Health Care touches Bluesmen too

We hear much of the political talk with healthcare at the center.  Well just as those working regular jobs need coverage so do the Blues musicians.  Because of their work medical coverage is hard to get or way too expensive.

The Blues Foundation has established its HART fund to help those in time of need.  It is one of the committees that I sat on while on the Foundation Board that was always active.

The Blues Foundation has established the HART Fund (Handy Artists Relief Trust) for Blues musicians and their families in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns.  The Fund provides for acute, chronic and preventive medical and dental care as well as funeral expenses.

Requests for funding can be made by contacting The Blues Foundation at 901.527.2583 ext 12.  You can also call to make a donation.

A short application form is required.  A committee reviews the application to ensure the individual qualifies and the request is for health related financial needs.

Grants generally range up to $1500. Funds are generally paid directly to the service provider.

Over the years, contributions have been made by our members and other donors and donations have also come from specific benefit events.  Funds donated to the HART Fund are dedicated 100% to artist relief efforts. Contributions may be made online here or by sending a check to: The Blues Foundation (HART Fund), 49 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103.

There are other resources that provide help to Blues musicians in need.  Testimonials from Blues Artists who were helped by the HART Fund will be provided at a later date or you can go to the Blues Foundation website.

Come back Thursday to the Blog for the week’s Blues Schedule.

Blues Schedule May 27 to June 2

Sunday Cypress Grill celebrates 75 years with a party from Noon to midnite with plenty of bands fun and food.

This Week’s Blues.

The blues schedule is as up to date as possible, but it’s always a good idea to call the club to confirm.

Warner Theatre: Friday, Buddy Guy; Torrington.

Doane’s Airport: Sunday, Ed Lepore Memorial Concert; Essex.

Infinity Music Hall: Friday, The Willie “Big Eyes” Smith Band w/Hubert Sumlin; Saturday, Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson; Norfolk.

Bridge Street Live: Wednesday, Guitar Shorty & Ana Popovic; Collinsvile. (860) 693-9762

The Baci Grill: Friday, The Steve Polezonis Trio; Cromwell.

Smokin’ With Chris: Saturday, Paul Gabriel Trio; Southington. (860) 620-9133

Cambridge Brewhouse: Friday, The Rich Badowski Blues Band; Granby.  860-653-2738

Maple Tree Café: Friday, McDonald/Teague; Simsbury.

Black-eyed Sally’s: Friday, Petey Hop & the Wildcards; Saturday, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones; Hartford. (860) 278 7427

The G.W. Tavern: Saturday, Eran Troy Danner; Washington Depot. (860) 868-6633

The Hungry Tiger: Tuesday, Sarah & the Tall Boys; Thursday, Chris Duarte; Manchester. (860) 649-1195

Boston’s Pizza: Friday, Brandt Taylor; Manchester.

Musky’s Eastside Pub: Friday, Eran Troy Danner; Waterbury.

Fred’s Brickhouse Café: Friday, King Cake; Saturday, King Pins; Willimantic.

Burkes Tavern: Saturday, Dan Stevens & the Fiery Band; Niantic.  (860)739-5033

Georgetown Saloon: Saturday, Johnny Boots; Georgetown. (203) 544-8003

Rock Ridge Country Club: Friday, Paul Gabriel; Newtown.

The Chamard Vineyards: Monday, Dan Stevens; Clinton.

 Johnny Ray’s: Saturday, Petey Hop & the Wildcards; Milford.

Two Brothers Country Pub: Saturday, The Ground Shakers; Voluntown.

