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I'll Tell Me Ma

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Beatnik Turtle: 'I'll Tell Me Ma'

Beatnik Turtle: 'I'll Tell Me Ma'

I'll Tell Me Ma

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Beatnik Turtle's album is Sham Rock. hide caption

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Beatnik Turtle's album is Sham Rock.

Note: All this month Second Stage is featuring artists from the RPM Challenge, 'The Wire' magazine's annual open invitation for musicians to produce an entire album in just one month. All songs featured are from CDs written and recorded in Feb.

Beatnik Turtle is a remarkably prolific and fiercely independent rock group based in Chicago. The eight-piece band includes a full horn section and has been making music for the past 11 years. Beatnik Turtle spent all of 2007 releasing a new song every day through its Web site. With that kind of output, it was relatively easy for the band to produce a full album in just one month as part of the RPM Challenge. The result is a collection of Irish drinking songs called Sham Rock.

This is the second year Beatnik Turtle has participated in the RPM Challenge. For this year's album, its members decided to reinvent traditional Irish folk songs. "I'll Tell Me Ma" was originally a children's song.

"It seemed the best candidate for a pop-rock treatment," Beatnik Turtle's Jason Feehan says. "The original song has its roots as an Irish children's song — you know, one of those playground sing-alongs. However, we opted to rock it up, building it off an active guitar line. From there, we added some thick harmonies and horns."

In its 11 years of making music, Beatnik Turtle has released seven albums. Its members write music for TV, film, and theater. This year, they plan to release 12 albums, which will feature the 365-plus songs they wrote in 2007. Feehan and bandmate Randy Chertkow also write books, including The Indie Band Survival Guide: The Complete Manual for the Do It Yourself Musician, due out later this year.