Natalie Merchant Fights Homelessness on ‘Give Us Your Poor’

On September 25th, Appleseed Recordings will release Give US Your Poor, a multi-artist benefit CD devoted to fighting homelessness in the U.S.  The release features exclusive new songs by legendary American musicians Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Madeleine Peyroux, Sonya Kitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Natalie Merchant, Michelle Shocked, Keb’ Mo’ and others.

Natalie Merchant partnered with the non-profit homeless public education campaign, Give US Your Poor, part of UMass Boston, to help pair these remarkable musicians with currently or previously homeless artists.  The organization solicited demos from the nation's network of homeless shelters and gave Merchant a selection of 50 original songs from which to choose.  She selected the “powerfully moving, honest and soulful” song "There Is No Good Reason" written by 15-year-old Nichole Cooper when she was homeless.  “The lyrics killed me with their directness,” explained Merchant ("we needed money bad and I couldn't find a job / so I went around looking for someone to rob").  Rather than choosing one previously or presently homeless musician with whom to collaborate, Natalie decided to work with six of them, including Nichole.

The entire process was filmed for an upcoming documentary but an eight minute excerpted edit can be seen here: