The long-awaited CD recording of Dr. Matt Hahn & friends performing the songs of local country music legend Joltin' Jim McCoy is finally here.
A CD release party for Hahn's recording entitled "The Real McCoy" will be held this Saturday evening, December 15, at the Troubadour Lounge beginning at 8 p.m. Hahn will perform with Mike Colyer and the Tonehounds with special guest Tori Anderson.
Hahn will have his CDs available at Bath Bookworks this Sunday, December 16 from 1-3 p.m. Morgan Messenger editor John Douglas will also be there for a book signing for his book about McCoy called Joltin' Jim. "The Real McCoy" CD will also be on sale at Roy's Service Center.
"The Real McCoy"
"The Real McCoy" features Hahn's renditions of songs written or performed by McCoy. It includes "She's the Best," a beautiful tribute McCoy wrote for his wife Bertha, and "Waltz Across Texas," a hit performed by his friend, country music legend Ernest Tubb.
Hahn's lead and harmony vocals, Bobby Edenton's beautiful pedal steel guitar, Johnny Bussard's and Deirdre McCarthy's exquisite fiddles, Mike Colyer's sizzling guitar, Angela Petry's stunning harmony vocals and the expertise of many musicians make the recording a standout.
Hahn's vocals are superb. His voice glides through touching ballads like Bill Parsons' "If the Truth is Gonna Hurt" and McCoy's "She's the Best" and "Like Always." Hahn lets loose on driving rockers like "Divorce Me" and "Mama Pinch a Penny" and delivers "Tryin' to Quit" in a romping rockabilly style. He also added flat top guitar on a handful of tracks.
Colyer and his Tonehound band of Butch Moser on bass and Todd Hocherl on drums join Hahn on about half of the tracks. Guitarists Bob Driver, Bob Artz, Tom King, Gilbert Boggs and Gordon MacLeod also took part in the recording sessions.
Other musicians include local dentist Dr. Frank Rainieri on keyboards, steel guitarist Glen Dawson, pianist Donnie Lauck, Richard "Blinkey" Hopkins and Mike Smelser on drums, Chris Sprankle on harmonica and the late Danny Chalupka on bass.
The recording was recorded, mixed and mastered at the Troubadour Studio by engineer Will Shenk and produced by McCoy, Hahn and Douglas.
The musical journey
A former rock singer, Hahn had given up performing for nearly 20 years. He "traded a microphone for a stethoscope" and moved to Berkeley Springs to practice medicine.
The journey of recording McCoy's music began about three years ago when Hahn discovered that his patient Jim McCoy was a local country music legend who had discovered Patsy Cline.
Hahn went to McCoy's Troubadour Lounge where he saw many pictures of McCoy with country music greats. McCoy gave him some of his recordings.
Hahn liked McCoy's songs and performed several of them at a library benefit at The Troubadour that Douglas organized. McCoy liked his renditions and asked Hahn to do an album of his songs. The recording took two years to complete.
Hahn joined the Flashbacks, adding McCoy's music and other country hits to their repertoire of '50s and '60s music. Hahn said they had so much fun, but the band got so busy that he had to give it up. He plans to do some shows with the Tonehounds to promote the CD.
Hahn admitted not knowing much about country music before this project. He credited Douglas with sharing his collection of classic country music and educating him about the genre.
Hahn had been in an alternative rock band in D.C. called "The Young Caucasians" in the 1980s. They performed regionally and recorded several albums before they broke up in 1989, Hahn said.
"Divorce Me" is Hahn's personal favorite on the recording, though he said it was hard to choose. He also said "Waltz Across Texas" and his vocals with Petry on the song were really special. Hahn likes the different variety of songs and voices on the CD and feels they made some great music.
"There's nothing but favorites on it," he noted.
A great ride
Hahn said they had a blast making the CD.
"It's been a great ride," he said.
He liked spending so much time at the Troubadour Lounge, where "everyone starts feeling like they're family."
"It's been one of the most wonderful things. We've had more fun and met more nice people than we deserve to," Hahn said of the recording project.
McCoy said he felt great about the CD of his music being finally completed.
"I feel honored someone is remembering my songs," McCoy said.
Most of it is old material that goes back to 1959, he said. McCoy's favorites are "She's the Best" and the comedy song "Which A Way, What A Way, Anyway."
Watching McCoy work in the studio and getting him back on stage singing "She's the Best" has been a treat for Hahn. The project was a labor of love, with lots of good people contributing music and ideas, he said. McCoy's music is so good, Hahn said.
"It's been an honor and a joy to work with Jim. I hope this record is a worthy tribute to the legacy of a true country music original, my good friend, Joltin' Jim McCoy," Hahn said.