Few songwriters are granted the chance to live out their dreams of touching people with their songs and only a number of those artists have a star that shines magically as bright as the beloved musical icon Tim Krekel. Krekel’s last studio album, Sings Up the Sun, is set to be released this weekend nearly two years after his passing in 2009 and is expected to be a grand celebration of Krekel’s life and music career. The story behind the making of the album, like most of Tim’s life, is an emotionally touching tale, one meant only for storybooks.
Krekel, a Louisville native, began playing music professionally at the tender age of 13 on top of a swimming pool roof at Fountain Ferry Park and his musical career ended up spanning the globe as he went on to play guitar for Jimmy Buffet and write chart-topping hits for Martina McBride, Patty Loveless and Crystal Gayle. Krekel enjoyed success as a noted musician on numerous levels; he toured the world, collaborated in the studio with successful well-known artists, and co-wrote songs with the likes of Kim Richey which ended up being featured in the 1999 Kevin Costner film, For Love of the Game.
Nashville producer and keyboardist Michael Webb says Sings Up the Sun is a collaboration of tracks that Krekel himself cut before his passing during his time between Louisville and Nashville recording sessions. The group had originally decided to take their time cutting the laid back album, and when Tim could, he would travel to Nashville and redo tracks here and there. Webb says during the winter recording months, Tim was diagnosed with cancer and started to realize that Sings Up the Sun might be his last. After Krekel passed away the following summer, Webb was faced with not only the loss of a dear friend and songwriter, but also the emotional decision on how to complete the album so he brilliantly did what any great producer would do and brought in musical family members and friends to complete tracks. “It was a rough album to finish, knowing that Tim would never get to hear it, but it had to be done in his honor” says Webb.
Sings Up the Sun highlights include tracks from Krekel, some of which he recorded on his own computer, mixed with new tracks from different artists who jumped at the chance to be a part of the project’s completion. Martraca Berg is featured on the title track, “Sings Up the Sun,” which Webb meshed into a duet while Krekel’s son Jason adds vocal flavors and electric guitar on the album cut “Yes, Yes, Yes.” Sam Bush, Jonell Mosser, Michael Murphy and Jeff Hannah of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band all help to complete the album’s brilliancy while the track “State of Grace,” a New Orleans flavored church choir sounding toe-tapper, features audio taken from a parade held in Tim Krekel’s honor after his passing.
Musicians from many of Tim’s projects, including son Jason Krekel, Tim Krekel Orchestra member John Mann, The Slugger's member Tom Comet, Nashville producer and keyboardist Michael Webb and Ryan Adam’s drummer, Brad Pemberton, will join together this Friday during 91.9 WFPK’s Live Lunch to celebrate the release of Sings Up the Sun, and honor Krekel’s work, while several musicians are set to jam on stage together Saturday night at Louisville’s own Rudyard Kipling.
photo courtesy Tim Krekel