Whatzup
A Hot Cat in a Dog's World
various artists

by Jason Hoffman Hot Cat

Last year bassist Dave Nelson compiled A Cool Cat In A Dog’s World, a collection comprised of some of Fort Wayne’s finest jazz musicians, the proceeds of which go directly towards the treatment of autism, a disease which affects his youngest son. With A Hot Cat in a Dog’s World, Nelson turns to the area’s rock musicians to bolster the coffers against this mysterious affliction.

Some of Fort Wayne’s best-known performers contribute to this CD, which includes “Let Me In” from the Blue Moon Boys’ Sticks & Stones, the dark “Bridge” off Matt Taylor’s All Circles Complete and the ultra-syncopated “Slow Down” from the Heavy Step album, The Longshot. David Todoran lends the enigmatically eerie “Glorious” from Luck In This Life, and Kevin Hiatt consents the use of his Michael Hedges tribute, “Hedges Peak,” from his Another Look At The Sunrise release. And let’s not forget “Markerstone,” an unstable off-center rock song off the latest MoonCrikets album.

Einstein Savage, now known as Rue Melange, contribute two tracks: their psychedelic classic “Nevermore” and a long-time unreleased crowd favorite “My Sweet Caffeine,” where Mark Turney sings such clever lines as “How my heart goes pounding wild / When you’re inside” in an amiable flapper-era style. The relaxed pop of Jen Fisher is represented with “I Love,” a song which features an encouraging, soaring melody. Likewise, “Rare the Day,” from the Allen Levi album Accidental Roads, is a gentle folk song of thanksgiving that is sure to inspire. Vade contribute two tracks off their last album, “Brand New Song (espresso remix),” which is catchy pop given the Chipmunks treatment, and “Madman & Kings,” a modern rock song solid packed with guitars. Thylacine, the experimental band based at Monastic Chambers, lend the reedy organs and swaggering rhythm of “Don’t Mean A Thing” to this project. If country is your thing, then Dana Christy has your number with “Wait A Minute,” a fun, rocking country song where the fiddle blazes alongside the steel guitar.

A number of bands offered unreleased songs to tempt their fan base to support this cause. Fawn Liebowitz leave a plucky gem “A Fish Out Of Water,” which mixes a gurgling bass with pedal steel and a sax solo, while Mike Conley adds the foot-moving R&B beat of “We’ll Make It,” a song which conjures the optimistic feelings of early summer.

Not one to betray his first love, Nelson includes the Duke Ellington classic “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” performed by Colleen McNabb and the John Roothaan Trio. Just a step away are Milenia with “Come Too Far” from their album, Our Story, which fuses R&B, soul and funk with amazing female vocals. Also sure to get your heart and feet moving is the soulful yet funked up version of the praise chorus “Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord,” expertly executed by Marcel Murray and Friends.

There is also a brief track of Julian sweetly singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and a bit of spoken word over bagpipes in “The Art of Living With Autism” by Sandy McMurray. As a final romp, producer Nelson and his three-piece band Gravity undertake the monstrously complex classic instrumental “Frankenstein” with amazing aplomb, pulling it off sans keyboards.

The CD release party for A Hot Cat in a Dog’s World is June 2, 5-11 p.m. at Mad Anthony’s. Featured artists that night include David Todoran, Jen Fisher, Ron Barber Trio, Gravity, Kevin Hiatt, Rue Melange, The MoonCrikets, Mike Conley, Dana Christy and Tim DeDanto. Proceeds from the sale of the CD help to cover expenses associated with Julian’s treatment. Available in area music stores or online through www.pchelpservice.com.

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