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NC Artists Rally For Carrboro's 'Cat's Cradle' With New Album

Courtesy Cat's Cradle

The pandemic has devastated the arts industry in North Carolina including musicians, venues and the people they employ. A new recording released Thursday aims to lend a hand to one of the legendary venues in this state, the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro.

The venue was forced to close in March and can't resume hosting shows under current state regulations on mass gatherings. To support the musical institution, 25 artists cover some of their favorite songs for the new digital release "Cover Charge: NC Artists Go Under Cover To Benefit Cat’s Cradle."

Featured artists include Hiss Golden Messenger, Iron and Wine, Mandolin Orange, The Mountain Goats, Faith Jones and more.

According to a press release, the club — which has been around for 50 years — is struggling to make rent payments and to meet basic overhead costs.

Frank Heath, the owner of the Cradle, says the artists' generosity, and the fans who buy the recording, are part of what will help his business survive the pandemic. He says he's humbled by their efforts.

"Every one of these people on here, it just brings home to me how much of a community this is because most of the people in most of the bands,” Heath said. “I know them very well, so it's very touching and my admiration for all of these artists runs very deep.”

The economic impact of the pandemic on the live music scene is enormous. And Heath is concerned about the scene as a whole.

"A lot of bands had their whole year and their next year all plotted out for themselves and if they suddenly don't have that income, it can change the course of music as we know it," Heath said. "The entire industry, the agents and the crew, you know, the roadies, our staff and a lot of independent contractors who just sort of move gig to gig and venues large and small are just totally out of work and it could go on for a year or longer so its billions of dollars in lost income for everyone and our part is obviously a drop in the bucket and we're so lucky that we're getting some help."

The recording is available for digital download through Bandcamp. All proceeds help keep the Cradle open.

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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