Musicians come together for ‘Sounds like Whidbey’ CD

To hear sample selections from "Sounds Like Whidbey," click on the links below.

  • "Fishin' for Chickens," by The Rural Characters PLAY
  • "Green Pastures/Goin' up on the Mountain," by Resonance PLAY
  • "This Love," by Karl Olsen PLAY
  • "Blow Ye Winds," by the Shifty Sailors PLAY

Nineteen different artists, 19 different styles and voices with one thing in common: They are inspired by life on Whidbey Island.

Some of the island’s favorite performers came together to create “Sounds like Whidbey.”

The CD is a compilation of songs by island singers and musicians. The CD is now available in select stores across the island for $15.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” said Vern Olsen, coordinator of the CD project. Many know him better as one of the voices of the Shifty Sailors.

“It’s like a CD player with 19 different CDs and you push the ‘play random’ button,” Olsen said.

Profits from sales will be used to contribute to Island Arts Council and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts and will fund arts scholarships for high school seniors.

“As soon as we sell 100 of the 1,000 CDs we ordered, we start making money,” Olsen said.

“We could raise as much as $7,000, maybe $8,000,” he said.

The musical performers were looking for a way to contribute financially to the artist community and thus the idea for the CD was born, Olsen said.

It wasn’t hard to find musicians who wanted to be part of the project.

Contributing artists include Olsen’s Shifty Sailors, SisterMonk Harem, Rural Characters, Janie Cribbs, Titambe Marimba, resonance, Karl Olsen, Siri Baradarson (Sobotka), Beverly Graham, South Whidbey Middle School Jazz band, Timothy Hull, Saratoga Chamber Players, Sing!Chronicity, Derek Parrot, Bahia, Stone Road, Gregory Garbarino, No Band is an Island and Billet-Deux.

The music groups donated their songs, Olsen said. Most songs came from previous recordings.

Songs were compiled and edited by sound engineer Greg Garbarino of Langley. Garbarino owns a small projects recording studio and worked with some of the featured artists on their original recordings.

“It’s a nice representation of the skill that exists here,” Garbarino said. “It was just a great project to be part of.”

Because the tracks on the album were produced by many different people, it was a challenge to balance the different sound levels of the works to make the recording sound homogenous, Garbarino said.

South Enders who want to help the arts can buy the CD in various locations.

Stores offering the CD include the Rockhopper in Clinton, Joe’s Island Music in Clinton, Mukilteo Coffee near Porter Field, the Book Bay in Freeland and the Greenbank Farm Cheese Shop.

People can also pick up a copy of the CD tonight at the Rural Characters concert in Langley, said Linda Good, IAC board member.

“This week is our CD release party at the Rural Characters concert,” she said.

She is proud of the project because it represents the fine musicians of Whidbey Island and some of the best music educators in the area.

“It’s a good sampling of music that you’re likely to hear on Whidbey,”

she said.

Most people will probably have a favorite on the CD as the collection ranges from jazz, ethical, comic, traditional to classic, Good said. Overall, it shows the flavor of Whidbey.

Many local business pitched in to help fund the initial production cost. Sponsors who backed the musical effort include Whidbey Island Bank, Whidbey Telecom, Joe’s Island Music, Mukilteo Coffee, Law Offices of Kelly Harvey and Carbone, Porter Insurance and Coldwell Bankers Tara Properties.

The CD release coincides with IAC’s 25th anniversary and WICA’s 10th


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