The Baby Llamas

Lifelong dream produces
‘Souvenir’ for Henry County singing duo

By Helen E. McKinney,
Contributing Writer

(March 2002) NEW CASTLE, Ky. - A life-long ambition drove Danny Finnell and Joe Yates to combine their musical talents by recording their first CD, “Souvenir.”
“We just wanted to give it a try,” Yates said. Finnell described their music as adult contemporary, noting they are recording artists, no longer performing artists.
The duo are known as the Baby Llamas. Yates describes the name as a play on words. “It just seemed to fit,” he said.

Photo by Helen McKinney

From left, Joe Yates and Danny Finnell have recently released their first CD by their band, the Baby Llamas. The CD is titled “Souvenir.”

Part of their name refers to the religious Llama and the Hindu notion of re-incarnation. The duo has taken years of personal experience in the musical field, re-incarnating it into a shared vision on their current CD.
Both men provide guitar and vocals, which Yates also backs up with harmonica and keyboards. They assumed the initial recording period would only last a couple of weeks, but it actually took two years to complete.
Finnell’s original goal was to be a songwriter, he said. He and Yates share credit for writing all of the songs on “Souvenir.”
“Some ideas came from true experience,” the Shelby County, Ky., native said.
Yates, a New Castle, Ky., resident, said that when the band decided to stop playing the bar scene they wanted something to show for their many years of hard work. For that reason, this CD is a “souvenir” for them.
Their original bass player, Steve Jenkins, assisted them on the one song during which he sings lead. Jenkins is a former member of a once popular local band, The Misfits.
The CD was recorded at Shelbyville’s BackStreet Studios. Dan Hauck engineered and co-produced it with Mike Broughton. Hauck said the Baby Llamas are “the local version of Steely Dan.”
Four years in the making, BackStreet Studios was at that time searching for a recording project to showcase Hauck’s talent. Contained within what used to be the Shelbyville Greyhound bus terminal, the recording studio is an eclectic mix of Greek Revival and techno industrial furnishings.
The main recording room alone measures 35x60 feet, with ceilings of 10-14 feet. Hauck can provide musical backup for anyone wanting to record a CD but not having the right musicians. Hauck’s resume includes work on the Lonesome Pine specials.
An old-style atmosphere enhances the resulting acoustically engineered sound, said Finnell. Hauck combines computerized technology with vintage amplifiers and vacuum-tube microphones for a unique result.
The Henry County High School video production class used one of the songs on the CD, “What I Got,” to make a video. The class won first prize in a nation-wide contest for their efforts, Finnell said.
Yates, an attorney for the Henry County Board of Education, said this venture came about through his acquaintance with Henry County High School teacher, Steve Gallon. Through their combined efforts, a video was produced using the Baby Llama’s song.
“It’s nice for people to support local musicians,” said Hauck. There are lots of local musicians who find it hard to get the recognition they deserve, he said.
n A copy of the CD can be purchased by calling BackStreet Studios at (502) 633-4612.

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