The Prison Music Project is an album of songs, poems, and raps by nine incarcerated (currently or previously) artists at New Folsom Prison (CSP Sacramento). The performers on the album will be a broad cast of musicians and songwriters, including some recordings that were made inside the prison of the writers themselves. The writers are Ken Blackburn, Spoon Jackson, Alex Batriz, Samuel Brown, Jacob “Drifter” Allen, Nathen Jackson, Abraham Banks, and Gregory Gadlin. It is being produced by Ani DiFranco and Zoe Boekbinder. Some of the songs began as poems, in which case the music was written by Zoe Boekbinder and, for one song, by Ani DiFranco.
The objective is to bring the stories out into the community even if most of the people they belong to remain locked up. The profits from album sales will benefit reentry programs for people being released from prison. Programs run by formerly incarcerated individuals will be prioritized for funding. Non-profit organization, Voice of the Ex-Offender, is partnering with the Prison Music Project to provide fiscal sponsorship.
“I’m feeling like I’m getting something up off of my chest.” said Alex Batriz when asked what he thought about Zoe using his raps on the album.
“It tickles the shit out of me,” Ken says when asked what he thinks of Zoe’s version of his song. “The biggest compliment one songwriter can pay to another is to use their material.”