Some proceeds to help city’s homelessness
BY ELIZABETH DEPOMPEI | News and Tribune
JEFFERSONVILLE — For Rick and Pam Butsch, their Jeffersonville home is most certainly where their hearts are. So much so that they named their first recorded CD after the 1930s stone structure: 11 Blanchel Terrace.
Inside their home, an eclectic collection of artwork and antique furniture gives visitors insight into the retired English professors. They’ve been told more than once that “this place looks like us.”
Attached to the main house across a breezeway is a studio strewn with stringed instruments and lined with easels of paintings that tell the story of two artists. Now the couple’s story, and the story of their beloved home and community, can be heard through headphones.
While Rick’s been making music for about five decades, last November marked the first time he and his wife produced a fully-fleshed CD together.
“I turned 60 in November and Pam has been on me for a couple years now to start archiving some of my music,” Rick said. “Just for the future of the family, our grandkids.”
Rick turned to his friend, Fred Bogert of Briarpatch Audio Productions in Louisville, to record a CD of songs he had written as far back as the 80s and up to the present. Rick said he expected to sit down in front of a microphone and play his guitar while Pam sang backup and Bogert drank coffee “or [did] whatever he needed to do.”
“But after we finished a couple songs he started saying, ‘Now, what you need here is some bass and how about we put a mandolin in and an accordion,’ ” Rick said.
What followed was a collaboration between musicians like Rick hadn’t before experienced. The musicians swapped ideas, adding instruments and sprinkling in folk, bluegrass and even reggae rhythms here and there. They used a mandolin, a flugelhorn, guitar, drums and a penny whistle, to name a few.
“It just all blossomed, and it’s amazing how it really makes his music stand out,” Pam said.
Before long, the couple knew they had something special, something that hit close to home. The house at 11 Blanchel Terrace became the face of the music. The CD took its name and Rick painted its likeness for the cover art.
“I think a lot of the songs, maybe half of them, deal specifically with the importance of finding a place to call your own and setting up roots, and the importance of family,” Rick said.
The penultimate track brings that idea home in a way the others can’t. Called “Exit 0,” the song aches for Jeffersonville’s homeless. Rick was inspired to write the song after reading about sweeps of homelessness camps under the Interstate 65 viaduct near exit 0 in 2012. The couple later heard about Jesus Cares at Exit 0, a homeless outreach group.
“It moved him so much that he wrote the song, and the song is a beautiful song,” Pam said. “And Fred said, you all need to put this out. You need to do something with it.”
And that’s exactly what they’re doing. Rick and Pam donated half of the proceeds from the sale of the first 70 CDs — around $500 — to Jesus Cares at Exit 0. They hope to keep selling and donating a portion of the proceeds to the organization. Mostly, they hope the music can create awareness and tug at listeners’ heartstrings.
Exit 0 Director Paul Stensrud has yet to listen to the song, but he appreciates the power of music to motivate people into action. And beyond donations, the music might strike a chord with the very people who are in need.
“Hopefully this song may even encourage someone [whose] pride is getting in the way, they may hear that song and they let that pride down and come get the help that they need,” Stensrud said.
Rick and Pam also hope to make enough money from sales to record another CD. What’s nice, they said, is that there’s no pressure to make an income off of their passion for music and for giving back.