Kind-hearted musicians from across the U.S. and Japan are teaming up on a new album. The CD project is dedicated to assisting those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Musicians Assisting Disaster Efforts, A Conscious Alliance of Voices, Vol. 1, is the title. The Deep Fried Pickle Project is producing the CD and will partner with Conscious Alliance, a Colorado-based non-profit organization. The album is set to start shipping in early December just in time for holiday stockings. The Pickle and Conscious Alliance Families hope the spirit of giving continues on into the new year.

"As soon as we saw Katrina's news coverage we knew we had to do something to help," says Daniel "Boone" Daniel, CD Project Coordinator. Boone's band, the Deep Fried Pickle Project traveled the country over the past two summers meeting and fellowshipping with other bands. "I figured I might as well ask all our newfound musician friends if they would like to lend a pickin' hand with the album."

Most groups DID want to help. To date, the CD's roster includes Umphrey's McGee, the Gourds (who wrote a song about the beloved city of New Orleans just for the album), Split Lip Rayfield, Hit and Run Bluegrass, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Jefferson Hamer with Ben Kauffman from Yonder Mountain String Band, Zen, Kathryn Keats with Darol Anger, Cornmeal, Steppin' In It, Toni Brown Band, the Tallboys, Jah Sun, Stairwell Sisters, plus a few "surprise bands" and of course Boone's band- the Deep Fried Pickle Project.

The CD's musical styles range from bluegrass to honky-tonk to rock to reggae zydeco-funk, to Dixieland style-jazz. "It's hard to find an album with this much diversity, and such extraordinary musicianship" says Daniel, of the eclectic compilation." I think the folks that purchase this one-of a-kind CD will be inspired by the quality of music, as well as the amount of heart and soul these bands are injecting into the music."

That excitement is shared by the Conscious Alliance crew. "I love working with folks from the music scene in this way. The M.A.D.E. project allows music lovers a way to give back" says Evan Baker, Conscious Alliance Office manager, Truck Driver, and Jack of all trades. Conscious Alliance has made a name for themselves in the jamband scene, having taken their mobile, organization-on-wheels to concerts by friends Umphrey's McGee, STS9, Jack Johnson, Dave Mathews Band and the String Cheese Incident.

In the weeks following the disaster, the C.A. crew has taken truckloads of food and supplies to Houston. SCI's fall Japan tour brought the Alliance along for the ride, helping promote awareness about hunger and need.

All funds from the benefit CD sales (minus shipping and handling) will be used to provide food, baby formula, baby supplies, toys and other supplies to hurricane victims during the holidays. Daniel "Boone" Daniel also hopes to deliver musical instruments to some of the New Orleans musicians who have lost their livelihood. Woodwind and Brasswind, based in South Bend Indiana, has agreed to donate musical equipment.

For their part, musicians were asked to submit songs in the following themes- "Disaster and Hope" Says Selvidge of the DFPP, "I wrote the song 'When's it Gonna Rain' in church, so its got a lot of biblical references to water. Fact is, it rains when you don't want it to and doesn't when you do. The song has a rocking, gospel feel to it that makes you want to start speaking in tongues!," said Daniel. West Virginia's Zen sings a song about feeling good after bad times in "Feels Good to Feel Good." Said Mark Branciaroli, Zen's mandolin and guitar player, "We need something to help us all feel good, again and again and again."

"M.A.D.E. will be the first album of its kind that I know of," says Boone. With a lineup of some of the best bands from the "Americana" scene, the limited edition album is already being talked about on many message boards. "This is a big undertaking and we certainly use the help of wonderful grass roots folks to help publicize the album. Please spread the good word. Boone tells us, "We know our efforts will pay off for the people affected by this disaster. M.A.D.E. will spread a little sunshine after the storm." For information on how you can help, go to www.consciousalliance.org or www.pickleproject.com and click on "contact."

[Published on: 11/21/05]

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