“A Holiday Benefit, Vol. 3” Video Premiere

December 8th, 2009

resizedComprising twelve tracks from some of New York City's finest emerging artists, "A Holiday Benefit, Vol 3" is a seasonal charity compilation spanning the delicate (Bess Rogers' "Little Saint Nick”) to the downright bombastic (Bryan Dunn's "Don't Believe In Christmas") with a dash of holiday hilarity (Casey Shea's "The Chipmunks Song”) in-between.

In addition, the contributing artists deliver a raucous cover of Billy Squier's classic, "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You."

The charity CD release party is set for December 16th at ...

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“A Holiday Benefit, Vol. 3” Single & Track List Revealed

November 29th, 2009

resizedOne Indian summer afternoon a few weeks ago, singer/songwriters Casey Shea, Paula Valstein, Emily Easterly, Andy Mac, Martin Rivas, Ruby Rivers, Amber Rubarth, Chris Abad, plus bassist Tony Maceli, drummer Jamie Alegre and I converged on Chris Cubeta's Galuminum Foil Studios in Brooklyn to conjure up a little bit of Christmas in October.

Our cover of Billy Squier's classic "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" kicks off the annual "A Holiday Benefit" with equal parts harmony and hilarity; you can practically hear us smiling our way ...

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Serious (Christmas) Business, Baby

November 16th, 2009

resizedThere's a chance I may be getting overly confident in our collective abilities, but we always seem to pull it off.

I've only been in the studio twice this year, in both cases recording cover songs for compilations albums. In May, the guys and I covered The Nadas' "Feel Like Home" for the band's fifteenth anniversary "Crystalline" album.

Yesterday, Chris, Tony, Ryan and I repaired to Serious Business Studios once again, this time to track our "A Holiday Benefit, Vol. 3" contributions: Chris was tracking The Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I ...

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C’Mon C’Mon, Gather Round

October 24th, 2009

resizedI won't front; I was nervous.

Thursday was a difficult enough right from the start. Rapper Lil Wayne pleaded guilty to gun possession less than an hour after I stepped into the office. For the bulk of the afternoon, then, the news team piled on the story and began crashing a half-hour show.

All day long, though, all I could think was that fifteen musicians would descending on Williamsburgh for our all-star "A Holiday Benefit Album, Vol. III" recording, and -- as the guy who put out the call (email, really) -- I had to be ...

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Times Are Hard (But No One Seems To Care)

October 22nd, 2009

resizedChristmas can demand a lot of a man, even in October.

I swore up and down to Chris, Jamie and Tony that I'd meet them at Galuminum Foil Studios at exactly nine o'clock. At 8:34, I hailed a cab from West 86th Street to 14th and First. At 8:47, I hopped the L to Lorimer Street. At 9:01, I emerged in Brooklyn and began speed walking south.

Somewhere around Stagg Street (just seconds after picking up two six packs at Velez Grocery), my cell phone lit up with a text message from producer Chris Cubeta.

"Where you at, man? We're ...

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Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You

October 12th, 2009

resizedThere's barely a nip in the air, but once again, we're getting the holidays started early.

In two years, "A Holiday Benefit" and "A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II" have raised nearly $5000 for 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills.

This year, veterans Chris Abad, Casey Shea, Bryan Dunn and I will be joined by an absolutely amazing lineup of singer/songwriters: Chris Cubeta, Emily Easterly, Andy Mac, Martin Rivas, Ruby Rivers, Bess Rogers, Amber Rubarth, and ...

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Forever & Always

January 8th, 2009

resizedYou may recall that one of the "A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II" silent auction items was a "Custom Benjamin Wagner Song."

This was the pitch: "Singer/songwriter will collaborate with YOU on a song. At the end of the process, you’ll get two (2) signed CDs with YOUR song plus original album art. Minimum Bid: $75."

At the end of the night, the item had three bids. I decided to take them all, netting 826NYC $386. I followed up immediately with each bid (actually, one bid came from a loose affiliation of four friends), only one of whom had a ...

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“A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II” Raises $3000 For Youth Literacy

December 22nd, 2008

resizedThis morning, I sent a check to 826NYC on behalf of all the artists and fans behind "A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II."

Together, we increased last year's contribution by a third by raising $3000 to support students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and help teachers inspire their students to write.

Thanks to singer/songwriters Deena Goodman, Chris Abad, Casey Shea, Derek James, Ian Axel, Jamie Leonhart, Dov Rosenblatt, Rosi Golan, Amber Rubarth, Bryan Dunn, Nate Campany, Brent Shuttleworth, and "house band" ...

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And The Winner Is…

December 19th, 2008

resizedA week ago, I attempted to move a few extra copies of "A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II" with a raffle.

Every purchase automatically entered the buyer to win a copy of the charity CD signed by each of the eleven artists, plus signed copies of their respective CDs.

So tonight, I wrote everyone's name on a slip of paper (one for each purchase), put 'em in a hat, and had Abbi pick at complete random.

And the winner is...

Heather Stansfield!

I first met Heather when she hosted one of my "Almost Home" living room tour stops back in 2003. ...

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A Special “Holiday” Offer On Behalf Of The Kids

December 10th, 2008

resizedI watch the news. I appreciate that times are tough. And I read the blogs, so I know that few people buy CDs anymore.

Still, lemme make one final appeal to you on behalf of kids in Brooklyn who need somewhere safe to go after school, and wanna' learn how to write (coming from a grown up who was once a kid who wanted to learn how to write).

If you haven't snapped up a copy of our new charity CD, "A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II," here's some added incentive. Order before December 15 and you'll automatically be entered to win a copy of "A ...

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