Theodores’:; Wednesday, Open Mike; Springfield. (413) 736-6000

Gilreins: Friday, Crazy Rythem; Worcester. (508) 791-2583

The Knickerbocker Café: Saturday, Johnny Nicholas & the Dragons of the South; Sunday, Roomful of Blues; Westerly. (401) 315-5070

 

Weekly Blues Events

The Hungry Tiger     Blues Jam w/Gene Donaldson (Monday)

Black Eyed Sally’s     Open Blues Jam w/Mike Law (Wednesday)

Cypress Grill              Acoustic Open Mic Night hosted by Don Giroux (Wednesday)

C J Sparrow Pub & Eatery                         Ken Safety’s Open Mic Show (Thursday)

The Good Life Grill              Blues Jam w/Burt Teague (Thursday)

Sully’s Pub                             Pete Scheips Jam (Sunday)

City Limits Café        Eran Troy Danner Jam (Tuesday)

Café 9                         Sunday Open Blues Jam w/ host The Gatehouse Band

The Owl Shop            Greg Sherrod Band (Tuesday)

Spill the Beans Coffee House           Acoustic Open Mic w/Johnny I (Thursday)

Monster B’s Bar & Grille     Blues Jam w/Roxy Perry (Wednesday)

Sully’s Pub                             Pete Scheips Jam (Tuesday)

June’s Outback Pub             Open Jam with Steve Hatch and others (Monday)

 
 

Blues with a Big Heart

This weekend brought to mind a part of blues activity that gets mentioned but deserves much more.
We are accustomed to combining Blues and Brews and Blues and BBQ quite often. But we should also add Blues and Benefits to this. The generous spirit of the blues is as big hearted as it is talented.
Just looking at the state you see benefit concerts of all kind for a myriad of purposes. Some national events show the personal feeling of the blues up close with donations.
One of my favorites is down in Annapolis. Just this weekend it was the Chesapeake Bay Blues Fest. Right on the water it has been going on for a number of years. It started with charities getting some of the proceeds and continues until today.
Chesapeake Bay Events (CBE) held its first festival in 1998. It has quickly gained national notoriety as one of the premier Blues Festivals in the world. Outside of providing top caliber entertainment, the festival also gives ALL net proceeds to charity. To date the CBE has raised $800,000 for charities.
The first Plainville Blues & Brews festival is supporting the American Cancer Society. It is a good way to begin a fest and here’s hoping it has a long run. Looking forward to July 9th so join me at the Polo Grounds.
June 18th and 19th it is the 1st Annual New England Jazz & Blues Festival at Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury. This event has a number of charities on its list. They include Jazzed4Life,The Joe Beck Scholarship Fund ,The Litchfield Jazz Festival, Liz Bennett Lost & Pound WFSB – Bandit’s Place Inc. Animal Rescue.
This weekend, the feeling of community is being illustrated by a Sunday concert in memory of Edward Lepore of Ivoryton. He played for Blues on the Rocks and other bands. The band asked the family if it would be ok to run a festival in Ed’s memory. A number of bands will be getting together with the Lepore Wellness & Education Fund getting the benefits. (More details in this week’s Blues Beat column)
Coming up in June will be a memorial concert for Gary Bull. Gary was a big fan as well as a promoter of concerts. He used to run the River Cruises, something that I miss. Add to that his cooking skills and it was a lethal combination.
Gary passed away recently and his friends are getting together to help raise some funds to cover funeral expenses. The music will be great and I have a feeling that this is the kind of event that brings people closer.
Mark your calendar for June 18th at the VFW in West Hartford.
Speaking of the VFW, the Connecticut Blues Society has been holding events there for a few years. It is a good collaboration. The CtBS gets a good hall and the VFW raises funds for its projects.
One of my personal projects has been working with the CT VA to bring a monthly concert to the Rocky Hill facility. This would never happen without the generosity of Connecticut’s blues artists. A number of acts from solo to fullout 6 piece bands donate their time and play at the VA.
It is a great evening with a great audience.

Come back Thursday to the Blog for the week’s Blues Schedule.

Blues Schedule May 20 to 26

This Week’s Blues.
The blues schedule is as up to date as possible, but it’s always a good idea to call the club to confirm.

