San Clemente resident Kevin Danzig is part of a unique, philanthropic musical venture. Danzig, an accomplished singer/songwriter who performs regularly at San Clemente’s Always Inn Bed and Breakfast, is now featured on the Shelter Me benefit CD.
Shelter Me showcases the aural offerings of a number of Laguna Beach’s homeless, but talented street performers along with seasoned pros from the music circuit.
Helping “down and out” individuals is what Shelter Me is all about. All of the proceeds from CD sales are funneled directly to the Friendship Shelter, a refuge for the homeless of San Clemente and Laguna Beach that has helped more than 5,000 people during its 20 year operation.
“I’ve always sympathized with the homeless community. As a traveling musician for many years, I relied on the hospitality and generosity of people who provided me with room and board as I toured,” says Danzig. “I have a soft spot in my heart for the homeless since there were many times I could consider myself just that.”
The Shelter Me CD project began when David “Holland” McMahon, a versatile homeless street performer caught the ear of author Scott Hays of Laguna Beach. Taking cue from a 2007 CD titled Give Us Your Poor, which featured homeless musicians, Hays set out to record the aural offerings of Holland, other destitute musicians, and local talent such as Danzig.
“I decided to tap into songwriters as a source for inspiration about the issue of homelessness,” says Hays. “I started listening to these songs and the meaning behind the lyrics, and I realized very quickly that these were extraordinary musicians.”
By the time the CD was produced, a virtual who’s who from the music industry had come on board. The list includes songwriters such as Shayne Fair, who co-produced Bill Medley’s last CD; David Nachmanoff, who’s back out touring with Al Stewart (“Year of the Cat”); Shawn Jones who recently returned from performing for U.S. Troops in Iraq, and Missiles of October. This not a collection of morose melodies that you might expect from people who spend their nights under freeway overpasses and their days battling hunger pangs. There’s a thread of hope and redemption that runs through the CD as homeless people share personal testimonies of triumph in the face of adversity.
Rather than wallow in self pity, these individuals look to a brighter tomorrow. In fact Holland’s plans for the future are both hopeful and humble. “I’d like to open for somebody big at Carnegie Hall,” he says. “But I’ll always come back and play on the streets. It keeps me grounded.”
Danzig also looks forward to lending his talents to projects that are already on the lyrical drawing board, such as a CD that raises awareness and funding for abused women.
The Shelter Me CD can be found at such Laguna Beach businesses as Sound Spectrum, Laguna Beach Books, and Hobie of Laguna Beach. Always Inn Bed and Breakfast will be hosting a release party for the Shelter Me project sometime in November or early December.