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Yoko Ono, Melissa Etheridge, Heart contribute to album benefiting Long Island Cares

The 19-track album, titled, "Tunes 4 Food: Redemption

The 19-track album, titled, "Tunes 4 Food: Redemption Day," is set to be released on Nov. 26 in Buffalo and on iTunes. Its proceeds will benefit food banks in Buffalo, Cleveland and Long Island. Credit: Handout

Inspired by the growing hunger epidemic in America, a Buffalo nonprofit has produced an album featuring favorite songs by Heart, Melissa Etheridge and other artists to benefit food banks in Long Island, Buffalo and Cleveland.

The 19-track album, titled “Tunes 4 Food: Redemption Day,” is set to be released on Nov. 26 in stores near Buffalo and available to those outside the area on iTunes. Long Island Cares will also sell hard copies and the CD will be available on eBay.

Bob James is producing the $10 album, which is named after “Tunes 4 Food,” a nonprofit he formed in 2009 that has veteran musicians mentor upcoming artists to incorporate philanthropy into their work. He began contacting the musicians for permission to use their songs as a response to food banks’ growing demands. One-third of the proceeds will go to the Hauppauge-based Long Island Cares — The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

“We’re excited to see what happens when this comes out,” said James, 61, of West Falls, a Buffalo suburb. “Through selling these CDs, I want to feed as many people as possible and let people know this is a concept anyone can do in their own community.”

The CD will also feature tracks from Willie Nile, Jackson Browne, Indigo Girls, Nils Lofgren, Ani DiFranco, The Verbs, Sunny Side Players, Steven Van Zandt of E Street Band/”The Sopranos” fame, and more artists, including some of the music students James has mentored.

James, who’s performed with multiple Buffalo bands over the years, is looking at holding a January event in Long Island to sell hard copies of the album.

“It’s a journey,” James said of the CD. “Each song has a message. There are songs about challenges and sense of hope. I wanted it to feel like a movie soundtrack. If you listen to it in sequence there’s a strong message.”

Songs include a live version of Etheridge’s “All We Can Really Do,” Heart’s “Dear Old America” and Vox One’s “Apathy Isn’t It,” featuring spoken words of John Lennon, provided by Yoko Ono.

Paule Pachter, executive director of Long Island Cares, said the idea ties to their mission.

“The tremendous artists that are involved in this have great social consciousness,” Pachter said. “For them to all agree to use their music to call attention to the hunger movement, poverty issues and reduction in the food stamp program means a great deal. It’s going to help us continue the great work that we do.”

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