A Celestial Induction

A Celestial Induction
October 18th, 2006
MATT MANERA – Arts & Life Editor

A star will touch down gracefully this Thursday at the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

Nelson Starr, a Philosophy graduate from UB, will be warmly inducted in front of onlookers at Club Paradise.

Starr has been a music icon in Buffalo for some time. He is a well-respected singer and songwriter, with experience ranging from writing and producing television and film soundtracks to performing jazz and rock. Even acting is in the gamut.

The artist’s enthusiasm is coupled with warmth and honor.

“I am extremely honored to be given this great award, especially since it is the result of a vote of a board of my musical peers,” he said.

The selection process for an induction can be tedious and overwhelming due to the talent in Buffalo, but Starr was enthusiastically selected by local artists.

“It is a very warm feeling to be embraced in such an outward fashion by those who are fellow musicians, and to have earned their respect,” he said. “The respect goes both ways.”

Despite Starr’s experience, talent and time invested in the Buffalo music and arts scene, the induction came as a surprise.

“I had no expectation of getting in. I submitted some paperwork last year to be considered and was not inducted in 2005. I had little hope of it this year. I had, in a sense, forgotten about it and was really surprised when I received the phone call.”

The BMHOF rigorously hunts for talent in its purest form, but instead of limiting their search to scouting, they also encourage submissions.

“Several fellow members of the BMHOF urged me to submit my bio and some music on CD, so I put a pretty decent package together,” he said. “There are a number of sizable requirements for membership, but apparently I met those.”

Starr did meet the usual standards, except for one unspoken requirement: He is much younger than most BMHOF inductees. Generally musicians are not even considered until the age of 50 or older.

“I was pretty apprehensive about even seriously being considered due to my tender age of 38. Yet, it proved not to be the great barrier I assumed it might be. I suppose it’s more about what you’ve actually done in the industry or, better yet, for the art of music. At least I’d like to think that,” he said.

Starr has indeed made a vast contribution to the arts. But, he isn’t the only star of the family tree. Alongside him, the Starr family is made up of highly talented musicians that have all earned their place, but Nelson Starr is the first to be inducted.

“I do hope that, eventually, my Father (Nelson Starr III; trumpeter, educator) and brother (Eric Starr; drummer, composer, author) will be considered and inducted. They both deserve it. My grandfather is also worthy of consideration (Nelson Starr II, trumpeter) but he is from the WWII generation and may be, sadly, overlooked,” he said.

Even though Starr feels humbled by the accomplishments of his family he is pleased with his own endeavors.

“I am very proud of the work I have completed on a 3 song EP for Maria Sebastian. She is a true gem and huge talent on worldwide scale. I am also working to complete a, dare I say, masterpiece for a rather upcoming indie-rock group that I am not at liberty to disclose at present, but they are incredible,” he said.

“On the strictly commercial front, the music for season 3 of Court TV’s Psychic Detectives has been in heavy rotation as well as my latest scoring for the new hit show, Missing Persons Unit,” he said.

In addition to that, Starr has several other projects in the works. His most publicly notable accomplishment of recent is touring with former Tea Party frontman Jeff Martin.

“The whole Jeff Martin solo endeavor has come under some stress due to the health issues of drummer Michael Lee. He was a huge part of our presence. Now that he is unavailable, Jeff has had to make some tough decisions as to how to move forward with his solo career and album without him,” he said.

As of now, Martin is touring acoustically using the Toronto Tabla Ensemble as his backing band.

“It’s a pretty neat collaboration that has been somewhat well received. Yet, and this is my opinion, I feel fairly confident that Jeff will have to get back to his heavy rock roots sooner rather than later,” he said.

Starr however moves forward at all times and is planning for the future, which is just as busy, but this time around he has scheduled some time for himself.

“Besides the albums that I will wrap in the next six months, I plan to, very selfishly, carve out time to do my own solo record – a follow up to Segue, my first and only solo release,” he said.

Starr will not only be honored at the induction ceremony tomorrow, but will also bond with several groups.

“I will perform a tune with Party Squad as well as a song solo, and then a couple tunes with the Tails in a sort of reunion,” he said.

The Tails are a group that Starr and his brother, Eric, had achieved great success with in the ’90s, nearly breaking national.

But behind the rock ‘n roll and the chaos of Starr’s music involvement stands an important person in his life. Patty Starr is not only his wife, but his most important sponsor of all.

“Patty is, of course, very excited for me,” he said. “She is my biggest supporter. We are in this together and that can be tough. Music, as we all know, is a real roller-coaster ride.”

The lifestyle that accompanies the business of music can be trying, but Starr is just happy to be part of the club.

“I am just happy to be recognized by my peers and the community. I am honored to join this esteemed club. That’s enough benefit right there.”

Starr’s ceremony will take place Oct. 19 at Club Paradise in Blasdell, N.Y. Also inducted will be Lejaren Hiller, Jim Whitford, Take 6, Joseph Wincenc, Bruce Moser, John Hunt, David Lee Shire, The Soul Invaders, and Mike Meldrum.

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http://spectrum.buffalo.edu/article.php?id=28890

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