REVIEW: “For a Better Life – a Fundraiser for Immigrant Families Together” is Topical Americana Music


 On December 3rd, Whistle Pig Records released For a Better Life, a record to benefit Immigrant Families Together. Immigrant Families Together is a “volunteer-run group that works fast to provide bonds, living expenses, medical, legal, and support for urgent needs of immigrant children and families at the U.S. Mexico border. Since June 2018, IFT has spent $710,500 on bonds, freeing 85 people, representing more than 25 detention centers and seven countries of origin.” 100% of the proceeds from For a Better Life go directly to Immigrant Families Together. Annie Bacon, Audrey Ryan, Charlie Mosbrook, Cloud Like Steps, Emily Zisman, Dyrty Byrds (fka Eric Martinez), Jimbo Scott, Megan Keely, Morley, Pete Donnelly (The Figgs), Ryan Trager, and the ‘Mericans contributed tracks for the project.

“Look your child in the eyes and tell me you wouldn’t do anything for a better life too,” Annie Bacon challenges the casual listener over plaintive acoustic guitar and reflective vocals on the project’s opener/title track. The ‘Mericans follow with “Climbing Fences,” a sparse Americana ride driven by an inviting bass line and tired snare reminiscent of an immigrants tired stride. “Who do you think you are, trying to rewrite history, tearing out the pages that you don’t want to believe, I know our history and it ain’t pretty, but learning from it leads to new beginnings,” reasons The ‘Mericans. Each artist presents a different take on the modern immigrant experience and the American dream. Highlights include Emily Zisman’s waltz “Bottle & Bowl,” Charlie Mosbrook’s brooding “Abandoned Big Box Story,” and Audrey Ryan’s xylophone and percussion dominated “Coyote.” Pete Donnelly brings appropriate noise and energy to his roots rocker “American Town,” a heartland radio ready tune equal parts Coug and Boss. Jimbo Scott’s “Live Free” compares immigrants’ tales from earlier generations to the current border crisis.

Whether you are looking for a collection of topical Americana music or a way to support immigrant families at the US Mexico border, For a Better Life will not disappoint. Visit to learn more about Immigrant Families Together’s mission, and look here for the album:

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