From a media release:
NBC network stars, country and bluegrass Hall of Famers joined their voices for drug abuse prevention on a project that created the first major bluegrass collaboration featuring numerous legendary performers with a TV show cast.
"In the Heat of the Night" stars Alan Autry, “Bubba Skinner,” and Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode,” organized the effort under Autry-Franks Productions bringing together the cast and numerous stars of country, bluegrass and gospel music to assist.
Autry and Franks just released “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” CD on Itunes and Amazon.com still focusing on its original purpose.
“Last year we heard from many Heat fans who were really pleased that we once again made the actual CD available,” Franks said. “Folks can still hold a piece of the show’s history in their hands by getting the CD including photos of the cast and of the historic recording sessions. But now, in addition if they just want to download the music or simply hear a sample they can. Their download and CD purchases help us help others.”
Franks was the studio producer on the eight-month long production that included over 60 performers, visited seven studios in four states, included 12 recording engineers and took over 175 studio hours to complete.
“Whether its Carroll O’Connor’s ‘Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella,’ Crystal Fox and her version of ‘The Christmas Song’ or Alan Autry’s ‘Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer’, there are some musical tastes that fit almost every palate,” Franks said.
The CD was originally released in association with Sonlite Records, Crimson Records and MGM Worldwide Television Group and debuted officially from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry with a special appearance by Franks, Autry and show co-star David Hart. It is available again in association with original partner Sonlite Records, but this time exclusively through the non-profit Share America Foundation, Inc. continuing the original purpose denoted by the cast and music stars.
Autry and Franks ("Let’s Live Everyday Like It Was Christmas") joined other cast members including the late Carroll O'Connor, the late Howard Rollins ("The Night Before Christmas"), Anne-Marie Johnson ("Little Drummer Boy"), Hart (""Let It Snow), Geoffrey Thorne ("I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"), and Fox to perform a favorite Christmas song. Other cast members including Wilbur Fitzgerald, Bob Penny and Sharon Pratt joined in on group performances of "Jingle Bells" and "Christmas Time's A Comin'.''
Franks and Autry brought together several music stars that donated their performances. Among them Country Music Hall of Fame members Jimmy Dickens, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, the late Kitty Wells, the late Pee Wee King, and the late Grant Turner.
Other stars included Jesse McReynolds, the late Jim McReynolds, Jerry Douglas, the Whites, Mac Wiseman, the Marksmen Quartet, Ralph Stanley, the Lewis Family, the late Doug Dillard, the late Chubby Wise, Mose Davis, Bobby Wright, the late Johnnie Wright, the late Josh Graves, the late Jimmy Martin, Buddy Spicher, Jim Hoke, Abe Manuel, Jr., Ken Holloway, John Farley, Bill Everett, the late Gene Daniell and Wayne Lewis.
The project includes the sounds of bluegrass, jazz, rhythm and blues, Cajun, country and pop.
Fans can also Like the project on its new Facebook page and find original cast interviews about the project at Randall Franks TV on YouTube.
The CD is also available online at www.shareamericafoundation.org or via mail for a donation of $20, inside the U.S., and $25, outside the U.S., to the Share America Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 42, Tunnel Hill, Ga. 30755.
Alan Autry is currently appearing in the TV series "Hart of Dixie" while Franks is acting in films with his latest project coming to theaters in 2014.