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Song for Sandy Hook an unexpected blessing for band

By Bill Lynch, Staff writer
Courtesy photo
Building on the power of one song, The Alternate Routes want to use their music to spread kindness and compassion.

A good song can do wonders for a musician.

Tim Warren of The Alternate Routes, who perform Friday at Huntington’s Pullman Square, said his band might not have recorded its most recent record if not for one good song, "Nothing More," which it recorded last fall. 

"It was, frankly, the reason why we were able to finance our own record, the reason why we were able to record the other songs," he said.

The singer said he and songwriting partner/Alternate Routes co-founder Eric Donnelly wrote the song on behalf of Newtown Kindness, an organization created by the parents of Charlotte Bacon, a 6-year-old killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook School Massacre. Newtown Kindness promotes kindness as a guiding principle of humanity.

"Writing that song changed us," Warren said. "It made us better songwriters. It just made us better people."

For a song written about one of the worst mass shootings in American history, the song is devoid of politics or blame. It is more of a hymn of compassionate solidarity and encouraging people to treat each other with love.

The song became a viral hit.

"People took it to heart," Warren said. "They started making videos for it. That's been really amazing."

The song was featured on last season’s Christmas episode of “NCIS” and used during the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Warren said the response to "Nothing More" has been very gratifying, though the Alternate Routes have tried to stay on the positive side of things since Donnelly and Warren started playing music together in college more than 10 years ago.

"We just try to approach things from a grateful place," he said.

That’s not always easy. Everybody has bad days and rough patches.

"But we're just not interested in being too cynical at this point," he said. "So, we work at policing that in our songwriting."

Warren said he and Donnelly have a good partnership. The pair met while studying at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

"I was a marketing and finance major," he explained. "Eric studied philosophy and music."

They met and began writing songs early on, though Warren said Donnelly was more adept musically — at least in the beginning.

"Eric started out as our chord advisor," Warren said. "But we became partners. We both generate ideas and now finish each others sentences, if you will."

"Nothing More" gave the band the financial breathing room to start work on a new record. However, to complete it, Warren and Donnelly turned to the crowd-funding site pledgemusic.com.

As with Kickstarter or Indiegogo, fans can pledge different levels of support to a project and are entitled to different premiums once the goal is met.

"But pledge on our album and you get three songs off the bat, just for pledging," Warren said.

The pledge period continues through August 24. Warren said the actual amount the band is trying to raise is confidential, but thus far the band has raised over 40 percent of its goal. 

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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