"Winter in West Michigan" is a collection of seasonal songs from some of Grand Rapids, Michigan's most talented singers and songwriters.
On this CD, each artist performs an original song written for the season, as well as his or her unique arrangement of a traditional holiday tune.
Proceeds from this CD project are going to Heartside Ministry to help them continue to serve the wide ranging needs of the homeless and otherwise marginalized persons living in the near-downtown neighborhood of Grand Rapids known as the Heartside.
The "Winter in West Michigan" CD project developed from discussions that took place a few of years ago regarding the creation of a sampler disc of local songwriters.
Inspired by "A Winter's Tune", the songwriters showcase that J.Oscar Bittinger stages in Grand Rapids each December, the direction of the sampler project took a holiday focus.
In April of 2001, Bittinger and producer Scott Haebich approached nine of the area's top songwriters about contributing material to the project.
Each accepted and the project began moving forward.
Recording sessions took place from June through August at Aartvark Productions in Grand Rapids, with the studio's owner/engineer Mark DePree handling the recording and mixing.
Christmas lights and decorations were hung in the studio to create a "Christmas in July" atmosphere that would inspire the musicians to get into the spirit of the season.
All the songs on the CD have a decidedly acoustic feel.
Some of the songs include nothing but a guitar and voice, while others feature slightly more elaborate arrangements with bass, percussion, harmony vocals or other instruments added to the basic tracks.
Winter in West Michigan features the work of: Ken Bierschbach, J.Oscar Bittinger, Michigan Mark DePree, Dave Molinari, Drew Nelson, Sara Q, Ralston, Lucy Webster and Andy Willey.
Their original songs include stories of love, life and personal reflection, family heritage, and thoughts about the Christmas season.
Recognizable holiday classics (some with a slightly different twist) are featured among the cover tunes offered by each artist.
We appreciate your interest in "Winter in West Michigan" and hope you enjoy the soundbites here enough to download some tracks or the entire CD.