Music With a Purpose: Joey’s Song, Volume 2

Musicians have a long tradition of giving. Sure, they give to all of us with the music that they share. Yet they also have a penchant for supporting meaningful causes. Over the next few weeks we will highlight several releases that demonstrate this giving spirit.

You’ve got to admire perseverance, especially in pursuit of a noble cause. Such is the case with Joey’s Song, the now 4-disc series raising money to find a cure for epilepsy.

Joey's SongA young boy named Joey Gomoll is the inspiration for this series. When Joey tragically passed away from epilepsy in 2010, his father launched himself on a quest to raise money for a cure. An impressive array of artists joined the effort, culminating in the release of the two disc Joey’s Song Volume 2 collection.

The “adult” disc brings together artists ranging from Roseanne Cash to Gary Louris to Mark Erelli. It features a mix of live and studio tracks, tending towards simple ballads and relaxed mid-tempo songs. The live tracks stand-out, in particular, for their cozy and inviting feel.

Gary Louris and Mark Olson of the Jayhawks both contributed solo tracks. Olson’s “No Water No Wood” has his typical organic feel to it, while Louris unearths “In The Canyon,” a lost gem from the Jayhawks archives. His live solo acoustic take hits the spot with Louris wrapping his voice around the song’s soaring chorus.

Mark Erelli offers up the charming “Once,” the warmth of his voice matched only by that of his guitar. Memphis newcomers Star and Micey pick up the tempo with the playful “Love” while power pop singer Wisely takes a catchy melody and gives it a rootsy feel with a yearning pedal steel guitar.

The exquisite “Far Too Far” comes from duo Trespassers William, a band who are, alas, no longer together. Singer Anna-Lynne Williams has a stunning voice that breathes extra emotion into the mournful song.

Fitting for its youthful cause, there is a companion release of songs for children. While some, such as Freedy Johnston’s “Sparky the Heroic Dog,” are clearly meant for young ears, many are really multi-generational.

Stand-outs include The Knack’s opening “The Spinning Song,” which recalls the acoustic-driven style of the band America. The Baseball Project pitch an insistent take on “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” perfect for a family sing-along.

San Llanas, formerly of the Bodeans, wraps his lustrous voice around the ballad “Child Asleep.” “Nothing is more beautiful to me than my child asleep, peaceful sleep,” he sings against a gentle acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Roseanne Cash, whose live “Seven Year Ache” is a centerpiece for the “adult” disc, best captures the sentiment of this release. “Don’t you know heartaches are heroes when their pockets are full,” she sings. It is a line worthy of the Joey’s Song collection.

(Click here for Twangville’s review of Joey’s Song, Volume 1.)

Audio Download: Mark Erelli, “Once (live)”

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About the author:  Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.

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