Shiny Teeth”, which reminds me of a song off American Beauty. It’s full of harmonies and melodies. Coast also reworked “Worry Worry”, The High Cost of Living, and soon “Yes, we have no city water”.
Feel free to download any of these songs for FREE, It’s some of my best work and I would be honored to hear your feedback!!!
***On March 5th, 2011 the entire Out West for Rene crew started making a documentary of this amazing project. A band I played with called “Coast” performed these songs at a few shows. Keep you eyes out for a few Pearl Childers shows we will play for the documentary. Thanks to Lisa Rivard, Hossley Partington and Michael Partington for your help with this!!!!
AUG 4TH Out West for Rene will be performing at Frickstock in Hilsboro, Ohio. It’s a free show, probably in the early afternoon. Go to www.frickstock2013.com to see the line up an stop by and celebrate (getting married too….)
art work by LISA RIVARD