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Sounds of the '60s and '70s today

Awards pile up for Walkersville songwriter

Awards pile up for Walkersville songwriter

April 11, 2005|by CHRIS COPLEY

chrisc@herald-mail.com

If you like the music of the '60s and '70s, here's something new but familiar: "Echoes of a Life," the first CD of original music by Walkersville, Md., songwriter Jay Hoelscher.

Hoelscher's 15 contemporary Christian songs follow the musical trail blazed by the Beach Boys, Neil Young, Yes and the Association, among others.

"My influences are all the way from (Mason Williams' 1968 hit) 'Classical Gas' to soundscapes

you may have heard in the '80s," Hoelscher said. "But the sound and lyrics are definitely (Beach Boys' songwriter) Brian Wilson."

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Hoelscher grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., in the '60s. Now married to wife Cindi and raising four children ages 5 to 21, he holds a day gig as a pharmacist.

But Hoelscher's dreams are musical. And the past 12 months have brought him some measure of positive feedback for his work.

His song "Someday" received an honorable mention in amateur songwriter contests hosted by Billboard magazine and MusicTech.net. In August, his song "Someday" was No. 16 out of 31,000 downloads in the adult contemporary category on Amazon.com's amateur musician listing.

His song "A Different Drummer" was a Christian/Gospel finalist for the month of November in VH1's Song of the Year contest. Finalists in the contest - 600 songs out of thousands submitted by amateur songwriters each year - are forwarded to agents and recording studios by VH1.

"I was flabbergasted," Hoelscher said. "When you're making songs, you're hoping things are going to be listenable. When VH1 sent me a letter, I assumed, they would say, 'Thank you for sending your song.' But when I opened the envelope, my jaw dropped."

"Someday" and "A Different Drummer" are both on Hoelscher's album, "Echoes of a Life," available for purchase through www.cdbaby.com/jaydeemusic on the Web.

The album, engineered by Doug Benson, who plays keyboard and drums on the tracks, was released in late 2004.

Hoelscher's songs not only evoke the sound of the '60s, but speak honestly about his life struggles with his marriage, with growing older and with his Christian faith.

"Christians need to be real. We go through the same doubt and heartache as people outside the church," Hoelscher said. "I'm candid. It's not all lovey-dovey."

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