Various Artists, For New Orleans: A Benefit For the Musician’s Village (Sugarfoot)

For New Orleans: A Benefit for the Musician’s Village is compilation CD whose efforts not only support the city but our musicians as well. Proceeds from the disc go directly to the Musician’s Village housing community in the Ninth Ward. Not surprisingly, many of the songs included are about New Orleans, but even if they weren’t written about New Orleans directly, they seem to embody the spirit of the city. The tunes selected are genre-spanning, from folk to blues to rock to experimental jazz. The first disc includes Larry John McNally’s Crescent City homage, “I Love to Wake Up in New Orleans,” Marshall Crenshaw’s bluesy folk-rock number, “Gasoline Baby,” the Jayhawks’ uplifting “Caught with a Smile,” and a previously unreleased take on Bob Dylan’s “I Shall be Released” by Jeff Buckley from a New Jersey WFMU radio broadcast. Susan McKeown’s hopeful “Wheels of the World,” Natalie Merchant’s banjo-laden soother, “Weeping Pilgrim” and the poppy, acoustic rock of “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls can be found on the second disc. For New Orleans is unusual in that it is a benefit album that delivers good music in addition to good intentions. It’s often inspirational, and we all need inspiration sometimes.