Although Covid-19 has effectively brought the live entertainment world to a complete stop, that didn’t mean that musicians stopped creating. Gathering inspiration from their furry sidekicks (that have been keeping everyone company during the lockdowns), seventeen Nashville songwriters have teamed up with animal shelters nationwide to create a national campaign to say thanks to our pets for their continuous companionship during this difficult COVID summer.
Distributed by Just Furr Fun, the album is lovingly titled ““Rock and Roll Over”. The free release is a showcase tribute album featuring original songs, one for each major dog breed, to benefit the animals that didn’t have a warm home to be in during the pandemic. Pet Companion Magazine had the opportunity to chat with two key figures in the creation of this album, main producer and mastermind Norty Cohen and co-producer and songwriter Steve McWilliams.
Norty found himself inspired to create during a walk with his beloved dog, Doc. “I was walking my dog, Doc (a 4 year old bernadoodle) and singing songs to him. The more I walked him as Covid heated up – it occurred to me there were not a lot of songs for dogs. As our agency, Moosylvania, started thinking about ways to give back, we thought what better way to make people smile, than to offer dog songs for charity. We rounded up shelters nationally – and commissioned the artists, who needed the work.” A win / win scenario! Norty then contacted Steve, “Norty actually asked me if I would help shepherd the project. We met while he was doing a trip to Nashville. He dug the Truehearts album (my band) and we went up to St. Louis to play a show. The rest, as they say, is history.”
“Rock and Roll Over” was written, recorded and produced entirely in lockdown with the artists’ barking sidekicks nearby. This was very reminiscent of the new-age way of producing music virtually. Norty let us in on how this project really leapt off the ground in production, “We tried to gather the most popular breeds to get it going and the list kept growing. We finally cut it at 16 breeds and one overall dog companion song, which The Truehearts composed and recorded. Each of the artists really got into the assignment and thought about the dog’s point of view – which makes the whole album really come together. Most were able to pick their breed of choice from our list. The last of the 17 turned out to be one of the most entertaining. We didn’t have a dachshund song and reached out to Bob Lewis, who teamed up with Phil Price and surprised us with “Do the Dachs-Hound.”
The real superstars in this whole equation were the dogs, who supervised the entire process. While Norty’s pup Doc mostly laid on the couch in the studio as his humans listened to rough cuts for weeks, Steve’s pup June approved of the project wholeheartedly. “June is awesome!!! Almost 2 years old. She is our traveling companion and most popular member of our band. Debra and I bounce all our songs off her before anybody else hears them.” says Steve. Steve McWilliams and Debra Buonaccorsi are The Truehearts, a band out of Nashville. June is certainly the honorary member!
When it concerned the difficult question of which song is the all-time favorite, neither could pick. “Wow, I love them all. It would not be far to pick a favorite. I have a new favorite everyday.” said Steve, and Norty followed suit with “I think each song hits a specific mood at a specific time. They all make you smile – from top to bottom.” Personally, we couldn’t agree more. The track listing features the following seventeen songs, each one even more fun than the last!
VIDEO FOR “Mutts Will Rule the World”: http://moosylvaniaftp.com/_p8wxxWFghUhA9R
LINK to song “Woooooo All Day” — https://justfurrfun.com/audio/06_Woooooo_All_Day.mp3
LINK to song “Someday the Mutts will Rule the World” — https://justfurrfun.com/audio/07_Mutts_Will_Rule_The_World.mp3
- Album Anthem — “Dog by Your Side” — The Truehearts (Steve McWilliams and Debra Buonaccorsi)
- Great Dane – “King of The Pack” — Mike Younger
- Dachshund – “Do the Dachs-Hound” — Bob Lewis (co-writer Phill Price)
- Bulldog – “Your Forever Friend” — Barky Jones (Irakli Gabriel and Anana Kaye)
- Retriever – “That’s My Retriever” — Bob Lewis
- Basset Hound – “Wooooo All Day” — Barky Jones (Irakli Gabriel and Brett Ryan Stewart)
- Mutts – “Mutts Will Rule The World” — Steve Rempis
- Pit Bull – “Pit Bulls Rock” — Jimmy Catlett
- Bernese Mountain Dog – “Berner” — The Truehearts (Steve McWilliams and Debra Buonaccorsi)
- Terrier – “I’m a Terrier” — Mark Robinson
- Labrador – “My Labrador Retriever” — David Conrad and Rebecca Weiner Tompkins
- Shih Tzu – “Little Lion” — Steve Rempis
- Greyhound – “Blue ‘Bama Brindle” — Meghan Hayes
- Chihuahua – “I, Chihuahua” — David Conrad and Rebecca Weiner Tompkins
- Poodles/Doodles – “He’s A Poodle” — Megan Palmer and Jason Quicksall
- Beagle – “I’m Your Beagle” — Jamie Rubin
- Shepherd – “The Shepherd” — Megan Palmer and Jason Quicksall
Although all of the shelters benefitting from this project are amazing, Norty’s personal favorite is The APA of Missouri and Steve’s are Nashville Humane Society, or Big Black Lab Rescue.
Dog lovers can visit JustFurrFun.com to download the songs for free and donate to the animal shelter nearest them. After keying in a zip code, the nearest shelters will pop up. The shelters receive 100 percent of the donations. In fact, each of the 20 nationwide shelters participating received a video PSA featuring their specific pets in need of adoption, synched to the song, “Mutts Will Rule the World!” This launched a fun music video on YouTube, with the link being: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp8jo_Hj47U
You can nab the album at https://justfurrfun.com/.
You can connect with this project socially at the following links:
Just Furr Fun (Channel name)