My Exit: Gary Ferris

Gary Ferris.jpgIt's Monday, which means WEXT is running another My Exit show -- where the listeners get to pick their own playlists.

Today's host takes you beyond Band Aid and "We are the World" to look at a wide variety of good music that gave back...

I'm Gary Ferris from Greenwich. I am the executive director of the Adirondack Saratoga Chapter of the American Red Cross. I'm also a part-time soldier in the State Guard, assigned to the 89th Army Band at Camp Smith in Westchester County.

How would you describe your taste in music?
I have a pretty broad taste in music but probably lean more towards jazz than anything else.

A few Songs from Gary's My Exit:
I focused my show on popular music that supported charity.

"Bangladesh" - George Harrison
In August 1971 ex-Beatle George Harrison organized what would become the largest benefit concert of its kind to raise funds for UNICEF's relief efforts in the former East Pakistan. That country, which was hit with a major cyclone the year before, was in the midst of a brutal civil war pitting itself and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the succession of East Pakistan, which changed its name to Bangladesh. The concert for Bangladesh in New York's Madison Square Garden featured Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Badfinger, Ravi Shankar, and Ali Akbar Khan. It raised $243,418 for UNICEF. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $1.3 million today.

"Saints are Coming" - U2 & Green Day
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, producer Bob Ezrin, U2's The Edge and Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz founded Music Rising, a charity to replace musical instruments lost in the storm. One of the charity's earliest projects was a collaboration between U2 and Green Day to record The Saints Are Coming. To coincide with the record's release, the bands played the song together in the Superdome in September 2006 when the New Orleans Saints returned to their home field for the first time since the storm. Since then Music Rising has helped bring music back to New Orleans.

"El Caporal" - My Morning Jacket
On World AIDS Day 2010, record label 4AD announced that sales of the benefit album Dark Was the Night surpassed the $1 million mark. Among the beneficiaries of that album was the Red Hot Organization, the New York based agency that is fighting AIDS through popular culture. El Caporal is a selection off that album by My Morning Jacket.

"Goodbye" - Lelica
Lelica is an up-and-coming singer from New Jersey who works by day in her family's auto dealership while establishing her musical career. She wrote "Goodbye" in reaction to having been bullied in high school. Like Mike McLoughlin she has partnered with so that sales of this tune will benefit charity, in particular the American Society for Suicide Prevention. To download this song, visit

"Take Five" -- Dave Brubeck
When composer Paul Desmond died in 1977, he specified that after a few specific bequests, the rest of his estate -- including all future royalties from this 1959 Dave Brubeck hit -- would forever support the American Red Cross.

You can hear Gary's My Exit show tonight at 8 on 97.7 or at


For folks who don't know, Gary Ferris is also the star of the US War Story project - he recreates 40's radio focusing on popular hits from the WWII era. Besides being a great singer, Gary is one of the finest human beings you'll ever meet.

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