Music for a Rainy Day: The Low Anthem

Founded in 2006 by Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky, The Low Anthem are an indie-folk band from Providence, RI who use an amazing collection of traditional instruments (clarinet, saw (my personal favorite), and dulcimer) in combination with a rock setup to achieve a truly stirring sound.  The band – which now includes one-time NASA tech Jocie Adams and multi-instrumentalist Mat Davidson – also use multi-part harmonies that attest to their shared interest in gospel, blues, and folk.  The result is a sound that is simultaneously engages both our shared sense of Americana and our desire to hear something fresh.

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JBM Performs M.Ward’s “Carolina” for The Voice Project

We’ve talked about The Voice Project before, and today they continue their tradition of bringing us excellent, intimate cover performances with JBM (Jesse Marchant) doing a cover of M.Ward’s “Carolina.”  It’s a touching performance of a song that Jesse says is “…just a beautiful song,” as well as “one of the favorites of my mother, as well.”  Have a listen:

JBM » M. Ward from The Voice Project on Vimeo.

News: Billy Bragg Covers Joanna Newsom for The Voice Project

We’ve mentioned The Voice Project before, and I’d really suggest you check out our previous post or visit their site.  That said, we’ve shown you videos from Peter Gabriel, Joseph Arthur, and Mike Mills.  In that Mike Mills video, we were treated to a cover of Billy Bragg’s “Sing Their Souls Back Home.”

And now, it’s Bragg’s turn to give us a cover of Joanna Newsom’s “On a Good Day.”  It’s a lovely, intimate version, and I won’t waste any more time by trying to render it in prose.  So, follow me, check it out, and then go visit the fine folks of The Voice Project:

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Things I Should’ve Mentioned…

Hey, everyone!  Welcome to another installment of our news round-up series… Lots of nifty things going on, this week, and so we’ll just get right to it.

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A Good Cause: The Voice Project

One of the amazing things about music is its ability to bridge gaps and unite people for a common, peaceful purpose.  All too often, when confronted with the great injustices of the world, we find ourselves thinking: “Hey, I’m just one person.  What can I do?”

Well, the Voice Project believes that one voice can make a real difference.  Here’s a bit about the mission:

A peace movement is an incredible thing, people coming together, mobilizing like an army, and in this case armed not with guns but with songs and something more powerful than than any bullet; compassion, the strength of human will, and determination.

For over two decades war has ravaged Northern Uganda. It is Africa’s longest running conflict and it has spread to Southern Sudan and Eastern Congo. Joseph Kony’s LRA has made abducting children and forcing them to fight his chief weapon of war, even making them kill their friends and family members. Many abductees and former soldiers escape but hide in the bush, afraid to return home because of reprisals for the atrocities they were forced to commit.

The women of Northern Uganda – widows, rape survivors, and former abductees have been banding together in groups to support each other and those orphaned by the war and diseases so prevalent in the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps. And they are singing songs. The lyrics let the former soldiers know that they are forgiven and that they should come home. The songs are passed by radio and word of mouth out into the bush, as far as the Sudan and DR Congo. And it’s working. Former LRA are returning and for the first time 24 years the region has a chance at real peace.

The Voice Project is an attempt to support these incredible women and the peace movement in Uganda, and an effort to see how far a voice can carry. And although we are a non-profit, we don’t see what we do as charity, but rather a partnership and an exchange of value. The strength, the message, and the art of these women and their peace movement can benefit the world, and in return we can help spread their message as well as help provide them with basic necessities and the tools to sustain their efforts and themselves. We have two main goals, to AMPLIFY the message in their songs in order to support the peace movement, and to assist them in their efforts to EMPOWER themselves economically in order to better their lives, create real social change, and to sustain peace. Please join us and be a link in this incredible chain that the women have started, help spread the word or donate to the cause.

Music and word of mouth, it can end wars, it can change the world. These incredible women have shown us that. Pass it on.

They’ve worked hard to further efforts to rehabilitate child soldiers, and to bring vocational training to these war-torn parts of Africa.  They’ve also assembled musicians who have raised their voices in support of this cause.  Why not check them out at twitter and facebook, and on their own site, and then follow me for a couple of great videos:

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