A group's first album and a hard lesson

Critic's Choice

Pop Music

April 28, 2002|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

On a cold night in Brooklyn, N.Y., this past December, members of the Baltimore band Ellen Cherry had just finished packing up the truck after recording their first album when they decided to nip back into the studio to say quick goodbyes.

Just 20 minutes later, the group came back out to find the truck window broken and all the instruments stolen.

"The cops told us, 'You're in New York City now; this isn't Baltimore,' " said Kristin Putchinski, Ellen Cherry singer / songwriter and a free-lance graphic artist. "We said, 'We know, but we locked the truck!' "

Putchinski, bassist Andy McCallum and drummer Drew Moody then made the morose trek back to Baltimore -- and their day jobs -- in the empty truck.

Since then, however, they've recouped some of their losses. Fans donated items for a yard sale and sent in checks to help purchase new instruments.

At 9 p.m. this Friday (May 3) at the 8 X 10 Club at 10 E. Cross St., the release party for the album that was recorded in the Brooklyn studio, The Ellen Cherry Primer, finally takes place.

The album isn't bad for a freshman effort. The group has developed a sound that's a cross between Cowboy Junkies, Liz Phair and about a half-dozen other folksy female singers. The lyrics and melodies aren't yet as distinct or cutting as the artists they echo, however.

Maybe the trauma of having their instruments stolen will provide fresh fodder.

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