On Peter Gabriel’s new album Scratch My Back, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer reworks songs by Radiohead, David Bowie, Neil Young, Arcade Fire and more artists into orchestral arrangements. Now Gabriel is releasing one additional cover that didn’t wind up on the LP — a solo piano performance of Tom Waits’ “In the Neighborhood” — as part of the Voice Project, a music-based initiative that’s raising awareness and support for the war-torn region of Central East Africa. Gabriel’s daughter Anna is one of the founders of the Voice Project, and his cover is also streaming on the sites of non-profit groups Invisible Children, Oxfam America, Resolve Uganda, WITNESS, and HOPE Campaign.
To bring awareness to the problems plaguing Northern Uganda, Southern Sudan, Eastern Congo and Central African Republic, the Voice Project has recruited a number of artists to play a game of musical tag. Gary Go started things off by covering Joseph Arthur’s “Chicago,” which was followed by Arthur playing Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey.” Gabriel opted to try his hand at the Swordfishtrombones track, revealing in a statement, “I’ve wanted to sing Tom Waits’ ‘In the Neighborhood’ for a long time and this was a great opportunity.”
Adding, “I love the idea that a song can reach people that can’t be touched in any other way,” Gabriel said he’s moved by how messages can spread by one mobile phone to another. “We can start dealing with the world’s problems linking person to person. That is what is powerful about the Voice Project’s original dream.”
Other episodes in the Voice Project have seen R.E.M.’s Mike Mills covering Billy Bragg, Steel Train taking on La Roux, Dawes performing Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes’ “Carries On” and more. Visit the Voice Project site for more information and to watch all the episodes.