Musically Marvelous: Album released to benefit autism

By Rachel Forshee

child music“Songs of the Spectrum,” by the local Autism Awareness Music Project, SingSOS!, has just released their first album just in time for the holidays.

The project was put together by founder and New York Times editor John O’neil whose son’s diagnosis in 2004 became the subject of a series published in that newspaper.  The journey for Sing SOS! shortly after that.

“Around that time, I started noodling around with other ways of expressing what I saw and felt about a subject that occupied a good 85 percent of my mental space,” wrote O’Neil in an April, 2009 column. “And when my friend and neighbor Jon Fried mentioned that he and his wife, Deena Shoshkes… were experimenting with some unlikely other lyricists, I took that as permission to drop some of my scribblings on him.”

Jon Fried and Deena Shoshkes have played together since 1985, called the Cucumbers. They were joined in 2006 by a friend who had close relationships with Jackson Browne and James Taylor, asking Jackson to do a duet. In April 2006, “Day After Day/Dr. Maturin’s Daughter,’’ was recorded, starting the whirlwind the group has been in since.

With his credibility behind them, and the money we raised through house concerts locally and in Connecticut and L.A., the group started to pick up other artists, gradually at first and then faster. Promotion for the album was kicked off at the World Autism Awareness Day where they will be performing at the United Nations, where the group sang for a live audience.

On the album, you can hear songs sung by Jackson Browne, Marshall Crenshaw, Valerie Carter and Dar Williams, to name a few. You can hear samples of the songs at their Web site, www.singsos.org

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