This disc is a mind boggler (in good ways) on many levels, not the least of which is the music this 16-year-old put together for his debut, and the musicians/friends who helped contribute to this project. Let's get some of the names that contributed to this young ukulele player's disc—Dr John, Levon and Amy Helm, Kate Pierson, Todd Rundgren, John Sebastian, and Jay Ungar to name but a few of the participants. You can see that this spans an exceedingly broad and eclectic spectrum of musicians and musical genres, and remember this song list was put together by this 16 year old uke player. One more thing to realize before you get this disc is that at age eleven he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and the family moved to West Shokan, a short jump from Woodstock, NY to get away from the city, opened a store and reached out to the musical community.
Killian was taught ukulele by Ralph Legnini who also produced the disc and provided studio time, with work on the disc often occurring between Killian's painful treatment sessions for his rare cancer. There are so many stories out there of tributes but here is one where the people put their music on the line for this prodigy who passed away a week after he received the finished product.
Just take a look at the song list to see the spectrum of music he listened to—Express Yourself, Girl From Ipanema, Kiss by Prince, Blue Skies by Irving Berlin, Starman by David Bowie, and a couple written by his mother, and more; eclectic enough? Then to be able to put together bands that include Bruce Katz on piano, Jay Ungar on fiddle, Molly Mason on bowed acoustic bass, with John Sebastian on lead vocals and guitar. Or perhaps you like Chris Wood on acoustic bass, Zachary Alford on percussion, Ralph Carney on alto and bass flutes? The breath of the musical vision of this youngster, who at times said his treatment was worse than his disease, is staggering. Though he didn't make it through his illness, he established a charity to help those coming after him and through all the pain and suffering left a beautiful tribute to the human spirit. The proceeds from this disc all go to that charity. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a gift that will put a smile on your face and a smile in your heart.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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