Musician aims to unite others through website
Fred Whitacre is a man of many talents.
He is an AP senior English teacher and broadcasting instructor at Warren G. Harding High School, runs the Warren Student Communication Network (WSCN TV) and is a robotics team adviser. The Girard resident also is a musician, playing in both Kitchen Knife Conspiracy and White Cadillac.
But with all of those demands on his time, Whitacre needed to discipline himself to write his own music. To accomplish this mission, he created the website FridayNightTracks.com, which is devoted to his music and designed to connect with other musicians.
“It started with a challenge for myself – I wanted to write, record and mix one song per week for an entire year,” he said. “I knew it would be tough to find time every week, but I set my mind to trying it, and so far, so good. I’ve posted one song per week on FridayNightTracks.com.
“Immediately, I wanted to get other musicians in the area who like to try experimental solo stuff on board. The webpage is a place for my own personal creative outlet and a place to connect with other musicians in the area. I am not trying to make money off of it, I just want this to be a method for other artists to spread their message.”
Whitacre has written some powerful originals, including “Love You Like I Love You,” “Gave A Mile” and “The Walls.” He also has recorded some classic covers such as Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” and “You Light Up My Life,” the ’70s Debby Boone hit written by Joe Brooks. Other local musicians who have recorded tracks for the site include Jason West from the band The Champions of All Time and Miller from the Youngstown band Alias X.
“I would love to start doing a monthly podcast which features only artists and music from the site. This is another way to spread the word. As someone who teaches radio and TV broadcasting, I am quite comfortable in that element,” Whitacre said.
Right now it’s more about getting as many musicians as he can to record a track a week. Whitacre seeks to promote his music, as well as showcasing the introspective sides of various musicians and musical peers.
“I would like to have 10, 12 guys who can record one tune a week and give it to me to post on the site,” he said. “Then we can share the links and get some listens. The site is an opportunity to get people to hear your stuff.”
Friday Night Tracks grew out of an earlier idea started by Whitacre and some of his musical friends.
“A few years ago, several friends in the area started a group called Friday By Five,” Whitacre said. “It was a group of six or seven of us. The group included musicians who have played in multiple bands in Youngstown including Dave Biscella, Jason West, Brian and Jake Johnson, Kevin Sturdevant, Ric Panning and Matt Liller. I didn’t have a studio set up at home yet, so I did what I could. I didn’t make it every Friday – no one did – but we got a song on there almost every week. It was cool just to listen to what each of us was doing.”
Whitacre said that having the webpage is a vehicle to encourage and force himself to complete a track a week.
“Honestly, creative people get bogged down with adulthood. You are silenced by responsibilities and work. So you have to force yourself to have time. After about four or five months, the Friday By Five idea was done. I knew I’d come back to that concept again,” Whitacre said.