The recording also features Terry Dexter and the First Full Gospel Choir of New Orleans.
Michael McDonald, Wynona Judd and Eric Benét have joined forces to record "Heart of America," a song to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity's hurricane aid. The track is already available via Apple's iTunes music store; release through traditional retailers will follow later in the month.
The recording also features Terry Dexter and the First Full Gospel Choir of New Orleans, who will join Benét, Judd and McDonald Oct. 19 to perform the song on NBC's "Today" morning show.
"I know what it feels like to have nothing," says Tim Blixseth, who wrote the song with his wife Edra, Benét and Walter Afanaseiff. "That's how I started. I'm honored to give back any way I can."
Meanwhile, the Wallflowers' Jacob Dylan, X/Knitters singer/guitarist John Doe and Grant-Lee Phillips are among the artists that will perform at the Storm Hymnal-Katrina Relief Concert in Los Angeles. Habitat for Humanity will receive 100% of the proceeds from the Oct. 16 show at the El Ray Theatre.
Actor Dave Allen ("Freaks and Geeks") will host the event, which will also feature Joe Henry, Sam Phillips, Victoria Williams, Toad The Wet Sprocket's Glen Phillips, the Section Quartet, DJ Carmen Rizzo, the Girls Guitar Club, comedian/author Greg Behrendt and filmmaker Carlos Grasso. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster and the venue box office.
Meanwhile, newly recorded songs by a host of New Orleans-hailing artists will make up "Our New Orleans," a benefit compilation due Nov. 22 via Nonesuch. The disc is being made over the course of a month in one-day sessions in recording studios across the United States. Production costs are being donated by Nonesuch parent Warner Bros. Records; Habitat for Humanity will receive funds raised by the sale of the set.
Already in the can are New York recordings with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Wild Magnolias; Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band; and Dr. John; while a Memphis session featured Buckwheat Zydeco produced by Ry Cooder. Randy Newman is among the other artists due to record a contribution to the compilation.
In other news, a limited edition long-sleeve Armani Exchange t-shirt created for Usher's Project Restart benefit concert, is being sold online (ArmaniExchange.com/usher) to add to the funds raised by last night's (Oct. 9) event in Atlanta. Like the show, $25 from the sale of each shirt to benefit victims of recent Gulf Coast hurricanes through Usher's New Look Foundation.
The show at Phillips Arena included performances by Alicia Keys, T.I. and Young Jeezy. BET was on hand to record footage of the show for a one-hour Oct. 19 special.