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Ann Peebles, Billy Preston, Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas, and Allen Toussaint Collaborate with Producer/Musician Joe Henry to Create I Believe To My Soul



In June, 2005, the songwriter, musician and producer Joe Henry brought together five of the greatest living artists of soul: Ann Peebles, Billy Preston, Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint. Henry's idea was to create an album of “new music done in a classic mode, not a re-creation of classic soul music…a record authentic to where these five particular artists find themselves today—and in relationship to one another.” The resulting recording, I Believe to My Soul, features these soul luminaries performing material they have never before recorded. Henry's Work Song label, Rhino and Starbucks Hear Music will co-release the album simultaneously to traditional retail stores and Starbucks Company-operated locations in the U.S. and Canada on October 4.

While not initially conceived as a benefit recording, in the time since the tracks for I Believe to My Soul were recorded in June of 2005, tremendous devastation has struck the U.S. Gulf Coast –home of two of the featured artists on I Believe to My Soul, Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint. In Starbucks Company-operated locations in the U.S. and Canada, Starbucks Hear Music, Rhino and Work Song and will donate $10 of the purchase price of every CD sold to aid in the region's recovery. In all other retail channels in the U.S. and Canada, Starbucks Hear Music and Rhino and Work Song will donate $3 of the purchase price of every CD sold. Donations will be made to the American Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross (according to the country in which the CD was purchased) to provide support for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. This donation will continue for the lifetime of the CD and is in addition to Starbucks Coffee Company's long-term relief and recovery efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

As part of its long-term commitment to aid the relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina, Starbucks Coffee Company made an initial commitment of $5 million over five years to impacted U.S. Gulf Coast communities. The Company has designated the American Red Cross as the recipient of its initial $1 million contribution. In addition to its financial commitment, Starbucks is working closely with the American Red Cross relief effort, as well as Emergency Operations Centers and Federal Emergency Management Agency in the impacted areas. To date, the Company has donated more than 30,000 pounds of ground coffee; 235,000 bottles of EthosTM Water; and 9,600 bottled Tazo® drinks; and 44,000 pastries to support them in their endeavors.

To create and release I Believe to My Soul, Henry teamed his Work Song label with Rhino and Starbucks Hear Music. Rhino and Starbucks are participating in many facets of I Believe to My Soul—from manufacturing and distribution to marketing of the album, which will be sold in traditional retail outlets as well as at Starbucks locations.

The inspiration for I Believe to My Soul came in 2002 when Henry produced soul great Solomon Burke's GRAMMY®-winning album Don't Give Up on Me. Henry explains that while he was doing interviews about Burke's album, “it became apparent that many others, not just myself, were starved for a contemporary version of authentic soul.” Henry began to reach out to living legends in the genre and invited them to record together.

“The other people that are on the record are all my friends, and that's kind of like a family reunion,” says Mavis Staples. The warmth of I Believe to My Soul derives largely from this spirit of friendship and underlying mutual admiration. The New Orleans soul and funk pioneer Allen Toussaint, who produced records by Irma Thomas in the 1960s, backs her on piano here. He says, “I like anything Irma sings. If she sings ‘Happy Birthday,' I think it's just grand.” Of Billy Preston, Toussaint says, “I'm like all musicians. We all think the same thing about Billy: He's the greatest organ player in the world.”

I Believe to My Soul was recorded over the course of a week in June 2005 at Hollywood's historic Capitol Studios, with a live band including Jay Bellerose on drums and percussion, Doyle Bramhall and Chris Bruce on guitars, David Palmer on keyboards, and Paul Bryan on bass. In addition to being a featured artist, Allen Toussaint plays piano throughout.

Henry asked each artist to bring to the sessions at least two songs she/he had not previously recorded. The selections vary but cohere seamlessly as an album. Irma Thomas chooses the 1974 Bill Withers hit “The Same Love that Made Me Laugh” and the country soul classic “Loving Arms,” which in the ‘70s appeared on albums by everyone from Petula Clark to Kris Kristofferson.

Mavis Staples performs Curtis Mayfield's gospel anthem “Keep on Pushing” and the Leadbelly standard “You Must Have That True Religion.” She and Billy Preston spontaneously decided to record “That's Enough,” a gospel song they both know from childhood. Another Preston highlight is his new original, “As One.”

Ann Peebles offers a new song, “When the Candle Burns Low” and a cover of Bob Dylan's “Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You.” Toussaint contributes three entirely new compositions in addition to a fresh version of his song “River Boat.” A highly accomplished producer, Joe Henry is equally remarkable as a songwriter, having earned critical acclaim through nine albums of his own. I Believe to My Soul is just the first of a series of soul albums Henry plans to record.

About Work Song
Inspired by producing the Grammy®-winning Solomon Burke CD, Don't Give Up On Me, Joe Henry became obsessed with the idea of recording more new music with some of the great living practitioners of soul music. With that in mind, the Work Song label was formed to begin a series of recordings aspiring to being both contemporary and authentic to the artists involved. The first of these releases is I Believe To My Soul.

About Rhino Entertainment
Formed as a novelty company more than 25 years ago in the back of a Santa Monica record store, Rhino has become the world's leading pop culture label. Emphasizing flawless sound quality, bonus tracks, informative liner notes, award-winning creative packaging, an offbeat sense of humor and a strong social conscience, Rhino continues to set the standard for excellence in the reissue business it pioneered. The Rhino catalog of more than 3,000 CDs and videos includes material by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Chicago, Black Sabbath, John Coltrane, Yes, Alice Cooper, Linda Ronstadt, The Ramones, The Monkees, Carly Simon, The Grateful Dead, Curtis Mayfield and Elvis Costello, among others. Rhino Entertainment is a Warner Music Group company.

About Starbucks Hear Music
Founded in 1990, and acquired by Starbucks Coffee Company in 1999, Starbucks Hear Music is the voice of music at Starbucks. Starbucks Hear Music is dedicated to creating a new and convenient way for consumers to discover, experience and acquire all genres of great music through its CD compilations and music programming for Starbucks coffeehouses worldwide, as well as its innovative partnerships with other music labels to produce, market and distribute both exclusive and non-exclusive music. In 2004, Starbucks Hear Music launched a 24-hour digital music channel with XM Satellite Radio (XM Channel 75), the Starbucks Hear Music™ Coffeehouse in Santa Monica where customers can select from over 15,000 CDs or burn their own custom mixes, and the Starbucks Hear Music™ media bars, a service that offers custom CD burning at select Starbucks retail locations in Seattle and Austin. Starbucks Hear Music™ CDs are featured at Hear Music and Starbucks retail locations, as well as online at