I'm kind of a strange day. You wouldn't think someone so prone to bouts of bitter complaining would actually be a thankful person, but I am. Too many of the words I speak are filled with complaint and restlessness, but many of my private thoughts are reflections of how blessed I am and good I have it. I suppose I'd be more fun to be around if I switched those two things around, but I kind of like how it is. I'd rather blow off some steam bitching and spend the many hours a day I'm trapped in my own head counting my blessings rather than pay lip service to the good while privately stewing about where I'm not. The better option would be to be more grateful, outwardly and inwardly.
With that in mind, Happy Thanksgiving. The song in today's Thanksgiving edition of Verse Chorus Verse is available to download free, as are the nine songs from the album. Rahim AlHaj, Ottmar Liebert, Jon Gagan and Barrett Martin are giving away their record with no strings attached. They're hoping their generosity might spur a little generosity from listeners. The album is designed to raise awareness and funds for an organization called Direct Aid Iraq. A physical release of the CD is also planned with proceeds from the sales being donated as well.
The music combines the Nouveau Flamenco guitar style of Liebert with Iraqi oud master Rahim Al Haj, held together by bassist/producer Jon Gagan and the percussion work of Barrett Martin, who has studied the percussion styles and traditions of ancient and contemporary cultures the world over. It's a unique, beautiful blend of melodies, rhythms, and sounds, able to speak without words.
It's not in keeping with company policy around here to specifically solicit donations for any particular cause and it's not in my policy as a music writer to specifically champion anything other than great music, so today I'm going to point you in the direction of some great music that has been created with a higher purpose. If their purpose isn't yours, maybe you'd like to consider Feeding America, the organization Bob Dylan's new Christmas record is supporting. If that's not your thing, here are a few of resources — Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and the Better Business Bureau — that can help you find reputable charities that are more your speed.
Giving thanks is a good thing. For some of you reading this, that's all you can afford to give. For the rest of us, let's consider spending Thanksgiving by giving more than thanks.