This project started at the 2010 Kerrville Folk Festival when my dear friend, singer/songwriter Joe Jencks said to me, “Judi, have you ever thought about making a CD?” “Of course, I have Joe”, I answered and then proceeded to list all of the reasons why it was a bad idea and wouldn’t work. But Joe continued to encourage me throughout the weekend and the seed was planted.
After arriving home I just couldn’t seem to get the idea out of my head. But how to go about it? I wasn’t really interested in doing something commercial; certainly wasn’t interested in starting a new career. I very tentatively broached the idea with my friend, Welsh singer/songwriter David Llewellyn. He was incredibly enthusiastic and encouraging and the ideas starting bubbling up. When we talked about the possibility of making it a benefit CD the first person that came to my mind was my friend and pastor David Gentiles who had passed away much too suddenly in December of 2009, leaving a hole in countless hearts and a legacy that continues to live on in the lives of all the people that he touched. Of all of the people I knew David Gentiles would have been cheering me on the loudest.
And so it began. A non-profit, Love For the Underdog (http://lovefortheunderdog.org), was created. At the request of David's three daughters all of the after-cost proceeds from the project will go to Living Hope Mission in Haiti in his memory. David had a deep and abiding love for the people of Haiti and a close connection to Living Hope Mission. The collection of songs was chosen from some of my favorite singer/songwriters. Some choices, such as "Lean On Me" and "Stronger For Your Flame" were inspired by the man that David Gentiles is; some songs have a special meaning in my life; some are just songs that I love to sing by songwriters that I love and respect.
Since we started down this path innumerable people have pitched in to help. I have to pinch myself when I think about the incredible singers, songwriters and musicians that have contributed to making this possible. Carrie Newcomer, Tom Kimmel, Tom Prasada-Rao, Cary Cooper, David Llewellyn, Billy Crockett and Grace Pettis, are just a few of the wonderful and talented people who have said yes to my requests for help.
Who was David Gentiles and why would he inspire this project? Best selling author, Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) summed it up best in his moving eulogy at David's memorial service:
“I can’t think of a person through whom more love grew, more joy at your walking through the door, more peace with a simple life, more patience within the chaos that follows broken people, more kindness in the face of injustice in Haiti, more goodness as he cared for his daughters, more gentleness as he listened to your troubles, or more self control at the sometimes awkward and worldly institution of the church.
"His sermon, then, was Christ. It’s clear now. Like Christ, he created the church to get to people. He never wrote a book. He leaves behind no home, and few possessions. His passing was untimely and seemingly unjust. He spent his life ushering people home, standing in as a father, a shepherd, a brother and a friend.
"It’s our only comfort, then, that David and Christ are together now. They have everything in common.
"David Gentiles, we love you. We are so grateful for you. We will see you soon. Thank you for pointing us home.”
So, give a listen; buy a copy for yourself and maybe for a friend. Aside from getting an album filled with wonderful songs and gifted musicians you'll be making a contribution toward a little better life for the Haitian people. And isn't helping people what David was, and the music should be all about?