From WXPN’s The Key: 25 locals (plus!) come together to sing for retiring XPN Folk Show host Gene Shay
“Sing For Gene Shay” was recorded at Little Spiders Have Big Dreams, Morning Star and Turtle Studios, and mixed and mastered at Turtle Studios. Lyrics to the song were written by Ben Arnold, Ernie Tokay, Eric Hurlock, and Heather Hurlock, and the music was written by Ernie Tokay, Dom Flemons, Phil D’Agostino and Daniel S. Bower.
Jay Levin of Turtle Studios tells us that the idea came from Tokay, who runs Little Spiders.
Ernie came up with a basic tune with Dom Flemons (of the Carolina Chocalate Drops) who is also a big fan of Gene’s. The original sketch was “Hey Gene Shay”, and it was a play on the Bob Dylan tune “Song To Woody” (with the line “Hey Woody Guthrie”). The tune really came into shape when he brought Phil D’Agostino and Daniel Bower in to lay down the rhythm section. Phil has played bass with seemingly 80% of all the Philly folk acts heard on XPN in the past ten years. Daniel plays many instruments in Frog Holler and other bands, and he played drums on this; he’s the Moonlight Forest guy, and a few years ago he founded Woodfarm Records, which is another incubator of cool folk projects. Anyway, those guys really worked over the original tune and brought it into shape, giving it the great feel and form that is the bedrock of the track.
From there, it became a race to call people to see who we could get to contribute in a short time-frame.