After losing his cousin to breast cancer, music executive Hernando Courtright was looking for the best way to honor her memory. While walking or running in a marathon to raise funds is great he took another approach. Looking to creating project that would have more impact he decided to create a CD on his record label, Fore Reel Records, and combine it with his support of indie female artists. Who better than women to bring attention to this deadly disease?
The result was "It's About Eve," an album of fourteen tracks contributed by different female artists primarily from the East Coast, including a bonus track featuring Joan Jett, whom Courtright had known going back to his days with the Runaways. Producer/mixer Rob Stevens (John Lennon, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Yoko Ono,Toshi Reagon) handled the recording sessions at Quad Recording. Stevens is represented by Courtright Mgmt., Inc. Being well connected in the music industry with his wife (both former A&R executives for three major labels) he felt he could reach out to his friends to help with the project.
The one thing that made this even more special was that almost all his contacts had also had encounters with breast cancer in their life's. "Nine out of ten of my industry friends had a breast cancer story and how it affected them," he says. "Either their mothers, sisters, aunts, girlfriends, or best friends have or had been affected by breast cancer, and that to was a real eye-opener."
"It blew me away to what degree and how large a problem this is. In fact, Leni Stern, one of the musicians on the bonus track, is a breast cancer survivor." Nearly everyone that came aboard pro bonoed their services, from studio time, mastering, graphics design, web design, legal, manufacturing, and of course the artists contributing their tracks.
Courtright went into this project with an idea how he wanted the album to sound and flow. Friends at ASCAP and BMI also recommended the artists that would appeal to the project, the majority of the artists were acts that he was aware of and impressed with prior to the CDs inception. "I approached the artists about licensing a certain track from each one of their current albums. One act, Sister Someone, recommended a new track from their forth coming album instead of the one that I had picked and I agreed with them once I heard the rough mix. The opening track, a cover of the Beatle's song "The Word," from Rubber Soul, with guest appearance from Joan Jett on vocals and guitar, a female band featuring Sara Lee, and 26 indie female artists singing back up vocals ala "We are the World."
Other outstanding tracks include the thoughtful, slow, dreamy pop of Wellville's "How Does It Feel," the contagious part-cheerleader rant-part-dancey pop of Lava Baby's "If I Did Not Have You," the beautifully melancholy, valium-housewife lyricism of Sister Someone's "To Be A Girl," and the disturbing "tribute" to domestic violence in Nancy Magarill's "Ode To Mother."
"The criteria I had for set for the artists I was choosing was talent, of course, a following, strong live performance, a web site, and driving ambition promoting themselves," says Courtright. "I did not want artists that were just starting out. I wanted real working girls not hobby musicians. These girls are doing it for a living, not just dabbling at it." Our web site is a large part of this project to learn more about the artists and charities involved.
Another decision Courtright had to make was deciding which charities should benefit from the CD. After doing some research, he settled on three. " The first, The TJ Martell Foundation, made sense to me since it is the charity of choice in the music industry and we had a relationship with Tony Martell from the days my wife Doreen did A&R at Epic Records. I was told by someone I was introduced to in the breast cancer world that having a national foundation is nice but I should consider a local charity or two to be included. The Libby Ross Foundation and The Comedy Cures Foundation are the other two. I chose them because they were founded by real women who had been affected by breast cancer, Lori Ross from the passing of her mother Libby Ross and Saranne Rothberg being a breast cancer survivor."
The other side of the project was to help promote the music of independent female artists. The CDs music styles highlight acoustic rock (Heidi Petrikat), folk rock (Ina May Wool), blues rock (Elisa Peimer) to straight ahead rock (Julia Greenberg). "This is a very important side of the project," says Courtright. "It's not only about breast cancer awareness but to expose these great independent female artists. Lava Baby was discovered and signed through our efforts.. Billboard magazine was very supportive of the music and the cause by it's "Album Spotlight Pick," one of three they give any week, to a profile piece they ran on "It's About Eve"." This is not just my project but everyone that has been involved. I could not have done this without the artist and my music industry friends."
Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission