TERRE HAUTE —
Whether in Music City or River City, Alexa McFadden loves singing with her Judson Hill bandmates.
The four-member group hopes its new album, “Beauty in Goodbye,” catches ears in the recording industry. They’ll unveil the 10-song CD in their hometown of Terre Haute this weekend, and play it live in March at Nashville’s iconic 12th & Porter club.
A year ago, McFadden had no inkling she’d be the lead vocalist for an up-and-coming contemporary country band. She’s simply enjoying the moment.
“Being involved in anything musical is just a great dream,” she said last week. The possibility of Judson Hill someday “living in Nashville and making a career of it would be great for me. But just being in the band, even if that doesn’t happen, I’m as happy as can be.”
Audiences seem to be enjoying it, too. Judson Hill has a string of successful gigs dating back to the group’s formation last summer.
McFadden started singing alongside guitarist Marc Rogers Jr. after he invited her to handle secondary vocals in another band last winter. By July, those two — along with Marc’s younger brother and drummer John Rogers, and bassist Steven Lee — formed Judson Hill. “Alexa is an exceptional singer,” Marc Jr. said, “and I feel kind of blessed that she was brought into my life, and we were brought into hers.”
They drew the band’s name from an area near Fontanet, where Barbie Cox Rogers (mother of John and Marc, and wife of the band’s manager/producer/engineer Marc Rogers Sr.) grew up. Soon Barbie, an experienced lyricist, began writing songs with Marc and Alexa. This fall, they ventured into the studio, resulting in the “Beauty in Goodbye” album.
“There’s a good core of a writing element between me and Alexa,” 22-year-old Marc Jr. said, “and, of course, Mom’s great at writing words.”
Songwriting provides an emotional outlet for McFadden.
“It helps me get through the tough times,” she said of the process. “It’s obviously my passion, and I think it’s what I’m meant to do.”
The collection features a blend of sentimental country ballads, such as the opening track “One Summer Night,” and upbeat rockers with a bit of attitude like “Bad Side” and “He Won’t Change.” The closer and title track, with heartache and reminiscences, holds a special place with McFadden. “It really portrays something I’d been struggling with,” she said.
While Judson Hill’s instrumentalists are seasoned from experience with other bands and learning under Marc Sr. — a veteran guitarist in sessions and on tours beside notable Nashville artists — live performances were new to McFadden, though she sang the national anthem at sports events in her high school years at Terre Haute North. She handled “The Star Spangled Banner” in Hulman Center before the North-vs.-South basketball games in her sophomore and senior years. Fronting an electric band was a different twist.
Even stints as a backup vocalist didn’t involve the same level of pressure for McFadden, who — like Marc Jr. and John — also balances studies as an Indiana State University student with her music. Singing lead is “a big transition,” said McFadden, a 20-year-old sophomore nursing major. “Now, I’m always the one they’re looking at, so I have to do something to keep them interested.”
Judson Hill’s first show, at Show-Me’s in Terre Haute, “was nerve-racking” for her. “As the night went on, I was a lot more comfortable,” she said.
In the studio, their work on the album drew in some well-regarded Nashville musicians, friends of Marc Sr. Adding fiddle parts to two songs was Rob Hacajos, who played on hits by Shania Twain (“Any Man of Mine”), Brooks & Dunn (“Boot Scootin’ Boogie”) and Taylor Swift (“Mean”). Five tracks get steel guitar work by Steve Hinson, who recorded with country stars Luke Bryan and Josh Turner, and has toured for 17 years with Randy Travis. Terre Haute keyboardist Logan Lundstrom and fiddler John Davis also perform.
Through those sessions, Hinson was “extremely encouraging” about Judson Hill’s potential, Marc Sr. said.
The album includes “Life Flows By (In the Wabash),” a song Marc Jr. and McFadden wrote and recorded for “The Wabash” CD — another newly released disc that celebrates the river and serves as a fundraiser for the Wabash Valley Art Spaces’ Paul Dresser sculpture project. In “Life Flows By,” Rogers and McFadden recall childhood days “when family was everything” and “time meant nothing at all.”
