Golden Donna releases therapeutic Carousel Hold album with proceeds going to Oakland Warehouse Fire Fund

Joel Shanahan Golden DonnaCropped


Joel Shanahan, also known as Golden Donna, has kept a low profile in the aftermath of the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 people last December. The eclectic Madison musician wanted the media focus to be on the victims. Golden Donna was the headliner that evening and while Joel managed to survive the fire, fellow 100% Silk labelmates Cherushii and Nackt did not make it out of the building.


In a worst-case scenario, patrons and performers of the DIY-style warehouse show were trapped in a second-floor performance space that unfortunately had no observable exit signs or path to safety after a fire broke out.

Anyone who participates in the independent music scene has been to at least one DIY show in a Ghost Ship-like venue, never thinking of the potential safety hazards. A national debate started after the tragedy that threatened to close down similar underground off-the-radar performance spaces that represented a safe haven for marginalized audiences and emerging niche artists.

In an attempt to reconcile and move forward through the healing power of music, Joel put his feelings down on an album. The recording not only helped soothe a tortured soul, but offered support for several charity funds that have been set-up for the families of the victims.

Joel made the album announcement on Facebook last Friday:

“New Golden Donna album 'Carousel Hold' is out today. I'll be donating 100% of my proceeds to two different Oakland funds—the Immediate Oakland Fire Relief Fund 50% and the Samuel (Peaches) Maxwell Ghost Ship Fire Survivor Fund 50%."

Peaches was one of the last people out of the burning warehouse, crawling through the thick smoke close to the floor before finding an exit. He was placed in a medically-induced coma for five weeks and faces a long recovery road ahead.

It has been a rough two months for Joel who lost several friends in the fire and then had to face being named a defendant in a lawsuit as one of the alleged organizers of the ill-fated Ghost Ship show.

“Working on this has been insanely therapeutic for me,” said Joel. “I've got a lot feelings about it, but no way to explain them, so I'll spare you for now. Also, have an insanely long list of thank you's that I'm trying to pull together.”

Joel was kind enough to let us know that a benefit show will be held in Madison. More details coming soon. It’s good to see Joel back in action after such a devastating ordeal. We were worried about him.

"Carousel Hold" became the top selling Wisconsin release on Bandcamp over the weekend. Pick up a copy and spread the word. We leave you with the first track off the album "Time" while our thoughts and prayers go out to the 36 people that perished in the fire and the families they left behind.

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