Chachi Carvalho

Chachi Carvalho

By Rob Duguay

James Toomey is at it again. Remember that compilation album he put together back in May to benefit the News Cafe on 43 Broad Street in downtown Pawtucket? Well, he’s got a new one that came out last month. It’s titled “Line The Front” with all of the proceeds going to benefit the Rhode Island Solidarity Fund. These organizations include ARISE, the Providence Youth Student Movement, the George Wiley Center, the Alliance To Mobilize Our Resistance, Direct Action For Rights & Equality. The compilation features 19 tracks from local acts spanning various musical styles with most of them being previously unreleased.

Toomey was able to rally a community of musicians together for it, which resulted in “Line The Front”.

“Our local music scene has been impressive with their support of venues and other grassroots organizations right now,” He says about what inspired the making of the album. “The Rhode Island Solidarity Fund has brought together six of these community-led relief efforts that help at risk groups affected by COVID-19. These range from low-income renters to undocumented workers to people in prison. These efforts also advocate for long-term solutions, thus recognizing an holistic approach to change. When posed with the question of putting together a compilation to support this collaborative fund, Rhode Island’s music community once again stood up.”

“Unlike the News Cafe benefit though, which focused on showcasing musicians that work at or often play that particular venue, ‘Line The Front’ includes a slightly larger circle of artists,” Toomey adds. “What continues to be wonderful to see is the willingness to come together as these artists quickly agree to be a part of the compilation and they’re eagerly looking for an opportunity to help in any way.”

The tracklist on the compilation includes brand new music from Math The Band The Band, 123 Astronaut, The Benji’s, Jesse The Tree and Bill Bartholomew of Silverteeth to name a few. There are also songs by well-known performers such as Orion Rigel Dommisse, Spocka Summa, Strip Mall and many others. One of the previously unreleased tracks is “Be Safe, Angel Baby” from the Pawtucket folk duo Seatbelt.

“Our other bands, Cherry Pit and Harvey Garbage, each contributed a track to the News Cafe compilation,” guitarist and co-vocalist Cody James mentions. “I heard they were doing another one, so I reached out and offered a Seatbelt track. We didn’t have it recorded yet though, so we had that inspiring fire under us to get it done, which is how we work best.”

“We chose ‘Be Safe, Angel Baby’ for this compilation not only because it’s our newest song, but also because of its relevance at this time,” co-vocalist Amelia Rose adds. “We wrote this tune a couple weeks into quarantine, the night Bill Withers passed away. Cody and I started jamming in his honor, and it turned into a cathartic release from all the stress we had been collectively experiencing. The lyrics serve as a gentle reminder to take care of each other, just as in Bill Withers’ ‘Lean On Me.’ Times are tough, but we’re strongest when we stand together, no matter how many feet apart.”

Another artist who has a track on the compilation is Pawtucket hip hop stalwart Chachi Carvalho. “Sundown” kicks off the album with a mix of beats, samples and electronic tones.

“It feels great to be featured on such a compilation of music with some of the best independent artists, bands and musicians on the planet,” he says. “Strangely enough, Rhode Island is fertile ground for breeding amazing talent. I am honored to be selected as one of them. It’s a bonus that all of the proceeds will benefit some local community organizations who are doing work to provide opportunities, access and resources for those who need it the most.”

People can stream and purchase “Line In The Front” via the Bandcamp page for Toomey’s podcast, Where The Living Room Used To Be, at https://livingroomutb.bandcamp.com/album/line-the-front-a-benefit-compilation-for-ri-solidarity-fund. While you’re at it, buy the compilation Toomey made for the News Cafe as well.

Both albums go to benefit great causes while helping some good people out.

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