“It’s just kind of a special place,” Marc Jr. said, “that stays in your heart.”
Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Release party for new Judson Hill CD “Beauty in Goodbye.”
Where: Terre Haute Show-Me’s, 2324 S. Third St.
When: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday.
Cost: There will be no cover charge that night.
Album availability: CDs can be purchased for $10 apiece at the show and afterward at Headstone Friends in Terre Haute. Online availability through iTunes is expected before Christmas.
TERRE HAUTE —
Whether in Music City or River City, Alexa McFadden loves singing with her Judson Hill bandmates.
Busy sidewalks … Dec. 6 ‘Miracle on 7th’ event brings crowds downtown
Christmas Music Schedule
Schedule of Events
‘Someday at Christmas’ with Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack coming to ISU Dec. 11
Sandy Hackett’s famous Rat Pack is coming to Terre Haute to ring in a swingin’ holiday season with its critically acclaimed show “Someday at Christmas.”
Hailed as “extremely strong and hugely entertaining,” “Someday at Christmas” blends the classic charisma of the golden age of Las Vegas with some of Ron Miller’s greatest Christmas hits.
Community Theatre offers up family show ‘Babes in Toyland’ in December
Community Theatre of Terre Haute celebrates the season with the holiday musical, “Babes in Toyland,” based on the operetta by Victor Herbert & Glen MacDonough. It opens this Friday and continues through the weekend.
‘Celebrate the Holidays’ Dec. 7 with Terre Haute Symphony and Solly Burton
Two-time Winfield National Mandolin Champion Solly Burton will play popular carols with the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Tilson Auditorium. The program also will include the Rose-Hulman Chorus, directed by Daniel Tryon. Mayor Duke Bennett will narrate the Clement C. Moore classic poem, "‘Twas the Night Before Christmas," while the orchestra plays.
- MUSEUMS/EXHIBITIONS: Dec. 5, 2013
Usher in the holiday season with … ‘The Sound of Christmas’
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Hatfield Hall will usher in the holiday season with “The Sound of Christmas,” featuring Elisabeth von Trapp and the Carolian Brass, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Community School of Arts open house features steel sculpture
Indiana State University’s Community School of the Arts will host an open house from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at Turman Art Gallery in the Fine Arts Building, 649 Chestnut St.
The open house will present an opportunity to meet the teachers, learn more about spring 2014 offerings and register for classes and private music lessons. On display in the Turman Gallery will be artwork created by adult students participating in “Metal Sculpture” and “Digital Photography” classes and children participating in “Saturday Art Day.” There will be a special performance by the “Terre Haute Guitar Club,” and guests can enter a drawing to win a free spring arts class.
Bridgeton to host Country Christmas celebration this weekend
Bridgeton will host its annual Country Christmas celebration from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The shops will be open and full of gifts.
Pioneer Village Christmas Walk planned Dec. 6-7
The Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department will host the 30th annual Pioneer Village Christmas Walk at Fowler Park from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7. The public is invited to mingle with the Village Folk and park staff as they step back in time and prepare for the Christmas season.
Indiana Theatre to host Miracle on 7th Street events
In the spirit of the holiday season, downtown Terre Haute’s historic Indiana Theatre is opening its doors to the Wabash Valley community.
In conjunction with the annual Miracle on 7th Street and Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Indiana Theatre invites Valley residents to visit Dec. 6 beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Christian author from Avon to sign books at Open Door
Author Rev. Philip Rigdon will be signing books at the Open Door from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 7. The Christian book store is at 3125 S. 3rd Place.
Rigdon, a resident of Avon, will be available to sign copies of his book, “Under the Bridge to the Seeds of Light.”
Shop United Dec. 6 in Parke, Vermillion counties
Area residents can help the United Way of the Wabash Valley and participating merchants during Shop United in Parke and Vermillion counties on Dec. 6.
The Shop United event benefits local economies and more than 90 programs in the United Way service area, according to Claudia Tanoos, event chairwoman. A $50 ticket, purchased from the United Way, covers the cost of breakfast, lunch and transportation for the 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. event.
