Holiday Music Releases to Help Needy Kids

Please excuse my poorly-timed foul language but — holy shit, there are a lot of local musicians getting into the holiday spirit this year! My anxiety level is already pretty high thanks to looming holiday/familial/shopping responsibilities and impending deadlines for our annual “Year in Local Recordings” roundup (2010 has seen an unprecedented amount of high-quality releases). There are also a gazillion holiday-themed live shows to let you know about and I can’t remember a time when there have been more Christmas-themed recordings (from single tracks to full releases) by local artists. Ye Ol’ Music Yule Blog here will be dominated by reports on these abundant activities the next few weeks. Today, we take a look at two holiday releases raising money for kids' charities — one by folksy singer/songwriter David Wolfenberger; the other, a compilation featuring several area performers.—-

• As if things weren’t bad enough in Haiti right now, citizens also have to deal with the deplorable practice of child slavery. The kids — called “Restaveks” — are “kept” by wealthier Haitians and often abused.

Fantastic, internationally-acclaimed local singer/songwriter David Wolfenberger has put together a five-song EP, Chains Shall He Break, in an effort to help put an end to this horrific situation.

All proceeds from the sales of the recording go to the Restavek Freedom Foundation, an organization founded by a former Haitian slave right here in Cincinnati. (If you’d like to donate even just a little bit more to this worthy cause, head to the org’s Web site here.)

The EP (part of Wolfenberger’s series of releases under the pseudonym “Sunrise for Someone”) is available on iTunes here and through most other e-retailers (e-tailers?) for around $5 (or 99 cents per individual track). The songs include wonderful, acoustic-based renditions of Christmas standards like “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night,” as well as the bouncy, humorous “An American Christmas.”

• The full-length compilation The Holiday Sessions: Music In Support of Kidsfed.org is also being released to help children, though these kids are unnecessarily suffering in our own backyard. Produced by New Fidelity Productions’ Chris Madine, Chris Pennington and Jay Reynolds, sales from the 11-track album will help children in the Cincinnati area by extending “school lunch” programs year-round for those in need.

To help alleviate “childhood food insecurity,” head here to donate any amount and then be taken to a page for your album download.

The compilation features an eclectic batch of local musicians performing holiday songs (both original and old/new traditional), running a genre gamut that includes Folk, Reggae, Pop, Rock, Jazz, Soul and Roots music. Below is the full tracklist.

1. The Cliftones (featuring The Holiday Sessions All-Stars) “Do They Know It's Christmas?”

2. Holly Spears “Silent Night”

3. The Rashon Murf Trio “What Child Is This”

4. The Dickens “Light Of The Stable”

5. The Windau Jazztet (featuring Dan Barger) “A Child Is Born”

6. Messerley and Ewing “Snow Is Falling”

7. Jack Burton Overdrive “Mele Kalikimaka”

8. Whitney B Band (featuring Chris Walker) "Warm December."

9. Lucky Spaulding “Season Of Now”

10. Frequency “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

11. Melanie Gregory and Elizabeth Windau “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”

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