One of the cool things about my job is getting to hang around with cool people — and, to me, the coolest category of people is and has always been the musicians. Of course, the best way to hang around with musicians is to play music, but that tends to require either prodigy genes or years of practice, neither of which do I have under my belt. Writing about musicians is not a bad substitute, but who doesn’t dream about playing with the band, spreading joy to the world? Well, now my cool job is giving me a chance to do something just as gratifying. New Hampshire Magazine is sponsoring the production of a CD full of holiday music, all by local bands and performers, with proceeds going to help families in need. It’s titled “Local Angels: Holiday Carols, Chants, Blues, Jazz and Musical Epiphanies.” I have to admit, when I started gathering songs for the CD, my expectations were not too high. How many musicians would be willing to record a Christmas song or to allow us to use something from their catalogs, just for the joy of helping some down-and-out neighbors? The answer? All of them. Every single musician or band that I asked was willing to participate. Here’s a list of the participants as of press time: Bill Staines, Randy Armstrong, the Angel Band, Mighty Sam McClain, Mama Kicks, Peggo and Paul, Steve Schuch, Ed Gerhard, Shannon Chase, Alouette Iselin and Melanie Everard, Kathy Lowe, Gene Durkee and Josh Logan. Some of the names should be familiar to anyone in touch with the regional music scene. Some of them are not that well known, but they are nonetheless wonderful musicians. I’ll tell you a little bit about each one in a story in our December issue. By the way, several people chimed in early to help get the music flowing. Bob Lord at Red Fez Records was an early believer, Betty Ann Sather at Great Meadow Music served as an inspiration, and Gerry Putnam at Cedar House Sound in North Sutton volunteered crucial expertise and encouragement. We’re taking orders for the CD now and it should be professionally mastered, delightfully packaged and ready to ship this month as the perfect present for the holidays, i.e. one that sounds good and does good at the same time. And since I’ve heard that the heavenly angels make music each time humans show a little charity to one another, you get this very cool fringe benefit. Every time you purchase a copy of Local Angels, you’re actually jamming with the band. To order CDs, send $15 for each to "Local Angels" c/o NH Magazine, 150 Dow St., Manchester, NH 03101 or visit http://www.nh.com/localangels.