Black-eyed Sally’s: Saturday, B. Willie Smith; Thursday, Connecticut Blues Society’s 2011 Blues Challenge; Hartford. (860) 278 7427
Toad’s Place: Friday, The B.Willie Smith Band / Cobalt Rhythm Kings / The Manhattan Project; New Haven. (203) 624-8623
The Ridgefield Theater: Ray Manzarek/Roy Rogers; Ridgefield. (203) 438-5795
The Bar on Cedar: Friday, Jeff Pitchell (Acoustic);Newington. (860) 667-1733
The Blue Moon Café: Saturday, Bad Rooster; Plantsville.
The Firehouse Grille: Saturday, Tinted Blue; Plainville. (860) 747-2277
The Gateway Café: Saturday, EZ Street; Bristol.
Bridge Street Live: Sunday, Joe Krown Trio ; Collinsvile. (860) 693-9762
The Wall St. Bar & Grill: Saturday, Jeff Pitchell & Texas Flood; Cromwell.
Angelico’s Lakehouse: Sunday, Ms. Marci & the Lovesick Hounds; East Hampton.
The Cypress Grill: Saturday, Liviu Pop and Friends; Middletown. (860) 346-3367
Rentschler Field: Saturday, The Rising Pint Brewfest w/Pete Scheips; East Hartford, (800)745-3000
The Hungry Tiger: Saturday, The Magneatos ; Manchester. (860) 649-1195
Musky’s Eastside Pub: Friday, The D.W. Blues Band ; Waterbury.
Sneekers Café: Saturday, River City Slim & The Zydeco Hogs ; Groton. (860) 445-1967
Elks Club Lodge: Saturday, Eran Troy Danner; Waterbury.
La Tavola: Thursday, P.G. and his Blues Band; Waterbury.
59 Bank: Saturday, Hat City Blues Band; New Milford. (860) 350-5995
Greenwood’s Grille & Ale House: Friday, Eran Troy Danner; Bethel.
Triple Play: Saturday, Paul Gabriel & his Blues Band; Watertown.
Casa Dijanna: Thursday, Eran Troy Danner; Watertown.
The Village: Friday, Brandt Taylor & Friends; Putnam, CT
Redding Road House: Friday, The Walter Lewis Blues Trio; West Redding. (203) 938-3388
Long Ridge Tavern: Friday, The Paul Gabriel Trio; Stamford.
Georgetown Saloon: Friday, Petey Hop; Georgetown. (203) 544-8003
Stash’s Café: Saturday, Ms. Marci & the Lovesick Hounds; New London.
Two Brothers: Saturday, The Mike Crandall Band; Voluntown.
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center: Saturday, Chris Smither; Old Saybrook. (860)-510-0473
Theodores’: Friday, Ed Vadas; Saturday, Mark Nomad; Wednesday, Open Mike; Springfield. (413) 736-6000
The Knickerbocker Café: Saturday, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones; Sunday, Kevin Crandall Band; Westerly. (401) 315-5070

Weekly Blues Events
The Hungry Tiger Blues Jam w/Gina Gunn & Ron Pinney (Monday)
Black Eyed Sally’s Open Blues Jam w/Tim McDonald (Wednesday)
Cypress Grill Blues Jam Open Mic Night with The Redliners (Wednesday)
C J Sparrow Pub & Eatery Ken Safety’s Open Mic Show (Thursday)
The Good Life Grill Blues Jam w/Burt Teague (Thursday)
Sully’s Pub Pete Scheips Jam (Sunday)
City Limits Café Eran Troy Danner Jam (Tuesday)
Café 9 Sunday Open Blues Jam w/ host the Rocky Lawrence Band
The Owl Shop Greg Sherrod Band (Tuesday)
Spill the Beans Coffee House Acoustic Open Mic w/Johnny I (Thursday)
Monster B’s Bar & Grille Blues Jam w/Roxy Perry (Wednesday)
Sully’s Pub Pete Scheips Jam (Tuesday)
June’s Outback Pub Open Jam with Steve Hatch and others (Monday)

