Jersey Jams, Jersey Cares – various artists
Jersey Jams 2002
Jersey Jams Jersey Cares, a compilation featuring some of New
Jersey's best musicians, sure aims high. The album is a heartfelt tribute to
families in the Garden State affected by the 9/11 terrorist attack, with
profits going to the Jersey Jams Fund, a charitable body directing funds to
the United Way.
This is some sensitive subject matter, to say the least.
With up and coming jam heroes like Robert Randolph, Lo Faber and Railroad
Earth leading the way, it should come as no surprise that the songs are hot.
The emotions, though, shine through, with many high-profile players checking
their egos at the door. Here, it's all about soul. And the songs have been
perfectly selected to fit the theme.
"I'm dazed and confused now, afraid to fall asleep," The Alice Project muses
on its song "11", written specifically for the album. "No surprises, no
forgiveness, no backing down," they add. "I'm searching for some clarity,
some charity, some sense of it all."
Lo Faber donated "Miracle Time" from his rock opera album Henry's
House. "Who could have known the foe had grown so strong?" he sings
Also contributing to the 15-track CD are Bernie Worrell and the Woo
Warriors, Glenn Burtnik, Barbuda, Ta-ta and Friends, Seth Alexander, Kathy
Phillips, John Eddie, Swampadelica and The VooDudes.
Randolph's "Pressing My Way", from the pedal steel master's Live at the
Wetlands, is a highlight, with its inspirational message taken to higher
levels when he trades lead vocals with bassist Danyell Morgan.
Two tracks in particular gave germination to the album: "Understand" by the
Matt Angus Thing and "Never Again" by Scrap Daddy, an impromptu group of
Jersey musicians. The gospel-tinged "Never Again" is based on President
Bush's stirring post-9/11 address to the nation and includes the line "We
will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail. Never again".
Of course wide ranges of emotions – albeit less intense than in the days
immediately following the attacks – still run the gamut. Tastefully captured
here is the nation's spirit right after 9/11. This is a soundtrack for
America's confusion, sorrow and anger.
It's a bleak message. But it's also is a message of hope.
Again, Faber puts things in perspective: "Send a prayer through the air,
'cause its miracle time," he implores. "One last cliff to climb."