Formed in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, this year marks the groups 19th Anniversary remembering the hero’s and victims of 9/11 while honoring musical legends “Gone Too Soon”.
Co-founder Pete Hackel lost family member Paige Farley-Hackel on American Flight #11 along with Paige’s best friend Ruth McCourt Clifford and four-year-old daughter Juliana (Paige’s Godchild) as the three were on a surprise trip to Disney Land as well as to meet Deepak Chopra regarding Paige’s syndicated radio program “Spiritually Speaking”.
Soon after, Peter turned to mentor and blues icon James Montgomery to help make sense of the tragedy. From there, the group “James Montgomery & Friends” was born. “Peter came to me with the project at a time when we were all devastated by the events of 9/11 and over the years it has continued to gel and improve on every level” says co-founder Montgomery. “The events of 9/11 plus our personal and musical history is the glue which holds us together on and off stage”
After years of shows for organizations such as The American Liver Foundation, Pitching In For Kids with Tim Wakefield & Jason Varitek, The American Heart Association’s Race for a Cure at Boston’s Hatch Shell, plus a Boston Music Awards Nomination, the band found itself having to say goodbye to Montgomery as he set out to tour with the legendary Johnny Winter. That prompted Hackel to reach out to Danny Klein of The J. Geils which led to the critically acclaimed follow-up group “Full House…Celebrating The Music of The J Geils Band ”.
Celebrating Those Gone Too Soon
Dozens of philanthropic shows later, in 2011 they reunited with Montgomery for the 10th Anniversary at the place where it all began…on Oct. 2, 2001 at Scullers in Boston. Since then, the group hasn’t looked back. “James helped to inspire me to create something special at a very dark time” says Hackel. “Just by us showing up over the years babies have been born, marriages forged, businesses built, charities benefited and much more. Thus, our slogan “Turning Tragedy into Triumph”. This is just what Paige would have wanted”.
The group now performs as “Soul of A Legend” celebrating those “Gone Too Soon” featuring songs only from iconic artists who perished at Paige’s age (45) or younger including; Freddy Mercury, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Elvis, Keith Moon, Mama Cass-Elliot, Buddy Holly, Marvin Gaye and others and brings each song to life with its multi-screen / multi-media production. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Joey Molland of Badfinger, Charlie Huhn of Foghat and Ian Mitchell of The Bay City Rollers are just a few who have been featured on stage with SOAL, and truth be told, you just never know who’s going to show up at a Soul of A Legend performance!
< hr />
More on Our Story: Early on the morning of September 11th, Paige, Ruth and Juliana left Paige’s home in Newton for Logan Airport. Although travelling together, Paige & Ruth had independent flights to make use of frequent flyer miles. Paige was booked on American Airlines Flight #11 while Ruth and Juliana were on United Flight #175. Also, Ruth’s brother Ron McCort, arrived at the World Trade Center fifteen minutes early for a business meeting. As he paced the lobby waiting, he felt the building shake. It was the impact of American Flight #11 hitting the North Tower. While Ron helped evacuate the building, he witnessed United Flight #175, the plane unbeknownst to him carrying his sister and niece, crash into the South Tower. Never Forget.