Eddie Martin and Kerry Gilbert

Archived Story

Musicians create album to benefit Kerry Gilbert

Published 11:37pm Sunday, October 6, 2013

Local musician Eddie Martin described the music community as a family – a group that supports and cares for one another in times of great successes and in times of great hardships.

Martin said the news of fellow musician Kerry Gilbert’s diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma sent shock waves through the group of tight-knit local musicians who have performed with and been influenced by Gilbert over the years.

“Kerry is such a positive, upbeat person who is full of life and ready to help anyone at a moment’s notice,” said Martin, who has been friends with Gilbert since childhood.

“It was hard to believe the news when we heard it.”

The music community also immediately knew what kind of financial hardship this would be on Gilbert since most full-time musicians are without health insurance.

“Of course, like many people, I began to think of ways to help Kerry with the medical bills and expenses he would be facing,” Martin said, “and I went to the well I have always gone to – music.”

Martin said the idea for a benefit album featuring original songs from several different artists began to take shape.

“I floated the idea to a few mutual friends and reached out to some artists, and every single one of them not only wanted to help with this project, they were honored to do it on behalf of Kerry,” he said.

“I had hope to get somewhere around 10-12 songs to put on the album and I ended up with 19.

“The sound is very diverse ranging from pop to country to instrumental, which is neat because it’s like going to one of The KGB shows because of the diversity of the music.”

Martin said the album featured all original music from his band, The Wildwood Ruminators; Iron Horse; The Lorels, featuring Jacob Lovell; solo tracks from artists Gary Nichols, Malcolm Singleton, Billy Lawson, Hope Stamps, Rene Stamps, Barry Billings, Chris Lucas, Jim Seals from the group Shenandoah; and a duet with Martin and Hope Stamps.

And to add a special touch, the album will also feature music from Gilbert’s band, The KGB, and three tracks from Gilbert’s solo album, which Martin helped produce three years ago.

“Everyone on this album has a close, personal connection with Kerry and has either worked with him or shared a stage with him,” Martin said.

“I think that fact makes this album such a special thing and really shows how Kerry affects those around him.

“These musicians donated their music free of charge, with no licensing fees, so that we could have zero production costs and get as much money to Kerry as possible. To help with that, Jon Hamilton donated his time to create the cover art and graphics for the CD cover and Daniel Beard mastered the project at no cost.”

Martin said it might not be surprising that many local musicians were willing to be generous in order to help their friend, but he said even people who had never met Gilbert in person were willing to help with this project.

“The only cost we were going to have associated with this project was the manufacturing cost to get the CDs made, but when I contacted Discmakers – a company based in New Jersey that I have used for 15 years for several projects, including Kerry’s solo album – and told them about the album and what we were doing it for, they gave us a great discount.

“And on top of that, we had some local businesses and supporters who, in less than a day’s time, stepped in to cover the remaining manufacturing costs so this project has absolutely no monetary costs associated with it.

“This is so important because that means every single cent we make from the sales of this album will go directly to Kerry to help with his medical expenses.

“This project has just been blessed all the way around.”

Martin said the CDs are currently en route to the Shoals area and will be available for purchase at the “Rockin’ for Kerry” benefit show at the Roxy Theater in downtown Russellville on Sunday, Oct. 13.

The 19-song album will be $20 with all proceeds going to benefit Gilbert.

“There is no telling how many benefits for other people that Kerry has been involved in or helped with over the years,” Martin said. “I think this will be a great opportunity to repay that kindness he has shown to so many.”

Martin said other avenues for purchasing the CD will be announced at a later time.


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