Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Little Egg Harbor resident named country female songwriter of the year at Josie Music Awards in Nashvillle

Photo by Ryan Morrill
Surrounded by just some of her many awards,
Inchierchiera proudly shows off her newest addition.
Standing on the same stage where the Country Music Awards were recently held at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Carmella Inchierchiera, 65, of Little Egg Harbor was named country female songwriter of the year last month at the Josie Music Awards, the largest awards event ever held in Nashville for independent music artists.
The local songwriter has won more than 40 awards throughout her career. Six were for songwriter of the year from various national and global radio stations and associations, including two from Fishing Country Now and Cowgirl Divas Radio also received this year.
“But this was the biggie,” she said. “It just shows that even though you don’t perform you can still get your music out there.”
Influenced by the country music she listened to growing up while her father worked as a truck driver, Inchierchiera began writing poetry at 16 years old that many people told her seemed more like song lyrics. But it wasn’t until 2008, when she contacted Nelson Blanchard for a demo for her song “Mama Can Drive This Big Truck Too,” that her career in songwriting really took off.
“It blew me away,” Inchierchiera said. “I could not believe the vocals and harmonies. I was in tears. Every time I get a demo back from him it’s like Christmas.”
Blanchard began playing in clubs at 10 years old with The Richard Brothers and now performs with Louisiana’s LeRoux. He’s worked with many other big-name artists, including Kenny Rogers, Sammy Kershaw, The Goo Goo Dolls and Britney Spears, to name a few.
Since connecting with Blanchard, Inchierchiera's songs have been performed by well-known artists such as country singer Tareva Henderson, hall of fame fiddler Larry Franklin and “Scooby-Doo” voiceover Scott Innes.
Because Blanchard's expertise has helped Inchierchiera forge many musical relationships, she said she won’t work with anybody else.
“We gelled,” she said. “People call us the power duo.”
The two of them co-wrote “Fallen Heroes 9/11,” which was nominated for the 2012 song of the year by the Independent Country Music Association. While the song resonates with many people across the country, it also has special meaning for Inchierchiera since her husband, Paul, is a certified 9/11 survivor. Paul was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma after working for the New York City Department of Sanitation during the 9/11 attacks.
“They were bringing in debris there, and it was all over the trucks,” Inchierchiera stated.
Although follicular lymphoma is incurable, she said her husband’s cancer thankfully is in remission.
Another one of Inchierchiera’s popular songs, “Just Imagine the Storm,” which focuses on Superstorm Sandy, is dedicated to her late son, Genaro, who helped rescue 12 people as a volunteer in Staten Island during the storm. He passed away a year later while undergoing unrelated heart surgery.
During the aftermath of Sandy, “Just Imagine the Storm” reached No. 1 on the song charts.
Inchierchiera has had a 2½-year run on the Indie Music Network’s country and mainstream charts with a total of 17 songs, 14 of which made the top 10.
But Inchierchiera doesn’t typically make money off her songs. Rather, she does it for the joy it brings to her and other people’s lives as well as the experience she gets from working with so many different people.
“I have no interest in making a profit off my music,” said Inchierchiera. “I don’t believe I’d be as successful as I am if I had done it for money because I would be so wrapped up in money instead of making connections. I just love doing it. Everything inspires me. I do it for my fans, really.”
Inchierchiera has made several charity CDs to help raise funds for the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill as well as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, among others.
Her advice to others in the songwriting business is “promote, promote, promote.”
“When you think you’re done, start all over. You have to demo up as much as you can as best you can,” she urged, noting it’s much easier to get into the industry now that there are so many opportunities through the Internet that weren’t afforded to her when she was younger.
“Songwriters Two,” her latest CD co-written by Blanchard, will be available for purchase this month on iTunes.
To hear some of her songs, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cat found shot in the head in Manahawkin recuperates in foster home

A young, female cat found barely alive in the wooded area at the end of Stafford Avenue in Manahawkin with a gunshot wound is now recovering in a foster home. A Stafford Veterinary Hospital receptionist is caring for the tan and brown domestic shorthair tiger cat at home and is expected to adopt her in the future.
Dr. Michael Pride, the veterinarian overseeing the cat’s treatment, wants to make sure the home is a good fit before formally adopting her out, though he said things are going well so far.
Photo via Stafford Veterinary Hospital
A vet receptionist is currently fostering the
cat at home and plans to ultimately adopt her.
“Her basic, normal functions are there. So I think she will be a nice cat, just quiet,” Pride said.
The cat, which veterinary staff had named Lucky, was rushed to the hospital on Oct. 12 after Stafford Township Animal Control Officer Kelly Karch responded to a call from a local resident who found the cat shot in the right side of her head, and another that was pronounced dead at the scene, while walking his dog that morning. The surviving cat underwent emergency surgery, and Pride removed bullet fragments from behind her jaw and in her skin. Her lungs also had quite a bit of fluid in them.
“Honestly, I’m not sure how she survived,” Pride said.
The cat is currently on antibiotics and pain killers and is being treated for a wound infection. She’s also being watched closely because she is experiencing some neurological deficits from the trauma.
“She kind of stares off into space, and she’s rather reclusive,” Pride said, adding that “she’s very jumpy” and doesn’t always seem to notice when a person’s there until they’ve touched her.
Though Pride said this type of assault is not common in the area, he noted that BBs have been found unexpectedly in other animals during X-rays. Since they’re not fresh wounds, he said they leave the BBs there.
Pride isn’t optimistic that the perpetrator responsible for the recent shooting will be found. No witnesses have come forward, he said.
“It was a good Samaritan who found them, and unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere past that,” said Pride. “But the good thing is that one of the cats survived and she’s in a home. We’re going to check up on her frequently.”
In the wake of the incident, a concerned citizen has offered a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the shooting. Since then, another citizen has come forward offering an additional $500 reward.
“I just think that it was such a cowardly act that the perpetrator should face pressure and that it will serve to hopefully discourage similar acts,” said Steve Jaffe, a Beach Haven homeowner, who is offering the additional reward. “Hopefully if I join in, others will, too, and at the very least the person responsible will have some sleepless nights.”
Lt. James Vaughn said the Stafford Police Department has no suspects or concrete leads.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.