Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's About Doing Good

*file this post under: it's my blog and I'll write what I want to*

Hey friends! Long time, no talk to. Sorry about that! But, I'm here now.

So, I've been wanting to write this blurb for a while. And now, with all the singular focus on 'the self-destructive habits of musicians' (a phrase coined by Access Hollywood, Extra and TMZ), I finally feel annoyed enough to do it. LOL

PLEASE don't get me wrong. I'm extremely sympathetic to the problem of addiction in the music industry -- and contrary to popular belief, the classical world is not immune from these same issues. But, for every high-profile story you see in the media, there are scores of musicians (nice pun, huh?) that do good every day.

Here are just three of those stories.

The Trews
I was first introduced to this Canadian-based band when they were opening for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in the UK last October. On the final night of my trip, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Colin (vocals/guitar) and Jack (bass) in a hotel bar in Wolverhampton just talking music, sports and life. Great guys. Their latest album, Hope and Ruin, now plays on my system on a daily basis. They really need to get their tushes South of the border more often.

Anyway, I heard the band do the song included below at an intimate gig here in NYC a few months ago and it just tore me up. Written and recorded for a lost soldier from their hometown, all proceeds from the song benefit the Canadian Hero Fund, an organization that supports military personnel and their families. No matter where you're from, the sentiment is universal.

Christine Ohlman
Petite lady. Big voice. Even bigger heart. Christine is one of those people you just feel blessed to know. She is as gracious as they come and can sing the heck out of a song.

Anyone who has any connection to New Orleans knows that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina hasn't gone away just because the news cameras have. For me, it's personal. I have family there -- some of whom lost everything in the storm. And, an innumerable number of musicians call that remarkable city "home." One of my favorite songs by Christine is included on the "Get You A Healin'" CD to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. Christine continues to do extraordinary work on behalf of that organization. Musicians helping musicians. I like that.

" darlin' New Orleans, where have you gone? Battered and bruised, all tattered and torn..."

Jeff Kazee
Sometimes the greatest joy can come from helping an organization right in your own backyard. Take long-time New Yorker, pianist/singer/songwriter Jeff Kazee, who wrote, recorded and donated the theme song for the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Madison Square Garden. His song "Give Some More" is featured before every Knicks, Rangers and Liberty game in the venue. That's dozens of times per year. Pretty cool to think how many people have heard it--especially now that people are actually going to Knicks games. Haha. #Linsanity

And...I would venture to guess that if you asked Mr. Kazee, he would say that regardless of his success playing with Southside Johnny, Bon Jovi, The Blues Brothers, and a host of other artists, that this is one of the true highlights of his professional accomplishments.

So, there you go. Whether it's writing a song, volunteering for a local organization, or making a donation of time, goods or money, we all have something to offer society ... yes, Access Hollywood, even musicians. ;-)

*jumping off soapbox now. splat!*