Recording Artists Speak Out for the Animals

It's been two years in the making and animal-loving fans of diverse contemporary music have waited long enough. "Giving Animals a Voice through Music: The Best Friends 25th Anniversary Collection, " a double CD release featuring 24 influential recording artists who support animal welfare makes its debut March 11. Proceeds from the sale of the album will go to Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization based in Utah, and selected animal rescue groups in Vermont.

Top recording artists speak out for the animals on the new two-CD compilation: Giving Animals a Voice through Music: The Best Friends 25th Anniversary Collection.

"It's been a long time coming, but we couldn't be more pleased to introduce this very compelling CD to the general public, " says Dexter K. Brown, a musician/producer himself who, along with Carol Scafuro founded the Vermont-based Animal Media Foundation, organizer of the project.

So how did so many diverse performers come get involved with a project to benefit animals?

"All of the musicians featured were more than willing to become involved with the project, " Brown said. "All of our artists love animals and their music reaches out to animal lovers across the United States who are interested in good contemporary music."

One of the CDs was produced by Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, who hand-picked 12 artists from the new-age-jazz-instrumental world, including Eugene Friesen of The Paul Winter Consort, and electric violinist Tracy Silverman.

Brown produced the other CD, which he describes as "an upbeat, contemporary recording with a really positive, energetic vibe that prevails throughout I couldn't have been happier with the way both recordings turned out."

Best Friends Animal Society, which will receive 50 percent of the album's proceeds, is best known as operating the nation's largest companion animal sanctuary in southwestern Utah, and for having rescued approximately 6, 000 dogs and cats in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Best Friends is also the home 20 of the dogs rescued from the Michael Vick dog fighting case, and is the subject of a national television series "DogTown, " which airs on the National Geographic Channel.

Brown, a Vermont native, says he hopes that the recordings will prompt animal lovers to discover new music, while contemporary music lovers will become more knowledgeable about animal welfare.

Best Friends, which holds its own Hollywood gala fund raiser each year, has had a longtime relationship with Emmylou Harris, who performed at the "Lint Roller Party" last November at the Hollywood Palladium. Neko Case, one of the best known current stars performing on the CD, also has close ties to Best Friends.

"We are indeed grateful and indebted to the many outstanding performers who contributed to the CD, " said Vicki Kilmer-Rinker, marketing director for Best Friends Animal Society. "And of course, without the Animal Media Foundation, a steady partner with Best Friends, this project would not be possible."

Cyrus Mejia, one of the 22 original founders of Best Friends Animal Society and a highly respected artist, created the painting that is on the cover of an eight-page booklet that comes with the CD and tells the story of Best Friends Animal Society and its national campaign of "No More Homeless Pets."

About Best Friends Animal Society:
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, Best Friends Animal Society is one of America's foremost animal rescue organizations. Best Friends advances nationwide animal welfare initiatives by working with shelter and rescue groups around the country. On any given day Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the nation's largest facility for abused, abandoned and special needs companion animals located in southwestern Utah, is home to approximately 1, 700 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds, and other animals. The society also publishes Best Friends magazine, the nation's largest general interest, pet-related magazine with approximately 300, 000 subscribers.

About the Animal Media Foundation:
Founded in 2002 by Carol Scafuro and Dexter Brown, the Animal Media Foundation manages and produces projects ranging from CD compilations to large-scale musical performance events. AMF's mission is to facilitate collaborations between the entertainment industry and animal welfare organizations. AMF creates opportunities for musicians to participate in animal welfare initiatives and increase public awareness.

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