Yep Roc Records is set to release The Cake Sale, the 9-song album conceived by an eclectic group of musicians and songwriters who have promised to donate all royalties from the CD’s sale to the Make Trade Fair campaign. The Cake Sale serves as both the title of the album and the name of the temporarily-banded individuals who produced it. Led by Brian Crosby and Paul Noonan of Bell XI, the project also attracted Nick Seymour of Crowded House; drummer Graham Hopkins (who has performed with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Foo Fighters), Damien Rice; and the lead vocals of Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, The Frames’ Glen Hansard, and The Cardigans’ Nina Persson.
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According to Crosby, who writes about the making of the album on their website, The Cake Sale was the product of a unique evolution. In order to accommodate the tour schedules of the performers, the album was recorded not only in several distinct stages, but in multiple recording studios and more than one country. The initial tracks “proved to be invaluable as a calling card for more songs and performers to come on board further down the line,” Crosby says. The first musicians that Crosby and Noonan approached about the project were instrumental in recruiting others, and the sound of the first songs for the album inspired and gave shape to later recordings. Despite a broad stylistic spectrum of contributors and scattered studio work, The Cake Sale has turned out to be a remarkably cohesive set of melodies, thus satisfying Crosby’s musical goal for the album. Crosby and Noonan also traveled to Tanzania after the album was finished to see exactly how the CD’s profits would be used in farming communities, ensuring that their work also accomplished the artists’ goal of helping other people.
The Make Trade Fair campaign is an effort to address the problem faced by small-scale farmers in a competitive global economy. It advocates fair prices for goods that come from poor countries and promises the suppliers an adequate and sustainable income. The Cake Sale’s website provides information on the record label’s sponsorship of the campaign and the products that have become its major targets-even boasting a collection of recipes to inspire consumers to purchase Fair-Trade-labeled goods like bananas and sugar.
The Cake Sale is available in the United States on October 16, and features all previously unreleased tracks-prior to its debut in Ireland a year earlier, where most of the CD was recorded.