Black-eyed & Bluesfest

The Summer season in Hartford kicks off with the Black-eyed & Bluesfest 2011. This is the 12th Annual Black-eyed & Bluesfest brought to the city by Black-eyed Sally’s.
There has been a change for the First Thursday event to holding it on Friday June 3rd. Get ready for the same good blues and Sally’s food.
The show starts with Eran Troy Danner from 5 to 6 pm. Danner represented Connecticut in Memphis this year. He played a great set and made the many, maqny fans that made the trip proud.
Next up is Johnny Rawls. He will be on stage from 6:15-7:30 pm. Rawls is familiar to Hartford fans and he continues to grow in national prominence as well.
Everyone gets excited when Christine Ohlman, the Beehive Queen gets on stage. Playing from 7:45-9:15 pm, she is sure to move the crowd. A Saturday Night Live regular, her Connecticut roots bring her to many local clubs. When she is not busy in state, she gets called for events from NYC to New Orleans.
Closing it out will be Anthony Gomes from 9:30 to 11:00 pm. Now, he will add the excitement you need to start the weekend off right. If you are ready to take the party to Hartford then you do not want to miss him.
Join the crowd in Bushnell Park for an evening of BBQ & Blues. It is good to put some of Hartford’s fine parkland to use. Remember that admission is free and fans of all ages are welcome.
This year’s sponsors include: Connecticut Blues Society, Hartford Advocate, HDI, GHAC, Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Fund, City of Hartford, Office of Cultural Affairs.

Come back Thursday to the Blog for the week’s Blues Schedule.

Guitar Center – King of the Blues

In case you haven’t heard Guitar Center, the world’s largest musical instrument retailer, is once again kicking off its King of the Blues competition. This is the fifth annual effort to discover the next great blues guitarist.
Guitarists can go to any one of Guitar Center stores across the U.S. on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 and strut their stuff. They will perform a live guitar solo. They will be backed by one of thirty original tracks developed by musician and producer Pete Anderson.
One winner from each store will be chosen and move up to the district competitions, which will be held in 25 store locations.
District winners will then move up to regional competitions, you get the idea When only five guitarists are left, they perform for a panel of celebrity judges at the King of the Blues finals. This year to be held at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.
Finalists will perform alongside Warren Haynes, guitarist for Gov’t Mule and before that the Allman Brothers Band.
The winner gets a prize package worth more than $50,000, including $25,000 pocket change, studio time with Anderson – a Grammy™ Award winning producer – and prizes like a Gibson Collectors Series 1959 Les Paul reissue guitar and a copy of the limited edition Robert Johnson: The Complete Original Masters – Centennial Edition box set. There are also nice prize packages for the district and regional winners
Guitar Center’s King of the Blues competition for real. The 2010 winner, Randy Scott, hadn’t played his guitar in over a 10 years. He entered and won and now he plays the blues for a living. The 2009 winner, Kirby Kelley, opened for Eric Clapton at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2010.
Go to the Guitar Center website for more details on the King of the Blues competition. You can also download backing tracks to get ready for your award-winning blues solo.

Come back Thursday to the Blog for the week’s Blues Schedule.

