Christmas CD part of local effort

Musicians from Yampa Valley, Nashville lend talent to help Salvation Army

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— In response to the Sept. 11 tragedy, the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has joined forces with guitarist Brent Rowan to produce a Christmas CD with a unique Steamboat flair.

"A Special Steamboat Christmas Gathering" is a collection of music by people that call Steamboat home or have a connection in their heart with Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley, said Rowan, a part-time resident of the area.

"This compilation of music was crafted to help bring the unique beauty and peace of a Christmas morning in the Yampa Valley to you no matter where you play it," Rowan said.

Andy Wirth, vice president of marketing for Ski Corp., said he first envisioned the project of combining the talents of local musicians and the country music artists who came to Steamboat Springs last August. Over lunch, Wirth presented his idea to Rowan, who loved the concept.

Two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Ski Corp. staff met to discuss a tangible way in which it could contribute to the relief efforts. The result was the Christmas CD featuring nationally and locally acclaimed musicians.

"We didn't want to do something trivial," Wirth said.

Steamboat Springs resident Scott Flower assembled the local artists while Rowan organized the Nashville musicians to produce the CD. The musicians worked on the release for about a month.

All proceeds from the sale of "A Special Steamboat Christmas Gathering" will be donated to the Salvation Army. Wirth said due to the controversy surrounding the distribution of funds donated for the Sept. 11 relief effort, the Ski Corp. researched charity groups thoroughly before making a decision.

"We specifically selected the Salvation Army because they're a group that has a very solid reputation," Wirth said. "With all the proceeds going towards the Salvation Army's World Trade Center Crisis Fund, it makes 'A Special Steamboat Christmas Gathering' that much more special during this holiday period."

Artists on the CD include five-time country music awards nominee Rowan, Tanya Tucker, Mark D. Sanders and Billy Dean. Sanders wrote and produced the song "Star of Wonder" especially for the effort.

Local artists featured on the CD include Smokehouse, Brittany Lamb, Mary Martin Stockdale, Sleeping Giant, Alpine Posse, Worried Men and The Shenanigans. The CD incorporates the traditional holiday songs "O Holy Night," "Away in a Manger" and "We Three Kings" with a new interpretation of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The release also includes the western tunes "Colorado Christmas" and "Christmas for Cowboys."

Steamboat Springs artist John Fawcett added his unique watercolor touch to Larry Pierce's photograph "First Tracks" for the CD cover. "First Tracks" captures the flavor of a western winter in the Yampa Valley.

Some 5,000 copies of the CD are expected to arrive this week at 12 area businesses. "A Special Steamboat Christmas Gathering" is projected to generate between $50,000 and $60,000.

Meredith Geldmeier is a student at Christian Heritage School and an intern at the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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