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Songwriters join forces for charity on ‘Write’

Rock by the Sea has been using music to raise money for various causes for nearly 15 years.

In addition to concerts at St. George Island, Fla., since the mid-2000s, the organization started inviting musicians to stay at an island beach house, collaborate with other songwriters and write and record new music.

“Write By the Sea Vol. 2,” available starting Friday, features 11 songs by Michael Logen (whose songs have been featured on “Nashville,” “Parenthood” and “One Tree Hill”), Todd Wright (songs for “Bones,” “Proven Innocent,” “Switched at Birth”), Steve Everett (who’s toured with Hunter Hayes, Cassadee Pope, Sister Hazel), JR Moore (tour credits including Maroon 5, Zac Brown Band, Gavin DeGraw, Jason Mraz, Hanson) and others.

Everett is a Southerner through and through — the Nashville singer-songwriter was born in Georgia and raised in North Carolina — but he’s no stranger to the Mahoning Valley. He and Canfield musician JD Eicher frequently tour together, and Everett has played many gigs in the area, including regular appearances at Eicher’s JD Summer Songfest.

“JD is one of my favorite people on the planet,” Everett said. “We’ve gone on tours together, we talk all the time and he has a big heart for charity as well.”

He has fond memories of those Summer Songfest appearances and was looking forward to coming back this year before the day-long festival was canceled.

“I seem to always have a good time,” he said. “Quaker Steak & Lube the night before Songfest is always a fun time hanging out. And being on stage with Red Wanting Blue and Sister Hazel, I’ve gotten spoiled in Youngstown. It’s only good experiences.”

Rock By the Sea also has been a good experience for Everett, who made his first appearance in 2012 and now serves as its vice president.

“It’s an all-volunteer board. No one’s getting salaries, skimming off the top,” he said. “It’s a good, transparent organization.”

Proceeds from the album will benefit brain cancer research, and past beneficiaries include immunotherapy research, Down Syndrome outreach and Feed the Children.

“Write By the Sea, Vol. 2” was written and recorded last November, and some of the musicians met for the first time at the beach house.

Everett is featured on three songs — the raucous “Yankee Girl in Nashville” with JR Moore, the moody “Blackout Lullaby” with Bradley Rhodes and the opening track, “Lighthouse in a Parking Lot,” which Everett wrote on his own.

“The first day down there, there was an odd number of folks and everybody was paired up, partnered off,” he said. “I didn’t want to be lazy since they have me as vice president, so I wrote one by myself.”

The digital album and CDs can be ordered from www.RockByTheSea.org and Bandcamp.

“It really is a fantastic record — uptempo, catchy stuff, world-class songwriters,” Everett said. “Everyone involved, nobody did it for a good paycheck. It was absolutely a passion project, a great community of artists who just believe in what we’re doing.”

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