Down in Naptown

Annapolis Musicians Debut Music Video

By Cheryl Costello

For this year’s Giving Tuesday, the global generosity movement that traditionally follows Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, an Annapolis-based group that supports struggling musicians came up with an idea.

The Annapolis Musicians Fund for Musicians (AMFM) debuted a first-of-its-kind song and video this week, featuring more than 70 local musicians ages 7 to 73. The song “(This is the Way We Do It) Down in Naptown” is performed at landmark locations around the Annapolis area, by artists from established acts like Jimmie’s Chicken Shack and up-and-coming musicians like Daphne Eckman and Davonne D’Neil.

The song channels the New Orleans brass band tradition, but also “features a diversity of distinctly Annapolis styles and instrumentation, from electronica to steel drums, pedal steel to a deejay scratching, and more,” according to AMFM.

AMFM board member Leah Weiss emphasizes, “Everything about this video is local, including the production crew.”

AMFM is a nonprofit created to provide temporary financial relief to professional musicians who count on gigs for their income. It supports musicians who can’t work due to sickness, injury, or any other circumstance leaving them unable to perform—including closures linked to a global pandemic.

AMFM stepped up big time to help with COVID-19 impacts, providing more than $200,000 in benefits solely for COVID relief to area musicians.

The new song is catchy and full of energy. Jeff Muller, executive producer on the video, says it was quite a feat to pull off, working with 70 performers on a single song. The musicians all recorded their portion of the video separately. Muller worked with the Naptown Brass Band to record the base track you hear throughout the video.

“We’ve never before done a project quite like this, bringing together such a wealth of Annapolis talent for one song,” says AMFM board president Matt McConville. “We’re building community during a time when our usual live events aren’t happening and we need music perhaps more than ever. This is a testament to the uniquely supportive and collaborative music community that Annapolitans enjoy.”

With lines like, “Holland Beach down to Parole, ain’t no doubt that we got soul,” locals are sure to love the video. The State House, U.S. Naval Academy, and City Dock all make an appearance.

Newer musician D’Neil says the video is about Annapolis taking care of its own. She hopes music fans get a sense of unity from the song. “That’s one thing I know the Annapolis community kind of pushes, and in the video you see everybody coming together—so many people from all walks of life,” she says.

In addition to keeping professional musicians afloat, AMFM provides scholarship funds and grants to educate young Annapolis area musicians, with an emphasis on underserved communities. AMFM’s goal for the Giving Tuesday campaign is to raise $18,000.

Watch the full music video here: