Healing Music

Musicians for Le Bonheur prepares to release CD

By Andy Meek

A sign hangs in the lobby at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital acknowledging the charitable efforts of an arguably unlikely group of hospital supporters.

Pierce Martin, left, and Jonathan Glisson of Revolution perform at a recent event held at 1884 Lounge in Minglewood Hall in support of the Musicians for Le Bonheur project.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Those supporters are a collection of Memphis musicians who represent a genre-spanning cross-section covering everything from hip-hop to modern rock. They’ve been performing live and donating music recently in service of a dedicated fundraising effort for the hospital, and the sign in the hospital lobby, a simple expression of gratitude, reads “Thank You Musicians for Le Bonheur.”

This year, the Musicians for Le Bonheur project will have resulted in a few dozen live shows and artists donating songs to be released collectively next month. The effort is a project of Angry Nerd Productions, founded by Justin Jaggers and business partner Rae Williams.

Artists have been submitting tracks to Angry Nerd for the last several months for a Musicians for Le Bonheur compilation CD. That follows a series of live shows at venues around town, including a preview event held earlier this year in the hospital’s new building.

More than 50 bands and acts have turned in songs to be part of the compilation CD, which will go on sale Sept. 1.

Also being released Sept. 1 is a separate set of tracks from artists featured on the compilation CD and songs from additional Memphis acts. Several acts have lent more than one song for the cause, and those artists’ second songs will be featured in a two-volume, 46-track digital release.

The Hard Rock Café is hosting a CD release party Sept. 13. The event starts at 10 p.m.

“We really want to do a big push,” Jaggers said of the project this year, which started out initially with a vision of one CD and a couple of live shows.

Now, there are dozens of artists and cover acts participating, and Musicians for Le Bonheur will have put on about two dozen shows from May through next month.

Jaggers said Angry Nerd’s first big project is the cause in support of Le Bonheur. The goal is to try and get the word out and to gin up support from a group of people who might not otherwise have thought much about the hospital among their other concerns like selling merchandise and booking shows.

Angry Nerd Productions is an audio production business that handles everything from voiceovers to full music recordings. Angry Nerd formed the Musicians for Le Bonheur project along with Local X Radio and Grove Recording Studios.

Local X offered airtime to help recruit artists and promote events, and Grove Recording Studios offered discounted studio time to the project. Artist showcases and concerts started to be held earlier this year, and money raised from those shows went toward the CD’s release.

“This is the most accurate snapshot of the current Memphis music scene,” Jaggers said. “It’s important that we could represent as much of Memphis as possible while using all of this available talent to help the children of Le Bonheur.”

Le Bonheur was founded in 1952. It’s been recognized more than once as one of the “Best Children’s Hospitals” by U.S. News and World Report.