A long-time activist on behalf of impoverished individuals in the developing world, Stokes founded the “Calling all Crows” initiative with partner Sybil Gallagher just over three years ago. The organization’s mission is to mobilize musicians and fans to promote the empowerment of women all over the world through service projects. This week, Stokes spoke to Blast Magazine about the upcoming Boston show and goals of the charitable organization he co-founded.
The charity, “Calling all Crows” takes its name from the State Radio of the same title that was written by Stokes. The singer explained the symbolism of the name:
“We believe that crows are spiritual scavengers who lead us through tough times with knowledge of the underworld,” Stokes told Blast. Though name may require some poetic analysis to figure out, the aim of the organization is much easier to wrap one’s head around:
“The plan is to keep it going until women around the world have equal opportunities,” he stated.
The fund raising efforts of “Calling all Crows,” continue year-round. In the last two years the group has raised around $200,000 to aid women housed in refugee camps in developing nations like Sudan. It is with the annual benefit tour, however, that Stokes and his musical peers are able to engage and mobilize fans to help the cause. At nearly every stop of the seven-city tour, performers and fans have joined up to participate in pre-show projects such as, lunch making afternoons for Burmese refugees and discussion forums. This week’s Boston audience will also be given a philanthropic opportunity during this season of goodwill:
“There’s a write-a-thon on Thursday night (the night before the show) we’re doing with Amnesty International to free political prisoners around the world,” Stokes informed us.
For the show itself, the ex-Dispatch front man will be joined a number of his current label mates and former collaborators. As well running a growing charity organization, Stokes also heads up his own independent record label, Ruff Shod Records. Ruff Shod signings, White Buffalo and Bonnie Paine of the band Elephant Revival will comprise part of Friday’s bill. Singer / songwriter Erin Coughlin, who worked with Stokes during his time with State Radio, will also perform.
The real treat for fans and followers of Chad Stokes’ decade-long career on Friday night will come the moment he is joined on stage by Dispatch band mate, Brad Corrigan. Blast asked Stokes (who will release a solo album in the New Year) if his hometown audience could expect to hear renditions of old favorites by the band whose final show drew thousands to Hatch Shell by the Charles River.
“Yeah I’ve been playing one or two Dispatch songs in my set, as well as some State Radio stuff, then some classic tunes from the 60s and 70s,” said Stokes.
Stokes seemed to downplay the addition of his former band mate to the line-up. Friday, however, marks Brad Corrigan’s only appearance on the “Calling all Crows” tour, and, with the holiday season in full swing, a few surprising musical gifts can surely be anticipated.
As “Calling all Crows” co-founder, event organizer, and performer, Chad Stokes is clearly a busy man this December. But even with more on his to-do list than Chris Cringle this season, his excitement for the tour’s finale is evident. When asked what (if any) the significance of finishing things off in Boston, Stokes’ response was simple and enthusiastic:
“Save the big show for last! – We’re coming home!”
The Calling all Crows benefit show will be held this Friday night at the House of Blues. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster and at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office.