Singer-songwriter Jeff Simpson wants to make sure young murder victim didn't die in vain
Trinity has a song now.
The death of three-year-old Trinity Monique Hannah at the hands of her mother’s live-in boyfriend on Jan. 24 rocked the community, touching off an outpouring of sympathy and rage.
That was two months ago.
You don’t hear Trinity’s name mentioned as often anymore, but local singer-songwriter Jeff Simpson hasn’t forgotten.
“The more it was talked about, the more it got into my head,” said Jeff Simpson. “The Sunday after her death I got my iPhone out and just started writing. I could not stop. I was just crying and expressing my feelings.”
That outpouring of grief for a child he didn’t know, but felt a kinship to because he has a two-year-old grandson, turned into “Hear Them Cry,” a song he recorded as a tribute to Trinity and every abused child.
Simpson plans to release the song on iTunes and Amazon on April 1st because April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. He says all proceeds will be donated to the struggle against child abuse.
The song and slideshow are on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E6_RiRCcLc&feature=g-upl&context=G29d5be9AUAAAAAAAAAA
“After I wrote the song I was reading the statistics about child abuse,” Simpson said. “With a problem like this in our midst, I just couldn’t understand how people could be so consumed about who was going to be president or the price of gas.
“Nobody gives a thought about how children are going to grow up. I have friends that were abused as children, and they have issues today because of it.”
He posted “Hear Them Cry” on You Tube Sunday night and is working to schedule a few performances in Bakersfield and hopefully some in Taft. A music video also is in the works.
“I had to get this done,” he said. “It has taken over my world. I’m trying to turn this thing into a positive. I want to try to make some sense of this and show that this child – as young as she was – didn’t die in vain.”
When he started entering his thoughts about Trinity’s death on his iPhone that Sunday morning in late January, he didn’t intend for it to be a song – just his way to vent his frustrations about how society far too often treats its children.
“When I read it to my wife (Loretta), she said ‘this should be a song,’” Simpson said. “I tried two different versions until I was comfortable with it. She said, ‘you need to do something with that. This is important,’” so he decided to record it.
Simpson contacted Eric J. Collom, who has a studio in Bakersfield.
The two hit it off and combined their talents on the recording. That collaboration led to a new band called “A Stones Throw.”
“We found out our minds are very much alike in terms of music,” Simpson said.
He’s been writing and playing music for about 19 years and devotes time to his passion after he’s finished with his day job as a buyer for Oil Dri Taft Production Company, maker of kitty litter products.
He and Loretta have lived in Taft for 15 years and have four children and four grandchildren.
The children keep him focused.
“The word has to get out,” he said. “We need to keep raising awareness about this.”
Like he pleads in his song, “hear them cry, see it on their faces; hear them cry, let’s not make them nameless.”
Simpson is on Facebook (facebook.com/JTandAstonesthrow).