By Jeffrey Veatch
The Justin Veatch Fund has announced the release of “River of Song”, a downloadable single that will be available from on-line stores including iTunes and Amazon as well as on audio stream sites such as Spotify, Rhapsody and Slacker beginning January 3rd.
“River of Song” is a tribute to the late Justin Veatch, a talented Yorktown High School senior who died of an accidental drug overdose in 2008 and was the reason The Justin Veatch Fund was created. The song’s lyrics were written by Justin’s father, Jeffrey Veatch, with music written by Esteban Rivera, a Yorktown singer/songwriter who was inspired by Justin’s music. Rivera performs the vocals and guitar parts using two guitars owned by Justin and is joined by local musicians Phil Rosenstock on bass, John Venezia on drums and Kevin Myers on Piano. Venezia was a 2013 recipient of a Justin Veatch Fund $1,000 scholarship.
“I’m really hoping to keep the torch alive for Justin one way or another,” says Rivera who graduated from Yorktown High School in 2010 and recently formed a new band called Last Exit in New York. “I think everyone in this town who knew him really keeps him fondly in memory. Being in school music programs with him really influenced me a lot because we were in the rhythm section together and he would rock whatever instrument he was playing,” said Rivera, who added “writing the music to the lyrics written by Justin’s father was a fun challenge that came naturally. And it was really great to be able to record with his old instruments too. They are great guitars and held a lot of meaning to me.”
“River of Song” and a music video which is still a work in progress will be played at the January 3rd First Fridays Café open mic sponsored jointly by The Fund and the Yorktown Teen Center. Rivera will be among those performing that night. Area teens are encouraged to register to perform at the open mics which are held the first Friday of every month from October through May at 6:30p at the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center (YCCC) on Commerce Street next to Yorktown Stage.
Justin Veatch’s music as well as covers of his songs can be heard on the CD “Permagrin: The Music of Justin Veatch by the Ivoryton Piano Factory and Friends” which was released on Polyvinyl Records in 2009. Proceeds from the CD as well as “River of Song” help support The Fund’s works which include scholarships, the open mic nights, a two-day summer music workshop, annual concerts and “A Message from Justin”--a multi media talk directed to teens on the dangers of substance abuse.
On September 20, 2014 The Justin Veatch Fund will be bringing Livingston Taylor to headline a concert at Yorktown Stage with the opening act comprised of local teen talent. Taylor, who teaches one of the most popular classes at Berklee School of Music in Boston, will also conduct a master class on stage performance on the day of the show. Details about the show and the class will soon be available on The Fund’s website,www.thejustinveatchfund.org. The Justin Veatch Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization and recognized New York Charity.