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Local band Magic City celebrates departed bassist with final album and show

Magic City plays a show Feb 19, 2011 at the Schlafly Tap Room. The band is performing seated on the group bathed in yellow light
Provided by Dana Smith and Magic City
Magic City plays a show Feb 19, 2011 at the Schlafly Tap Room

When St. Louis bassist Anne Tkach died in a house fire in 2015, the members of her band, Magic City, found themselves adrift. The group had been working on a follow-up to Les Animaux Épouvantables, their 2011 driving rock ‘n’ roll album.

Tkach and drummer Sam Meyer kept the group anchored. Without her, the band members weren’t sure how to keep working on the album. Her death made every possibility seem out of the question.

Eventually, the musicians pulled themselves together. This month, they’ll release the album “Le Vie Est Chere” in Tkach’s honor.  It will be their last release as a band. They’ll play one last show at Off Broadway on March 31.

The musicians were working to wrap up the album before Tkach died. Afterwards, they were filled with indecision. Should they write and record more songs? Who would fill her spot.

“That is the finality,” guitarist JJ Hamon recalled. “Like, this is it. This is as far as the album could go.”

The band got back in synch by finishing the songs they’d also recorded while preparing for “Wild and Blue,” a tribute to Tkach organized by local musicians. Magic City performed Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song,” with organist Adam Hesed, Tkach’s partner, on vocals. For Hesed, something clicked with that performance. They knew then that “Tower of Song” would finalize the album. 

Local band Magic City celebrates departed bassist with final album and show
Adam Hesed and JJ Hamon discuss the unorthodox recording process for the title track 'Life is Sweet.'

“Like JJ had said, the album just hadn’t quite been finished and with the finality of her passing it felt like it was time to finish it," Hesed said. “And including that song was a way to do that.”

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Both Hesed and Hamon agree that preparing the album and the final show has been emotionally tough.  It’s bittersweet — a celebration of a dear departed friend. The musicians hope listeners are left with an experience that is mostly sweet – after all, the album’s title loosely translates to “life is dear” or “life is sweet.”

“I listen to it and can’t believe I know these people,” Hesed said. “[We’re] so blessed to have been able to make music together.”

If you go

What: MaGiC CiTy's Rock N' Roll Show

When: March 31

Where: 3509 Lemp Ave, St. Louis

Time: Doors open at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Follow Willis on Twitter: @WillisRArnold

Follow Willis on Twitter: @WillisRArnold

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