[singlepic id=336 w=150 h=140 float=left]At the end of the month last October on the way to a dental appointment, I commented to a friend that I was at a point in my life and career where I felt compelled to do a community service project. I had recently recovered from a lung infection that scared the bejesus out of me and derailed my career and life for a bit and I was finally feeling better, able and ready to do some service work.
[singlepic id=335 w=250 h=150 float=right]I found myself a half-hour later, laying in the dentist’s chair at my dear friend, Dr. Shane Matt’s office. Shane is a fellow native Louisianan and one of the biggest hearted supporters of the Austin music scene and has aptly been nicknamed the “Rock and Roll Dentist.” Before individual dentists were providing services through the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians for Austin-area artists, Shane was spending his evenings and weekends fitting in his musician friends for much needed dental care.
[singlepic id=332 w=350 h=240 float=left]On this particular visit to see Shane, he was giddy. He had recently become a HAAM provider and was inspired to contribute to HAAM in new ways. His most recent inspiration was an idea to create a Holiday Album and concert for HAAM, donating 100% of the profits to the organization that keeps musicians alive and thriving here. Shane wanted to call it the “Holiday HAAM Jam.” He had already spoken with several musician friends as well as producer Mark Addison and had formed the concept for the album and concert. Since he was working on my teeth, I couldn’t reply; I just laid there and let all the information begin to bounce around my mind like a pinball game; i grew more excited by the minute. When I finally got use of my mouth, I replied “we have exactly 5 weeks to get this album on shelves; send me all the info of everyone you have on board and we’ll make it happen.” With grace, magic, love and hundreds of hours of work, somehow we pulled it off.
[singlepic id=330 w=350 h=240 float=right]With the help of many musicians including co-founders Rod Williams & Shelley Mac, producer Mark Addison, Publicist Mary McKowen-Christie, graphic-designer and photographer, Sanne de Muelenaere, Mark Hallman’s mastering skills and many other volunteers, we managed to record 9 songs on one Sunday afternoon; have several more already-recorded holiday songs donated by musicians; produce a concert and print 1000 mastered CDs of the Holiday HAAM Jam Vol 1 in 5 weeks. With no advertising budget and only the efforts of our tenacious team, we made it to #3 at Waterloo Records, Shelley King’s song from our album “Christmas in Austin” was in heavy rotation on the top Holiday Channel in Austin, Magic 95.5 and we had an amazing event at the legendary club Antone’s. With our volunteer efforts, we raised over $10,000 for HAAM with this inaugural album and concert and here we are a year later, with the Holiday HAAM Jam Vol. 2 on shelves and ready to go.
[singlepic id=334 w=220 h=140 float=left]It was the best holiday gift I could give and certainly the best one our musical community could receive. At the time, HAAM was unable to take on new musicians. We wanted to help them out in every way we could to raise funds toward helping them open their doors to the applicants in waiting. Our efforts alone didn’t facilitate this, but we were really glad to have the opportunity to help them move in that direction. After all, it truly does take a village.
This year we’ve had a little more time to produce the album and prepare for the concert and we have even been blessed to have a presenting sponsor, Fiat of Austin to help with the album expenses and licensing and graphic designer Crystal Spedoon from Cristofer Drake Advertising to help with the cd, ad and poster design as well as Mark Hill’s expert web services. We have been truly blessed! We took submissions from the community early in the year and had to choose between 68 artists. It was not easy to choose as Austin is home to so much talent. We had superstar Clint Black donate a song and we are excited to present songs from Carolyn Wonderland, Guy Forsyth, Ray Benson, Shurman, Noelle Hampton and so many more amazing musicians.
Our goal this year is to raise over $25,000 for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians with this album and concert. It truly makes a difference in the health of the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
[singlepic id=337 w=420 h=340 float=right]I hope that you’ll consider checking it out, coming to the show at Antone’s on Dec 12 — amazing lineup- Ray Benson, Carolyn Wonderland, Guy Forsyth, Noelle Hampton, Shelley King, Graham Wilkinson, Shurman, Invincible Czars, Samantha Russo, Rod Williams, Shelley Mac, Drew Womack, Jess Klein and MORE — and YES, I’ll also be performing too. You can purchase a copy of the album online or at Waterloo Records, Wild About Music, Antone’s Records or Rocket Electric Bikes. We even have discounted download cards that are a PERFECT and VERY affordable thing to include in your holiday greeting cards to friends & family. Every cent raised goes to improving the health of the music community we cherish so much here in Austin. What better way to spend your holiday cash? Vol 2. is available online HERE. Vol 1 is available online HERE. . . You can learn more and watch interviews with artists including Guy Forsyth, Jody Denberg & Noelle Hampton at our site http:www.haamjam.com.
[singlepic id=333 w=220 h=140 float=right]I have loved every minute of volunteering with this team of Holiday HAAM Jam folks and hope that we have the honor of continuing the tradition for decades to come.
With Love & Warmth