Blanket the Homeless Bay Area Charity Album

Riff Magazine: Bay Area musicians join forces for charity album ‘Blanket The Homeless’

A group of Bay Area artists, including Grammy-Award-winning blues artist Fantastic Negrito, rockers the Stone Foxes, Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips and Americana band Rainbow Girls have contributed songs to a new charity album that will benefit the homeless in San Francisco.

The album, called Blanket the Homeless, will benefit the San Francisco organization of the same that that formed following the passing of Robin Williams. Proceeds from sales will be filtered directly to the homeless in the city in the form of blankets, clothes, hygiene products and information about the services available to them.

The album was produced by Marin musician Scott Mickelson, who personally recruited the artists and also contributed a song to the project. The Stone Foxes’ Shannon and Spence Koehler had never worked with Mickelson before signing up.

“There was a feeling of calm knowing that if we threw ourselves in, something good would come of it,” Shannon Koehler said. “That’s the power of a project with a big heart like this. … Hopefully the songs and the project serve as a reminder to let empathy sink in. We need to care about people … who deserve to have those needs met with dignity and respect. A little more empathy from people in power and people like you and me goes a long way.”

The album, which will be released Nov. 8, is comprised of 15 songs—all of them originals other than Fantastic Negrito’s “Working Poor,” which was on his 2016 album, The Last Days of Oakland.

“I chose the track [for the project] because at the rate we are going, we are all just a step from being homeless,” said Fantastic Negrito, whose real name is Xavier Dphrepaulezz, by email from the U.K. “I hope it continues to remind people that we all play a role in helping to address the homeless crisis.”

Other artists include soul group Con Brio, rockers Goodnight, Texas; The Brothers Comatose, John Craigie, Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, King Dream, The Coffis Brothers, Whiskerman and Ken Newman.

Newman is also the cofounder of Blanket The Homeless, which he helped start in 2016, two years after the passing of Robin Williams. Caring for the homeless in San Francisco was an important cause for the comedy icon. The organization began as an outreach campaign in 2014 with Newman and comedian Margaret Cho raising money for those in need in Williams’ name. Over the past three years, the organization has distributed more than 3,500 blankets, as well as food and other supplies, to local homeless communities.

Michelson also produced 2017’s After The Fire: Vol. 1, a charity album that raised thousands of dollars for organizations working with people affected by the massive North Bay firestorm that year.

In addition to the album, some of the musicians will take part in a benefit concert for the organization on Nov. 7 at the Independent in San Francisco. Ticket onsales will be announced soon. See the track listing below.

1. The Stones Foxes – “Million Dollar Shoes”
2. Tim Bluhm – “Clean Me Up”
3. Fantastic Negrito – “Working Poor”
4. Mickelson – “Odd Man Out”
5. Goodnight, Texas – “Someday, Somehow”
6. John Craigie – “Your Sailor”
7. The Brothers Comatose – “Angeline”
8. King Dream – “Many Moons Ago”
9. Whiskerman – “U.S.M.E.” (United States of Mother Earth)
10. Tobias The Owl – “Out Of Place”
11. Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra – “Mad Tom of Bedlam”
12. Rainbow Girls – “American Dream”
13. The Coffis Brothers – “I Ain’t Living In Your World”
14. Ken Newman – “We Should Do This Again”
15. Con Brio – “Body Language” (Live in Amsterdam)

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