The Stone Foxes Set the Spotlight on San Francisco's Homelessness Epidemic in "Million Dollar Shoes" (premiere)

As part of the upcoming benefit album Blanket the Homeless, the Stone Foxes shine through the atmospheric, rhythmic rock of "Million Dollar Shoes", a song that sets the spotlight on the San Francisco Bay Area's homelessness crisis.

San Francisco is in the middle of a homelessness crisis. It's been reported that the city's homeless population has seen a double-digit increase over the last couple of years, citing a lack of affordable housing and continually growing inequity gap as root causes. Wanting to help, Marin-based producer and songwriter Scott Mickelson gathered a collective of revered names in current Bay Area music to record a benefit album. Entitled Blanket the Homeless, the album is named after the Bay Area organization that it will be benefiting. Co-founded by Ken Newman, the charity has donated thousands of care packages to the area's homeless population since being founded in October 2016.

Mickelson's all-star team of artists featured on the album includes Fantastic Negrito, Rainbow Girls, Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, King Dream, and many others. Its 15 songs are original works dedicated to supporting the San Francisco Bay Area's homeless population. This includes the Stone Foxes' "Million Dollar Shoes", which opens the album opens. The atmospheric track electrifies with its rhythmic rock instrumentation as lead singer Shannon Koehler drives attention towards a message that highlights the reality of the homelessness epidemic.

Koehler tells PopMatters, "I watch people sidestep folks who are homeless sleeping on the sidewalk downtown nearly every day. It's normal. It's heartbreaking and embarrassing for us as a society. It was that image, of people being walked on, that brought the lyrics out of my head. My brother Spence and I were playing for our family, just jamming after dinner, and he played some chords that made me think of those lyrics, and the song was almost entirely blended at that moment."

"Years and years later, I got a call from Scott asking us to be part of this project, and I knew this was something we'd want to be a part of. As a band, we've connected with many shelters and food drives to do our part to help folks in need over the years. For the last six or so years, we've asked fans to bring non-perishable healthy food to any of our shows in exchange for a free vinyl or a signed poster, and we'll take those food donations to the closest food bank."

"We're passionate about it because it's a crisis affecting our neighbors. So we said yes, and when Scott asked what song we'd like to do, I knew 'Million Dollar Shoes' was the right call. We had only done it acoustic in our parent's living room, so we had to adapt it to be electric, and Scott was instrumental in putting it all together. When we went to Scott's house we had never met Scott, we didn't know Scott, and I don't even think I had even talked on the phone with Scott. But he took us in, started ganging up on me with my big brother making jokes and whatnot, and it turned out to be a fabulous experience."





Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" Calls Out from the Past

Laura Nyro, a witchy, queer, ethnic Russian Jew, died young, but her non-conformist anthem, "Save the Country", carries forth to these troubled times.


Journalist Jonathan Cott's Interviews, Captured

With his wide-ranging interviews, Jonathan Cott explores "the indispensable and transformative powers of the imagination."

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Coronavirus and the Culture Wars

Infodemics, conspiracies -- fault lines beneath the Fractured States of America tremble in this time of global pandemic, amplify splinters, fractures, and fissures past and present.


'Switched-On Seeker' Is an Imaginative Electronic Reimagining of Mikal Cronin's Latest LP

Listeners who prefer dense rock/pop timbres will no doubt prefer Mikal Cronin's 'Seeker'. However, 'Switched-On Seeker' will surely delight fans of smaller-scale electronic filters.


IYEARA Heighten the Tension on Remix of Mark Lanegan's "Playing Nero" (premiere)

Britsh trio IYEARA offer the first taste of a forthcoming reworking of Mark Lanegan's Somebody's Knocking with a remix of "Playing Nero".


Pottery Take Us Deep Into the Funky and Absurd on 'Welcome to Bobby's Motel'

With Welcome to Bobby's Motel, Pottery have crafted songs to cleanse your musical pallet and keep you firmly on the tips of your toes.


Counterbalance 23: Bob Dylan - 'Blood on the Tracks'

Bob Dylan makes his third appearance on the Acclaimed Music list with his 1975 album, Blood on the Tracks. Counterbalance’s Eric Klinger and Jason Mendelsohn are planting their stories in the press.


Luke Cissell Creates Dreamy, Electronic Soundscapes on the Eclectic 'Nightside'

Nightside, the new album from composer and multi-instrumentalist Luke Cissell, is largely synthetic and electronic but contains a great deal of warmth and melody.


Bibio Discusses 'Sleep on the Wing' and Why His Dreams Are of the Countryside

"I think even if I lived in the heart of Tokyo, I'd still make music that reminds people of the countryside because it's where my dreams often take me," says Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson) of his music and his new rustic EP.

Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.


A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.


The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.