Sam Charters – Connecticut to Blues Hall of Fame

While people look at Connecticut and don’t quickly associate it with Blues, we have a lot going on.
The night before the Blues Music Awards, the Blues Foundation presented The 2011 Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. This year Sam Charters from Connecticut was inducted.
The Blues Hall of Fame is a historical record of those who have made the Blues timeless through performance, documentation, and recording. Since its inception in 1980, The Blues Foundation has inducted new members annually into the Blues Hall of Fame for their historical contribution, impact and overall influence on the Blues.
Members are inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in five categories: Performers, Non-Performers, Classics of Blues Literature, Classics of Blues Recordings (Songs), Classics of Blues Recordings (Albums). Therefore, individuals, recordings and literature are included in the Blues Hall of Fame.
There is no submission or nomination process, fan voting or the like for induction in to the Blues Hall of Fame. Instead, each year a distinguished panel of blues scholars begins the process of discussing who they believe should be given consideration for induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. After some back and forth, they vote in each of the five categories. The number of nominees in a year may vary.
Samuel Charters took part in the 1960s blues revival in America. His blues story reached new audiences through writings and record productions, promotion and photography with his wife Ann.
He began his music writing with New Orleans jazz. Blues soon became his focus, and he began doing field recordings in 1955, with his wife Ann, he searched out both the surviving elder statesmen and younger undiscovered talent, gathering their stories as well as their music. Their 1959 recordings of the Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins proved instrumental to Hopkins’ rediscovery.
His book, Country Blues (1959), was a landmark book, pulling together the threads of blues history in both a musical and cultural context. His writings have been influential, bringing to light aspects of African American music and culture that had previously been largely unknown to the general public. His writings include numerous books on the subjects of blues, jazz, African music, and Bahamian music, as well as liner notes for numerous sound recordings.
Charters remained a leading figure in blues documentation and recording, producing albums for Folkways, Vanguard, Prestige/Bluesville, Sonet, and other labels, ranging from traditional Piedmont and Memphis blues to the eye-opening Chicago/The Blues/Today! set of electric Chicago blues, and publishing more books on blues and jazz, along with works of fiction and poetry.
Charters moved to Sweden in 1971 and later began dividing his time between Sweden and Connecticut, where the University of Connecticut now houses the Samuel and Ann Charters Archive of Blues and Vernacular African American Musical Culture.
From approximately 1966 to 1970 he worked as a producer for the anti-war band Country Joe and the Fish. Charters joked at a lecture celebrating his contribution to UConn, that if he spent any more time with the band he would not have lasted.
Charters is married to the writer, editor, Beat generation scholar, photographer, and pianist Ann Charters. The two have collaborated together on many projects, particularly their extensive field recording work.
Charters is a Grammy Award winner and his book The Country Blues was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1991 as one of the “Classics of Blues Literature.
In 2000, Charters and his wife donated the ‘Samuel & Ann Charters Archive of Blues and Vernacular African American Musical Culture’ to the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut.
The archive contains materials collected during the couple’s decades of work documenting and preserving African American music throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa. The archive’s materials include more than 2,500 sound recordings, as well as video recordings, photographs, monographs, sheet music, field notes, correspondence, musicians’ contracts, and correspondence. The lists of just his CDs fills four inch notebooks. Also included are old posters.
Each Thursady, the BluesBeatNews Blog post the week’s Blues schedule.

Blues Schedule May 13 – 19

This Week’s Blues.
The blues schedule is as up to date as possible, but it’s always a good idea to call the club to confirm.

