SEATTLE — You know what I'm missing? Live music. Like really, really, missing it. You know who else is missing it more? WORKING MUSICIANS. When the initial Coronavirus lockdown was put in place in March they saw one of their primary means of income evaporate.
You know what else working musicians are missing? Health Insurance! The whole "starving artist" thing isn't just a Hollywood trope. Many musicians work jobs where they have flexibility so they can concentrate on their first love - the music. These jobs by and large don't come with benefits, so if and when they get sick they can find themselves in dire straits.
Enter SMASH (Seattle Musicians Access to Sustainable Healthcare), a local organization started by musicians, friends of musicians, and husbands and wives of musicians who have seen up-close and personal what the lack of access to healthcare can to do to someone you love. Joining SMASH (for FREE) gives musicians access regular doctor visits, dental care, mental health and substance abuse therapy, hearing screening and more. This was important pre-pandemic but with the arrival of COVID-19 the need is exploding.
SMASH needs our help and they aren't asking for a hand-out. Local musicians from all over Puget Sound are coming together to put on a mighty good show that won't just be good entertainment. In light of the tightening of COVID restrictions - it will be just what you need right now.
Sunday, Nov. 22nd, SMASH is hosting the Songs of Hope Benefit Concert for Musicians Health . It will "showcase artistic videos with dynamic pairings of local musicians performing a mutually selected song that brings them hope and joy." I know I need some hope and joy right about now, how about you?
The pairings feature Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) with The Black Tones, Duff McKagan with Shaina Shepherd, The Head and the Heart, Allen Stone & Whitney Mongé and more.
EVENT INFO: Songs of Hope, A SMASH Benefit for Musicians' Health
SUNDAY, 11/22 at 4PM: Join us for A SMASH Benefit for Musicians' Health, a virtual showcase featuring pairings of well-established and emerging artists from the Pacific Northwest. You won't want to miss out on this incredible night of music from these fantastic performers who are helping us raise money for musicians' health. GET TICKETS
- Dave Matthews with Tomo Nakayama
- Mike McCready of Pearl Jam with The Black Tones
- Chong the Nomad with Caspar Babypants
- The Head and the Heart, Allen Stone & Whitney Mongé
- Duff McKagan with Shaina Shepherd
- Ayron Jones, Cameron Lavi-Jones & Lupe Flores
- Stephanie Anne Johnson with The Copper Trees
- The Naked Giants & Mirrorgloss with DJ LBSTR de la HOY
- Adra Boo & Nikhil V. Bagga with the SMASH House Band
Musician Tomo Nakayama on collaborating with Dave Matthews
I got to chat with "Seattle fixture" and Singer/Songwriter Tomo Nakayama about being paired with 2x Grammy Award winner, Dave Matthews.
"I actually was a huge fan when I was in high school, when I first started playing guitar and I actually have sheet music. Dave Matthew's Band first album. I kind of learned how to play guitar learning their songs, so it's pretty mind-blowing."
COVID restrictions meant the creative work was all done remotely. They sent files back and forth, had conversations over the phone about how the song should be arranged, and the instrumentation was done by the SMASH house band.
Despite the complicated logistics, Nakayama enjoyed working with Dave Matthews, "For such a famous, successful, musician, he's so down to earth and really complimentary and easy to work with, so that was really refreshing. I tend to sing kind of smoother and higher and he has this really rich, full, deeper voice, you know? So, I think our voices compliment each other well."
I'm looking forward to hearing it on Sunday at the benefit - where they'll be performing a cover of the Johnny Nash classic, I Can See Clearly Now.
Watch Tomo Nakayama perform his song "Tick Tock" from his new album "Melonday" in the video below!