Just Passing Through

(Press release for the Chicago broadcast.)

September 12, 1995

From: HMS Media

2257 Ridge Ave., Suite A1, Evanston, IL 60201
Contact: Jon Meyer @ 708/491-1933

For immediate release -- photos available on request.

WTTW to broadcast HMS Media's music special Just Passing Through.

Engaging documentary spotlights acclaimed musicians Shawn Colvin, October Project and Julia Fordham performing in Chicago.

HMS Media continues its thriving relationship with Chicago PBS member station WTTW-TV with the October 5 broadcast of Just Passing Through, a performance documentary about the grueling and ambitious lives of emerging musicians Shawn Colvin, October Project and Julia Fordham on tour through Chicago. WTTW will premiere Just Passing Through at 11:15pm, "a perfect late night slot for a show about up and coming, hip musicians," says the program's writer and producer, Scott Silberstein.

HMS' two previous specials, Why Am I Hiding and Reality of a Dreamer: The River North Dance Company, were both premiered by WTTW. Like those two previous specials, Just Passing Through was created and produced independently by HMS partners Silberstein and Matt Hoffman to establish a track record of broadcast worthy documentary and entertainment programs, in an effort to attract backing to larger projects. So far, their efforts are succeeding: Why Am I Hiding and Reality of a Dreamer each earned two Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards before receiving national broadcasts (Reality will be seen across the country on PBS on December 20).

Just Passing Through follows Grammy winning singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin and highly acclaimed writer/performers October Project and Julia Fordham during day-long stays in Chicago, tracking their movements as they endure the rigorous schedules and demands of touring. Distinguished by candid and intimate interviews with these very articulate, witty and honest artists, Just Passing Through also features previously unseen live performances in such Chicago venues as The Skyline Stage, The Riviera and Schuba's. In fascinating sequences, the artists are also seen in promotional appearances and on-air performances at Chicago stations WXRT-FM, WCBR-FM, WLUP-FM, WFLD-TV and JBTV. Through it all, Colvin, Fordham and the five members of October Project display the humor and tenacity required by this stressful lifestyle, all the while acknowledging that they love playing to live crowds and recognize that commercial viability requires long stretches of time on the road.

HMS' inspiration for the show began with their own background as musicians (HMS has been nominated for four Emmys for its original scores and regularly composes and produces for television, film, dance and theater). Colvin, Fordham and October Project are among HMS' favorite writers and performers.

"I am always frustrated by programs that promise to show artists up close and personal and wind up showing very little of what they or their life is really like," explains Silberstein. "Our goal was to establish a good rapport with these artists so they could trust us and show us a side of the business that often doesn't make it on TV." The artists in Just Passing Through reveal that touring is much more work than play, and that despite all appearances, it is a lifestyle more grueling than it is glamourous. But the live performances help justify their efforts, as seen in clips from more than twenty songs.

Silberstein and Hoffman continue to be impressed by WTTW's efforts to program their specials in tandem with community events in Chicago. WTTW deliberately scheduled Just Passing Through to precede October Project's appearance October 25 at the Double Door and to come on the heels of new album releases by October Project and Colvin. This practice has had dramatic results in the past: after strategically programming Reality of a Dreamer just prior to River North Dance Company's fall season, River North sold out its season overnight and has been a hot ticket ever since. "That ," says Silberstein, "is public television in action."

HMS was founded in 1988 and became a full-time operation in 1990. Since that time it has earned four Emmy Awards, eleven Emmy nominations, the Gold and Silver Plaques from the Chicago International Film Festival and two Chicago Dance Coalition Ruth Page Awards for Collaborative Artists of the Year for its television and original music work for dance, theater, television and film. While in production for Just Passing Through, HMS also signed and recorded with Phil Collins for an upcoming children's album and television pilot, Kira The Young Hunter, a Grimms' Fairy Tale adaptation for which HMS hopes to be in production in 1996.

All three of Just Passing Through's featured artists are signed to major labels, with several albums and national late-night television appearances to their credit and some of the finest voices and songwriting currently found in popular music. Colvin, formerly of Carbondale, IL and current resident of Austin, Texas, has released three highly acclaimed folk-rock albums, earning one Grammy Award and nominations for two more. Her new release Live '88

comes on the heals of the critically lauded Cover Girl album and the "Young At Heart" duet with Tony Bennett from the film It Could Happen To You. Epic Records artists October Project's self-titled debut album received outstanding reviews for its unique blend of haunting melodies, insightful lyrics and lush, driving arrangements. Their new album Falling Farther In will be released on September 19 and will be followed by a national tour.

Julia Fordham has released four albums on Virgin Records, most recently Falling Forward. Her stunning alto and highly original songwriting have earned her a strong cult following in America and stardom throughout Europe and Japan. She was recently chosen to appear on the outstanding Women For Women benefit CD for breast cancer research and has written songs for several films. Those unfamiliar with these artists will receive a wonderful introduction to some of the most talented musicians in the business, while those who are already fans will be delighted by the previously unheard and unseen performances of hits, cover versions and new arrangements of audience favorites.

Notes: Julia is seen arriving at Chicago's O'Hare airport, being interviewed with Grant Mitchell in the Blackstone Diner, preparing for a concert at Schuba's (including warm-ups and a walk through of her pre-show routine), in the post-concert meet and greet, on the morning after the show in a spontaneous interview in her hotel room, and departing Chicago. Grant and road manager/bassist Steve Greetham are also interviewed. Julia's concert sequences, accompanied by Grant on keyboards and Steve on bass on a couple of songs, include clips from "Where Does The Time Go," "Procelain," "Your Lovely Face," "Manhattan Skyline," "Hope Prayer & Time," the new song "I Want To Call You Baby," and Joni Mitchell's "A Case Of You."

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