Black-eyed Sally’s: Thursday, CT Blues Society’s 2011 Blues Challenge; Hartford. (860) 278 7427
Infinity Music Hall: Wednesday, John Mayall; Norfolk.
FTC Stage One: Saturday, Shemekia Copeland; Fairfield. (203)-319-1404
Bridge Street Live: Sunday, Scrapomatic; Collinsville. (860) 693-9762
The Mohegan Sun: Sunday, David Foster & The Mohegan Sun All-Stars; Uncasville. (888) 226-7711
Fish & Chops: Saturday, The Steve Polezonis Trio; Southington.
Lucky Lou’s: Saturday, The Paul Gabriel Trio ; Wethersfield.
Tuscany Grille: Friday, The Steve Polezonis Trio; Middletown.
LaVita Gustosa: Friday, Basically Blues Band; E. Haddam. (860) 873-8999
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center: Friday, Ronnie Earl; Old Saybrook.
Waters Edge: Saturday, Basically Blues Band; Westbrook.
Stonehouse Bar & Grill: Friday, Frankie & The Know-it-alls; Baltic.
The Steak Loft: Wednesday, Dan Stevens & the Fiery Band; Mystic. (860)-536-2661
Jake’s: Friday, Bad Rooster; Wallingford. (203) 793-1782
Triple Play: Saturday, The D.W. Armstrong Blues Band; Watertown.
Shortie’s Pub: Friday, The Ground Shakers; Oakdale.
D’Amelio’s: Thursday, Paul Gabriel & his Blues Band; Waterbury.
The Old Toll Gate Inn (The Zoo): Friday, Eran Troy Danner; Woodbury.
Lanza: Saturday, Kathy Thompson Band; Ansonia.
Billy’s Pasta Cosi: Saturday, Eran Troy Danner ; Branford.
Fred’s Brickhouse Café: Sunday, First Baptist Gospel Brunch; Willimantic.
Grady’s Tavern: Saturday, Junior Krauss & the Shakes ; Manchester. (860) 646-9554
The Crabshell: Thursday, Otis and the Hurricanes; Stamford.
Georgetown Saloon: Saturday, Johnny Feds & Da Bluez Boyz; Georgetown. (203) 544-8003
The Shack: Saturday, Otis and the Hurricanes ; Stamford.
RiverWalk: Saturday, Dan Stevens & Chris D’Amato; Mystic.
Theodores’:; Saturday, Mike Law & the Playboys; Wednesday, Open Mike; Springfield. (413) 736-6000
Finnegans Tavern: Friday, The Crispy Cat Blues Band; Springfield.
The Knickerbocker Café: Saturday, Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice ; Westerly. (401) 315-5070

Weekly Blues Events
The Hungry Tiger Blues Jam w/Brandt Taylor (Monday)
Black Eyed Sally’s Open Blues Jam w/Tommy Whalen (Wednesday)
Cypress Grill Acoustic Open Mic Night Hosted By Don Giroux Ryan Goodine and Nick D’Errico(Wednesday)
C J Sparrow Pub & Eatery Ken Safety’s Open Mic Show (Thursday)
The Good Life Grill Blues Jam w/Burt Teague (Thursday)
Sully’s Pub Pete Scheips Jam (Sunday)
City Limits Café Eran Troy Danner Jam (Tuesday)
Café 9 Sunday Open Blues Jam w/The Cobalt Rhythm Kings
The Owl Shop Greg Sherrod Band (Tuesday)
Spill the Beans Coffee House Acoustic Open Mic w/Johnny I (Thursday)
Monster B’s Bar & Grille Blues Jam w/Roxy Perry (Wednesday)
Sully’s Pub Pete Scheips Jam (Tuesday)
June’s Outback Pub Open Jam with Steve Hatch and others (Monday)

The Blues Schedule appears each Thursday.

Connecticut Blues Society Band Challenge First Night

This Thursday (May 12), the Connecticut Blues Society Band Challenge kicks off with the first of 4 preliminary rounds. Each week bands will compete to represent Connecticut at the International Blues Challenge, in Memphis. The Challenge is at Black Eyed Sally’s, in Hartford. The bands will 25 minutes to “show their stuff”. And a panel of judges following Blues Foundation rules will select a winner.
Fans get an evening of fine entertainment, the chance to have a nice meal, dance and enjoy the Challenge.

The winner of each prelim will compete in the Final on June 16. The line-up for Thursday is as follows:
The Pete Scheips Band
Pete is a long time veteran of the blues challenges and a fixture on the Hartford scene. As a singer, songwriter, and bass player, Pete is experienced on electric and acoustic guitars. His CD was released in Europe. A very popular Hartford musician, he is a great way to start the Challenge.

TC and Company
These are experienced musicians who bring soulful vocals to their blues. They know how to “work the crowd”.

Sarah T Band
A 5 piece band, with guitars and sax supporting the soulful vocals of Sarah T. A Blues Challenge needs Influenced by jump blues, Etta James, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin.

