An eclectic collaboration of tunes from artists who have been involved with or influenced by the work of Louisiana musician and songwriter Kelly Keeling, brought two Lincoln County men together recently, resulting in an album and the formation of their own Christian band.
Park Sipes and Marty Paris were among the various voices of the album, “Tune in to Mind Radio,” released by Surgeland Records late in November. Formerly in a band with Keeling, self-titled after both members “Paris Keeling,” Paris decided to accept CD Executive Producer Sandy Serge’s proposal to be a part of the six-song tribute to his former band mate.
Prior to the release of the album, both men were playing music for their religious organizations, while Sipes also worked with his classic rock tribute band, Sunset Strip.
Both artists have been performing most of their lives, from singing in their local choirs to garage and more popular bands. Now, Paris and Sipes are embarking on a journey to put together a new group — Barbarian Way — that incorporates both their musical styles and history.
Sipes describes himself as a hard rock and blues enthusiast, that also dabbles in classic rock and is “inspired by anyone with talent,” while Paris tends to follow the same musical avenues as well.
Thinking back to performing in the 1970s, the more seasoned of the two, Paris, doesn’t notice many differences between then and now; his equipment hasn’t changed much, nor has his love of music. The biggest difference hes noticed is the time; he saw the birth of rock ‘n roll, he said.
After reviewing a list of Keeling’s works, each artist involved with the project selected a song they wanted to work on and were given free reign with how to best execute a rendition. The results ranged from alternative and classic rock melodies, to “new world” and instrumentals — giving an across the board view of the different messages conveyed in each song.
“This is a great album for the world of single-song downloaders; it’s so diverse,” Sipes told the Times-News last week. “It’s great for shuffle maniacs who may not like every song on the album, but have some they want to hear.”
Sipes — a Lincolnton native — worked directly on two songs on the album, both with Paris — his 26-year elder. The duo collaborated on “Free” and “Rising of the Snake,” as they tried to stay true to Keeling’s original intentions and meaning, while mixing things up with the execution. Though Sipes has never met Keeling, he felt he had a good grasp of what the artist was trying to convey and strove to make it his own while keeping the song’s creator in mind.
Paris, who currently resides locally, has been in the area for years, but has done some traveling with his music prior to returning to Lincolnton, or what he refers to as “the quiet side of Charlotte,” he laughed.
Paris was the original producer of Free, so it seemed right for him to work on it the second go-around, he said, this time changing the song to a more relaxed version of the original — something he feels made it more relatable for listeners.
Describing his former musical partner as a great songwriter and musician, Paris stayed focused on the “message-driven” lyrics and “real” feeling that went behind Keeling’s works. Something on the CD for everyone, the area artists were unable to classify the six songs into one genre and instead made up their own category to best describe the diverse range of tracks — modern music or a universal genre.
Keeling has toured with acts such as Trans-Siberian Orchestra and served as a backup vocalist on tracks of Alice Cooper’s album, “Hey Stoopid,” along with his work with an array of other artists and performers.
Other musicians involved with the CD include Greg “Cos” Cerenzia, Steve Goatley, Dominic Gaudious, Dallas Holder and Carmine Appice, among others. Downloads of Tune In To Mind Radio are available online at www.amazon.com and on iTunes, or for full copies, visit www.kellykeeling.net or www.cdbaby.com.