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Mannheim Steamroller Releases Patriotic Tribute <i>American Spirit</i> - 2003-06-28

"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." That's how the ever-popular Mannheim Steamroller describes their latest album, American Spirit. VOA's Doug Levine tells us more about this patriotic tribute by the group that brought us the best-selling series Fresh Aire and Christmas.

Mannheim Steamroller's American Spirit might just make you feel right at home at a Fourth of July picnic or a major league baseball game on a lazy summer afternoon. With help from the Mannheim Steamroller Symphony and the Chicago Symphony Chorus, American Spirit is Mannheim's latest in a long line of eclectic recordings that have left some people wondering, what is Mannheim Steamroller?

Mannheim Steamroller was formed by Chip Davis who composed his first chorale in honor of, what else, his dog. A member of his college concert band and later of the Norman Luboff Choir, he worked as a jingle writer for a Nebraska advertising agency.

In 1974, Davis teamed up with co-worker Bill Fries create the fictional character C. W. McCall and the number one novelty hit, Convoy.

From the "something old" department on Manneheim Steamroller's American Spirit, Chip Davis and Bill Fries, the voice of C.W. McCall, with Convoy.

The sudden success of Convoy led to the formation of Davis' American Gramaphone label and Mannheim Steamroller. Calling his music "18th century classical rock," Davis recorded the synthesizer and bass guitar album Fresh Aire, mainly for stereo showrooms. It became so popular he turned it into a hit series. Today, Fresh Aire and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas icontinue to sell millions of copies worldwide.

The group's new album American Spiritz reunites Chip Davis with Bill Fries, who provides words and narration on several songs.