In January 2005, Louisiana's leading musicians came together as one voice to raise awareness of the destruction of South Louisiana's Wetlands. Nearly eight months later, as their record was being pressed, Hurricane Katrina demonstrated in the most violent way imaginable the impact of depleted wetlands. (Wetlands serve as a natural buffer in storms and floods and have a huge effect on drainage.) Although the album release of Voice of the Wetlands was planned well before the Hurricane Katrina disaster, its importance and relevance is now all the more significant. Originally, proceeds of its sale were going to help in bringing national awareness to the Voice of the Wetlands (VOW) organization (a non-profit founded in 2003 by Houma, Louisiana bluesman Tab Benoit to raise awareness of South Louisiana's coastal erosion problem,) but will now go directly to a relief fund set up to aid Louisiana victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Tab Benoit comments, "Before Katrina hit, VOW was trying to raise awarenessthat South Louisiana was in grave danger due to the destruction of our wetlands. We all saw this disaster coming for a long time. For the last month, like everybody else, we've been helping people recover from the hurricane. But our goal remains the same. If the people, culture and industry of South Louisiana are to survive,the destruction of the wetlands needs to be stopped and a program of wetlands renewal put in its place. We have a lot of work to do and we're hoping our record is going to help educate people."
On September 27, 2005, Rykodisc will release Voice of the Wetlands. Recorded at the Piety Street Studios in New Orleans, the 11-song CD features many of Louisiana's most renowned musicians coming together as The Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. Included are the voices and guitars of bluesmen Tab Benoit and Anders Osborne; the distinctive vocal and keyboard stylings of the great Dr. John; the voice and percussion of Cyril Neville, of Neville Brothers fame; legendary bassist George Porter, Jr., of the Meters; drummer Johnny Vidacovich of Crescent City favorite Astral Project; the voice and tambourine of (Mardi Gras Indian icon) Big Chief Monk Boudreaux; fiddler Waylon Thibodeaux; and the harmonica and accordion of Jumpin' Johnny Sansone.