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.
I’ve always had one complaint about Jones Street Station. It has nothing to do with their songwriting or lively performances, both filled with alluring melodies and rich harmonies. Rather it has to do with their sporadic releases. In their seven years formally performing as a band, the group has released just two albums and a lone ep. It quite simply hasn’t been enough!
Apparently it takes the geographic dispersion of the band to spark new releases. Although the four members are now spread from Boston to LA, they’ve just launched a project to release a song a week for the next year.
The band have dubbed this the “Perennials” project and have infused the releases with a charitable purpose. Each song is paired with a charity, recognizing and supporting one charity per month. The list is impressive: Charity Water, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Musicians on Call, Cause Effective, Rosie’s Place, Camp Interactive, Old Town School of Folk Music, Housing Works, The Trevor Project, Para Los Ninos, and Evacuteer.org.
And the music? We’re five songs in and I’m hooked. “For a Lifetime” kicks off the series on a high note, with a quiet opening building to a rousing close. Week two brought “Henry Dryer,” a song inspired by diary of a late 19th century Mississippi steamboat crewman. “You Can Wait,” week three’s selection, has a theatrical quality to it while week four’s Deadwood-inspired “The Murder of Wild Bill Hickock” is a fine piece of musical folklore.
A nice feature is the commentary that accompanies each release. The band shares the story behind each song, a fascinating peek behind the curtains of the songwriting process. This is most notable on “One Day,” the latest release in the series. The song imagines two ex-lovers who later block out one another’s existence. “Nothing left to mark our fall / The greatest years become so small / One day I won’t recognize you at all.”
I figure that the boys are either making up for lost time or putting me in my place. Either way, I’ll take the music, thank you.
Visit the band’s web site to download each week’s song and learn more about the project and associated charities.
Audio Download: Jones Street Station, “For a Lifetime”
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.