Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Cake Sale Out On Tuesday...Best Charity Album Ever?

One of the albums that have spent maximum time in my home CD player this year is the import album by The Cake Sale, a band featuring a collective of Ireland-based musicians and writers who combined to create an original album of music to support Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. Luckily for music fans on this side of the pond, the album gets an American release this Thursday on Yep Roc.

Conceived by Bell X1 guitarist and keyboard player Brian Crosby, the band is rounded out with Bell X1's Paul Noonan along with Crowded House bassist Nick Seymour and drummer Graham Hopkins. The beauty of the album lies in its amazing cast of songwriters and singers, all of whom donated their sevices (and in the case of the writers, their publishing rights) to Oxfam's fair trade efforts. Vocals on the album come from the likes of Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, Glen Hansard (The Frames and the movie ONCE), Nina Persson ofThe Cardigans, Gemma Hayes, and Josh Ritter, among others. The album was a massive hit in Ireland, netting double-platinum status and earning Oxfam in excess of €200,000.

"From a creative point of view, I was interested in making a cohesive sounding record for charity by co-ordinating the efforts of a disparate group of people . All the artists involved wanted the Cake Sale to be an authentic album, with all the songs relating to each other in a relevant way" explains Crosby. "There was a really enthusiastic response from everyone who was approached to write songs or perform, which made it a relatively easy project to put together. Everyone got the vibe of what we were trying to achieve. In fact, the only tricky bit was co-ordinating everybody's conflicting schedules."

The album itself is an amazing compendium of the best of the current Irish music'll be hard pressed to find a finer collection of perfectly crafted songs anywhere. It's chock full of beautiful songs of love, loss, longing, and life, and there's not a second of filler on the disc...just wall to wall artistry. It's really a stunner.

The Irish Times probably said it best in their review:
"The Cake Sale is not just the best "charity" record we've heard in years, it's one of the best records of the year."

Stream the album here.

Buy a copy for yourself and a few extras for gifts at the Yep Roc store.

Here's the video for "Some Surprise" featuring Gary Lightbody and Lisa Hannigan:

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