Rob Duguay on "Walks of Life Collaborations"
The power of music is best exemplified when it brings people together.
People of different ethnicities, financial status, upbringings and backgrounds can all gravitate toward a song that speaks to them. It’s an example of how art can unite people regardless of where they come from.
Meeting every Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. at Artists’ Exchange in Cranston, The Same Thing Project harnesses the power of music through workshop available to everyone. On April 8, the project released an album called the “Walks of Life Collaborations” as a physical embodiment of its mission.
“The Same Thing Project started as an idea for a community residency program,” said Mark Cutler, the project’s director and member of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. “I had an idea for a songwriting program where people from all different parts of the community collaborate equally in creating a song. I wanted the banker and the bricklayer to work together. It grew into a program to include artists, young and old folks, people with developmental disabilities, blue and white collar, left and right people. No musical knowledge is necessary.”
He added, “My job is to wrangle the ideas and put them into a cohesive package. The album reflects everyone’s input. My goal was to create a body of work and produce a tangible result. I’m proud of the work we’ve done.”
Cutler and his wife, Kelly, perform on the album, along with local musicians such as Bill Keough, Emerson Torrey, Joe Potenza and Amy Ethier. Even former Providence Journal columnist Bob Kerr is involved in the album.
Tracks include “Common Ground,” a rocker that searches for the relative meanings and views everyone shares. With a piano making its presence felt, “Dream” has a communal vibe with various people singing in harmony. There’s a folk tone within “Home” while the song exclaims the feeling of warmth and solace in one’s surroundings.
“These songs are perfect the way they are, with all their humanity and imperfections,” reads a description on The Same Thing Project’s website.
The album was recorded at Artists’ Exchange and Revmok Studios. Those who contributed to writing the songs on the album are Victor Amaral, Edward Bellaire, Guy Benoit, Brian Camerlin, Gayle Carter, Paula Claire Ciminero, Joe Cournoyer, Kelly Cutler, Mark Cutler, Joan d’Arc, Mark Deland, Richard Donnelly, Michael Eddy, Amy Ethier, Pierre Fortin, Debra Elizabeth Going, John Grande, Matthew Grande, Maria Salamano Isaacson, Jessica Katherine, Marilyn Keller, Bill Keough, Bob Kerr, Mike Kroian, Anne Landis, Paul Langcowski, Debra Lilli, Michelle Mania, Doug McClellan, Mark McIntyre, Tanya Mcintyre, Ray Memery, Maegen Miller, Sophie Miller, Kellan Moran, Michael Moulton, Juditta Musette, Kyle O’Keefe, Kerry Anne Theresa O’Rourke, Daniel Parant, Claire Patterson, Chris Payne, Joe Potenza, Richard Reed, William Rega, Brian Ricci, Derek Rossi, Carleen Roberts Sauvegeau, Josh Schumann, Samantha Smalley, Eric Smith, William Smyth, Pam Steager, Howard Stone, Marika Stone, Jim Tieso, Emerson Torrey and Kelly Walsh.
The Same Thing Project will be putting on a release party for the album at POP, located at 219 West Park St. in Providence, on June 22.
The album can be heard on iTunes and Spotify. To purchase a copy or for more information visit thesamethingproject.com.
— ROB DUGUAY