Published Aug 06, 2014An interesting project has been underway in Kingston's Pittsburgh Institution that has received little recognition, or at least less than it deserves. In partnership with the prison's "Pros and Cons" program, Hugh Christopher Brown, a local musician and producer, has teamed up with inmates to record a not-for-profit record. The 12-track offering was conceived entirely within the institution's chapel, which on weekends was converted to a recording studio by the inmates themselves. During the process, the men learnt how to mix, arrange, record and engineer tracks, while others were able to write and perform their own pieces. With the help of some of Hugh Christopher Brown's fellow band mates and friends, the record became a professional piece that is inescapably honest and sincere.
The songs on the compilation record include some covers of Hugh Christopher Brown compositions along with those of his peers, but many are songs written by the inmates who chose to remain anonymous. By no means are they the most accomplished songwriters, but the pure anonymous products of these incarcerated musicians are as bare and raw in their writing as their delivery. These prisoners have no one to impress or any image to maintain; they are simply playing for the sake of enjoyment and healing of it. The relatable grass roots topics of God, grace, healing, forgiveness and change, paired with the acoustic instrumentation and traditional arrangements make these songs perfect for a sequel to O' Brother Where Art Thou?
The entirely worthy program that Hugh Christopher Brown and company have participated in highlights the benefits music can have on someone's life. Hopefully, more institutions explore implementing similar programs. The proceeds of this album will go directly to charity, so take a listen and donate at www.prosandconsprogram.com. (Independent)