This holiday season and beyond, shoppers will have the opportunity to help the homeless with the purchase of a collection of songs performed by local musicians and produced by the Fremont Public Association (FPA).
All of the proceeds from the "Songs for Shelter" CD will go directly to the FPA, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter, food, advocacy and care for people in need throughout Seattle and King County, The agency helps 25,000 families each year through its 27 programs.
The FPA also produces the Fremont Fair every year.
From donors to performers
Mike Buchman, annual campaign administrator for the Fremont Public Association, produced the CD, which grew out of a conversation he had with guitarist, singer and songwriter Reggie Garrett. Garrett and his wife, Linda, have been regular donors to the FPA for almost 20 years.
"The Fremont Public Association is a very good organization that works on the local level," Garrett said. "I'm glad that they asked me [to participate]."
The CD features Seattle musicians and bands performing 15 songs, 10 of which were recorded or written specifically for the project and are unavailable on any other release. Primarily folksy, songs on the CD range from blues to funk to traditional Irish music to rock.
"I think it's a nice selection of music," American-roots musician Orville Johnson said. "I was happy and proud to be a part of it."
His bluesy song "The Sleeper," which Johnson says is about "the little space between when you are awake and when you fall asleep," is included on the album.
Johnson plays several different instruments on the song, including acoustic and electric guitar, dobro (a type of slide guitar) and some percussion.
Bassist Keith Lowe, clarinetist Mark Graham and percussionist Will Dowd also play on the track.
He chose the song, one of his favorites, because of its spiritual quality: "I think the CD is all about the spirit of giving."
The CD also includes songs by such world-renown performers as Laura Veirs, fiddler Martin Hayes, Laura Love and Danny O'Keefe.
Also featured are Grace Hearn and Michael Savage; Paul Benoit; Radio Nationals; Jim Page; Carrie Clark; Electric Bonsai Band; Artis the Spoonman; Slim Pickens; and Wayne Horvitz and Robin Holcomb.
Horvitz and Holcomb's jazz tune "I've Been All Around This World" marks Horvitz's first recorded vocal.
Garrett contributed "When Daddy Gets This Way," a song written specifically for the CD, about a child coping with his father's alcoholism. "When Daddy Gets This Way" and many of the other songs speak to issues surrounding homelessness.
In Jim Page's song "Too Much Money," also written for the project, the folksinger proposes a "maximum wage."
"The irony is that artists are often closer to the realities of poverty than many of our other donors and volunteers," Buchman said. "Many of them live close to the economic fault line and have great sympathy and support for our programs."
Raising funds, awareness
The 10-month project has received strong community support. The musicians donated their work, and four recording studios provided free studio time. Songs from the CD also have been aired on the radio.
All proceeds from sales of the $15 CD will go to support the Fremont Public Association's shelter, case-management and homelessness-prevention programs.
"As the cliché goes, it's the gift that keeps on giving," Buchman said.
The CD release party, held Dec. 13 at The Triple Door downtown, raised more than $3,000 in ticket and CD sales. To date, the FPA has sold about 200 CDs.
But beyond raising money, the FPA also hopes to raise awareness and motivate people to get involved. Some additional performances in coordination with the CD are planned, including a concert in the Broadview House Concert Series this spring and a concert next September hosted by the Seattle Folklore Society, with Garrett and Page.
The CD is available at:
* Rubato Records in Wallingford;
* Sonic Boom Records in Fremont;
* Dusty Strings in Fremont;
* The Grateful Bread in Wedgwood;
* The Landing in the Roosevelt neighborhood;
* Not a Number Cards & Gifts in Wallingford; and
* Silver Platters in Northgate.
The CD is also available on the web at www.fremontpublic.org/songsforshelter.html and www.cdbaby. com/cd/fremontpa, or by contacting Mike Buchman, at 694-6802.
Jessica Davis writes about arts and entertainment for the Herald-Outlook. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.