Holiday Benefit 2 / Various
Comprised of eleven tracks from some of New York City's finest emerging artists plus their collective cover of 'Happy XMas (War Is Over),' A Holiday Benefit, Vol II is a charity CD spanning the sacred (Brent Shuttleworth's 'The God In You"), the profane (Derek James & Kyle Paas' "Mele Kalilkimaka"), plus plenty of rockin' holiday tracks in-between (Bryan Dunn's "Father Christmas"). All proceeds from A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II will be donated to 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II participants first gathered at Kyle Paas and Jeffrey Swart's Kingsland Studios in Brooklyn, spending an October Sunday afternoon together recording their cover of the 1971 John Lennon classic. Each was then tasked with covering a favorite holiday tune, or penning a new one. The results are decidedly different, and surprising. Kelley McRae delivers a playful version of "Winter Wonderland," Deena Goodman, Dov Rosenblatt & Rosi Golan team for an acoustic rendition of the traditional, "Ma'otzur," while Benjamin Wagner and Jamie Leonhart turn Elvis' "Blue Christmas" into a heartbreaking duet. More surprising, though, is the breadth and depth of the brand-new songs, like Nate Campany's melancholy "Be Home For Christmas" and Ian Axel's "This Is The New Year." The now-annual A Holiday Benefit series was conceived by singer/songwriter Benjamin Wagner as a means for local artists to give back to the community from which the participating artists were born. Last year's "A Family Holiday Benefit" featured local faves Wakey! Wakey!, The Undisputed Heavyweights and Flying Machines raised nearly $3000 for 826NYC. For Vol. II, Wagner enlisted the support of Rebel Spirit Music Original cofounders Dean McCarthy and Deena Goodman. Rebel Spirit Music is a community and a network for fans, artists and industry professionals.