Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Tale of Two Sorta Members

Two years ago on this day, I came home from work, and as I do most days, the first thing I did was get on the internet and see what's going on with my friends and in the local music scene. I saw a bulletin post on MySpace from Fred Holston, titled "OMG! I can't believe this happened." My initial response was to ignore the post, figuring that it might have just been a phishing scam. Curiosity got the best of me, and I read Fred's post. I was totally unprepared for what the message said.

That was the way I learned about Carter Albrecht's death. I sat in front of the computer for probably close to half an hour, simply in shock over the news. Carter was not just one of the best musicians I ever had the privilege to see perform, but he was also an all-around good human being. I've had a hard time writing about both Carter's life and his death. Words cannot seem to do justice to Carter's legacy, whether it be on or off the stage. Even two years after his death, the loss is still felt both in the music community, and for me on a personal level.

My original intent was to simply write about Carter. That was before I received an email from Danny Balis. He had some rather surprising news to share today, but this time I can report the news with joy instead of sadness. Mr. Balis' debut solo album, Too Much Living, has earned a slot in the top 10 of Amazon's Hot New Country Releases. To see a musician of Mr. Balis' caliber receive such a level of attention on a national level does my heart good. I would even go as far as to say that it gives me hope for both the local and even the national music scene.

It seems fitting on so many levels that on today, the second anniversary of Carter's death, that this news should break. Danny and Carter were not just band mates in Sorta and Sparrows; they were best friends. In fact, it was Carter who suggested that Danny venture into country music, stating that his voice was perfectly suited for the material. Also, many of the songs off of the CD feature quite obvious references to Carter. In "Tethered", the first single off the CD, Danny sings that "if the sparrow dies, I'll be alright if you feel the way I do." And the album's title track is a touching farewell to a friend: "You dusted off your wings and decided that you'd sing the saddest song that we'd ever hear."

My congratulations go out to Mr. Balis on this well deserve success. For this success to come on this day seems like a perfect tribute to Carter's musical legacy.

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