Mike Crandall Band featuring Sam Gentile
One of the premier blues bands in the northeast. Always one of the best, with powerful Mike Crandall on cals and harp and Mighty Sam Gentile on guitar and vocals. This band has been to the IBC representing Connecticut and Boston.

Dizzy Fish
This is the first time in the challenge for this high energy band known for their passionate performances.

Judging the first night are Lisa Giogno, Peter Rost (aka River City Slim), Buzzy Fallstrom, Eran Troy Danner, Cynthia Fabian, Doug MacNeil, Bunny Logan, and Sue Meeker.

Come back Thursday to the Blog for the week’s Blues Schedule.

Music Maker Relief Foundation

The Music Maker Relief Foundation is an organization that does good for musicians and the music.

The Music Maker Mission:
Music Maker Relief Foundation keeps our culture vital by directly supporting senior (over 55) American roots musicians in need. We provide for basic life essentials while expanding their professional careers so that our rich musical heritage can be shared with the world and preserved for future generations.

Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted hundreds of musicians who represent the traditions of Blues, Gospel, Old-Time String Band, Jazz and more.
The Music Maker Relief Foundation is an organization that does good for musicians and the music.

The Music Maker Mission:
Music Maker Relief Foundation keeps our culture vital by directly supporting senior (over 55) American roots musicians in need. We provide for basic life essentials while expanding their professional careers so that our rich musical heritage can be shared with the world and preserved for future generations.

Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted hundreds of musicians who represent the traditions of Blues, Gospel, Old-Time String Band, Jazz and more.

Music Maker’s programs ensure the talents of these cultural treasures are accessible through hundreds of US and international live performances, multi-media documentation and outreach initiatives.

Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is a tax exempt, public charity under IRS code 501(c)3.

Programs
Musician Sustenance – grants to meet basic life needs and emergency relief.
Musical Development – grants and services for recipient artist professional development and career advancement.
Cultural Access – supports the preservation and proliferation of American musical traditions.

Now those are the words that tell you what they do but it is the heart the MMRF has that really tells the story. Many talented musicians that might not have had a chance to display their gifts do so with the help of MMRF.

The MMRF is headed by Tim Duffy who has some Connecticut roots. Through his work in college and after the MMRF emerged. Tim, wife Denise and a crew of dedicated people keep the MMRF doing good. They have a number of artists that will make you take notice. A group of artists used to regularly perform at the Portsmouth Blues Festival in New Hampshire.

I first met Tim when MMRF had a national tour headlined by Taj Mahal, a big supporter. One of its dates was in Stamford. Mudcat, John Ferguson, Beverly Watkins joined Taj for an exception evening. My favorites were harmonica player Neal Pattman and guitarist Cootie Stark.

Tim introduced me to Cootie and he fast became a favorite. Cootie got ill and Tim sent out his number figuring phone calls might pick up Cootie’s spirits. When I called the woman who answered the phone call out, “Hey Cootie, it is your friend Dom from Connecticut is on the line.” Cootie passed on, but I remember that phone call to this day. I still wear my pin that says, “Cootie for President.” If you saw Cootie you know he would have been the best-dressed President this country ever had.

And that is what I mean about an organization with Heart with a capital H. Yes they do a lot with the musicians. Some have now toured worldwide, recorded and been put on DVDs. Yet it all comes back to the heart. They work for the human spirit. They expose the public to players and styles you might not otherwise see and give the players a chance to shine on a bigger stage.

Music Maker Relief Foundation also encourages and mentors younger artists performing Southern traditional music. While these artists do not receive financial support, they are assisted in other ways to foster the continuation of Southern music through this “Next Generation.”

An example of the next generation work is John Lakota Locklear. He is 14 year old Native American, was 7 years old when he started playing harmonica and 9 years old when he picked up his first guitar. He was intrigued by the sound of the slide guitar and wanted to learn to play. About a year and a half later, he bought himself a glass slide, placed it on his pinky finger and has been sliding ever since.

Their good works continue and you can be part of it. For more information go to: http://www.musicmaker.org/.