Planetarium plans holiday light shows Dec. 6
The Allen Memorial Planetarium will present a holiday laser light show at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 13, and at 2 and 4 p.m. on Dec. 14. Tickets will be $4 for adults and $2 for ages 12 and under, sold at the door. Proceeds from the shows support planetarium programming.
Toy train sale Dec. 9 to benefit museum
An old-time toy train sale to support the Fire and Police Museum’s operation will begin at 10 a.m. Dec. 9 in the museum at 1728 S. Eighth St.
Craft Show and Elf Warehouse planned Dec. 7
The Carlisle Chapter of Delta Theta Tau will sponsor its 29th Annual Craft Show and Elf Warehouse from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Carlisle school in Carlisle.
Schools decorate trees for Dec. 7 fundraiser
Twenty Vigo County School Corp. schools have decorated and set up trees between Carson’s and J.C. Penny at Honey Creek Mall. The Festival of Trees serves as a fundraiser for the Shoe Bus and Backpack programs.
TubaChristmas on Santa Day at LTC Dec. 7
The Lincoln Trail College Music Department and Crawford County Arts will present TubaChristmas on Santa Day, Dec. 7, at the college in Robinson, Ill.
Service League to host Share your Wares
The Service League of Union Hospital will be hosting its third Share Your Wares event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 6 in the Union East Lower Level Atrium. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.
World-traveled Ballet Magnificat! returns to Terre Haute on Dec. 2
Alpha and Omega Companies of Ballet Magnificat! will return to Terre Haute on Monday. For the sixth time, Maryland Community Church will host the Jackson, Miss.-based ballet company.
Scrooge, Santa at Phoenix Theatre
The Phoenix Theatre will present two one-act Christmas plays in December. Performances will be at 7 p.m. CST on Dec. 13, 14, 20 and 21; and at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 15. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. The Phoenix Theatre is at 512 Archer Ave., Marshall, Ill.
Friends of Holy Rosary plan bazaar Dec. 7
Friends of Holy Rosary Church in Seelyville will host its annual Holiday Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in Schelley Hall on U.S. 40 just east of the stoplight in Seelyville.
Join Santa for breakfast Dec. 7 at Lieber
Children can share their wish lists with Santa over breakfast at Lieber State Recreation Area at 9 a.m. on Dec. 7. The event will take place at the nature center. Breakfast will be $1 per person, and photos will cost $2. The entrance fee has been waived for the event.
Tickets still available for Indianapolis Symphonic Choir’s Festival of Carols
Tickets for the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir’s annual Christmas performances of the Festival of Carols are now on sale, following a sellout run of three shows during the 2012 holiday season.
Sycamore Social celebrates 30 years
The 30th anniversary Sycamore Social is scheduled 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at the National Guard Armory, 3614 Maple Ave. Games and dancing will be available for guests, as well as snacks.
Lincoln Trail plans Santa Day Dec. 7
Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Ill., will ring in the holiday season Dec. 7 on the college’s main campus.
Christmas Gala Concert at VU Dec. 4
Vincennes University’s annual Christmas Gala Concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in VU’s Red Skelton Performing Arts Center.
Indiana State Parks offers annual passes
Permits for entrance, boating and horseback riding at the Indiana Division of State Parks and Reservoirs for 2014 are now available for purchase. They can be bought at InnsGifts.com and at State Parks and Reservoirs offices.
Art filled Holiday at Vonda’s Garden Dec. 6
Heinl’s Flower Shop is planning an Art filled Holiday at Vonda’s Garden Studio.The evening full of art and holiday cheer will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 6 at Seventh and Walnut streets, in conjunction with Heinl’s Holiday Open House and the Miracle on 7th Street Festival.
Christmas Fun at the Woods set Dec. 14
The Sisters of Providence welcome the community to a day filled with festive family fun at St. Mary-of-the-Woods, with Christmas Fun at the Woods. The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 14.
Breakfast and bake sale in Fontanet Dec. 14
The Fontanet Action Community Team will have a breakfast and bake sale on Dec. 14 at the FACT building in Fontanet.
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