Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 27, 2009 – Top artists from the worlds of country, folk, blues and Cajun music are featured on a new album created to help restore the homes, communities and dignity of tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents still displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
The limited-edition album, “Forgotten but Not Gone” (www.forgotten-but-not-gone.org), draws attention to the plight of those still living in temporary housing four years after the most destructive natural disaster in our nation’s history devastated New Orleans and much of coastal Mississippi. But, characteristic of the region’s spirit, the album also celebrates the colorful history and defiant determination of those who call the Gulf Coast home.
The all-volunteer album is the brainchild of three friends active in the Nashville music industry: singer/songwriter Ric Kipp, producer/multi-instrumentalist Phillip Wolfe, and executive producer Rebecca Wolfe. The three were moved to action by the personal experiences of Kipp, a New Orleans native who saw the landscape of his childhood swept away by Katrina.
“At first I felt paralyzed by all the destruction,” he said. “But then, when time passed and the outside volunteers went home and there were still so many people with only primitive, temporary shelter, I started asking myself what I could do to change things.”
The answer, developed and brought to life with the Wolfes, was the formation of a nonprofit organization – Gulf Coast Relief, Inc. – for the creation of “Forgotten but Not Gone.”
It’s an album of rich musical range and artistry, showcasing performances by what music distributor CD Baby calls “the royalty of Americana roots music.” Many of the album’s songs, including the title track by Lee Roy Parnell and the powerful bookend anthems “Last Night I Dreamed of New Orleans” by Bonnie Bramlett and “Stay Down in New Orleans” by Bekka Bramlett, are original compositions written and produced by Kipp and Phillip Wolfe. Wolfe, who owns Shadow Lane Studios outside Nashville, also performed on many of the tracks.
Other songs, such as “Steve’s Hammer” by Steve Earle, “Holding Up the Sky” by Buddy and Julie Miller, “Make a Wish” by Jack Ingram, and “Brighter Day” by Jon Justice, were donated to the album. “The outpouring of support for this project has been unbelievable,” said executive producer and album coordinator Rebecca Wolfe, noting that all artists, songwriters, producers, record labels, publishing companies and consultants have donated their services and performances. “This is a totally pro-bono project and all proceeds will go to the two organizations we’ve selected as our partners.”
Those two groups are the New Orleans Office of Disaster Response (ODR), an arm of Episcopal Community Services (ECS) of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana (www.ecs.edola.org), and Camp Coast Care (www.campcoastcare.com), a project of Lutheran-Episcopal Services of Mississippi. Both are volunteer organizations that, while faith-based, serve their communities without regard to religious affiliation.
Active in rebuilding hurricane-damaged homes with the combined help of volunteers and professional contractors, ODR/ECS has rebuilt 55 houses in New Orleans since 2006 and gutted an additional 900, at a value of $12.6 million. The organization also provides case management services to 2,500 households, focusing on those most in need of assistance – the elderly, the disabled, and households with young children.
Camp Coast Care, established immediately after Hurricane Katrina, began as an emergency center and medical care facility and now focuses on rebuilding homes along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working with volunteers who donate week-long blocks of labor to the group in exchange for shelter and meals. So far, more than 12,000 volunteers have come from all over the world to help. The organization recently moved from Long Beach, Miss. to Hancock County, ground zero for Hurricane Katrina.
“Forgotten but Not Gone” can be purchased as a 19-track, limited-edition hardcopy CD through the album’s Web site (www.forgotten-but-not-gone.org) or from CD Baby (www.cdbaby.com/cd/various394) for $14.99 plus shipping, handling, and applicable sales taxes. CD Baby also offers options for digitally downloading the album and individual tracks. The album may also be obtained by sending a check or money order for $18 per CD to Gulf Coast Relief, Inc., P.O. Box 597, Hermitage, TN 37076. All proceeds will be equally divided between Episcopal Community Services of New Orleans and Camp Coast Care in Mississippi.