Various Artists

Can You Read This Boston?

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Boston is a town known for its high educational standards and its great music. What better way to show what Boston is really made of than to combine these two notable attributes? In an effort to raise awareness and money for the Boston Adult Literacy Fund (BALF), Boston teacher Rosie Cohen has put down her chalk and taken up the cause of the thousands of area adults who yearn to learn. Gathering a dozen of the area's most talented music writers, Cohen has compiled a collection of songs and stories, the proceeds of which will benefit BALF and the many people it selflessly serves. Complete with biographical, lyrical, and anecdotal information from each of the talented participants, Can You Read This Boston? not only demonstrates the strength of the Boston music scene, but also the generosity of those who make it great. While Nate Borofsky takes a tip from J.D. Salinger and Mark Errelli finds inspiration in the poetry of Secretary of Defense William Cohen, most of the songs deal with life lessons more than literary ones. Still, from Gozalo Silva's attempt to "get his act together" to the Beloved Few singing a la Richard Marx of "growing up and realizing second chances don't always come" and the glam-y Mercy James remembering his own postgraduate days in Florida, Can You Read This provides inspiration on multiple levels, both in terms of means and also message. Live tracks from Kevin So and Borofsky provide even more personality to a very personal and personable album. As an album, Can You Read This Boston? is impressive. As a source of education, it is brilliant.

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