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A sweet session in Carlisle

CARLISLE -- From stem to stern is the how the $2 million renovation of the Blue Jay Recording Studio in Carlisle was described. And it looked the part on Wednesday night as nearly 200 people toured the recording studio, which is tucked into an earth mound just off the road near an auto repair shop.

Co-owners Marcus Siskind and Kevin Richardson, a former Backstreet Boy, welcomed guests and showed off the state-of-the-art facilities. There were no drinks or refreshments near the sound board, but an exception was made for Richardson, who was in the area in between appearing in the musical "Chicago" in New York and joining the "Chicago" cast in London.

Among those on hand were a slew of music industry types including Sony recording artist Rachel Loy (she recently signed with the label), Boston native Dre Robinson (a rap artist Siskind just signed), DJ/producer Clinton Sparks, and former Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes.

When college sophomore Grace Potter, an aspiring singer-songwriter from Vermont, got through with one of her songs, she opened her eyes to see Richardson standing at the end of the piano. "That's embarrassing," she said.

"No, it's not embarrassing at all," Richardson said. "That was great."

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