JULY REVIEW – Willie Nelson hosted a virtual ‘Farm Aid’ benefit concert with Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp & Neil Young amid Coronavirus in April 2020.
For the first time in its 35-year history, Farm Aid — the annual benefit concert which helps raise funds for local U.S. farmers — will not take place at an outdoor venue, but online as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has put heavy restrictions on mass gatherings worldwide.
As well as Nelson, 86, board directors Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews took part in the Livestream and performed for viewers from the comfort of their own homes while in self-quarantine.
19-year Farm Aid Board of Director Dave Matthews has sold over 31 million albums and is 1 of the top 100 highest-selling albums of all time. This Grammy-winning, & multi-awarded icon performed marvellous solo acoustic splendour starting with his Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away from his 2002’s DMBLive: Benaroya Hall, Seattle WA album, he further perfected 1 of his most popular hits Satellite from 1993’s debut album Remember Two Things, as well from his 1995’s Under the Table and Dreaming. Dave gave us a powerfully irresistible version of Bartender from his 2002 Busted Stuff, 5th studio album. A surprise to fans, he introduced a BRAND NEW that night which has never been released or performed live. This song entitled Singing From The Windows was finally released via video 1 month ago, to give us hope, enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JPOoDFuyoM&feature=emb_logo https://www.davematthewsband.com
John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American singer/songwriter, the most important roots rocker of his generation, is a Grammy Award recipient and is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, painter, actor. He is a Nordoff Robbins Silver Clef Special Music Industry Humanitarian, Billboard Century, Woody Guthrie, Classic Songwriter and ASCAP Foundation Champion Award winner. As well, he is an Americana Lifetime Achievement Award and was bestowed the John Steinbeck Award given to those individuals who exemplify the spirit of Steinbeck’s empathy commitment to democratic values and belief in the dignity of the common man and is 1 of the founding members of Farm Aid. For over 4 decades his infectious melodies and compassionate lyrics wrap in workingman’s rock crystalize life’s joys and struggles and illuminates the human condition, a national treasure for sure. JCM brought us into his beautiful home, sharing 3 stupendous acoustic versions of his originals Save Some Time to Dream from his 21st album-2010’s No Better Than This album, illuminated us with an acoustic version of Jack and Diane from his #1 album, his 5th album-1982’s American Fool, Longest Days from his 20th Folk-Rock 2008’s Life, Death, Love and Freedom album and 1 of my favourites, Rain on The Scarecrow from his 8th studio album-from 1985’s from the same-titled album. https://www.mellencamp.com
Another Founding Member visit from 2-time honorary doctorate, Order of Manitoba, appointed to Order of Canada, Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Canada’s Walk of Fame inductee, 7-time Juno, 1 MTV, and Spirit of Liberty awarded, American Music Association Artist of the Year, and MusiCare’se Person of the Year recipient, yes I am referring to the 1 and only, Neil Young. He gave us strength and faith to keep positive with his motivational originals Vampire Blues from his 2016-8th recorded LIVE album entitled Earth. His inspirational Love and Only Love from his 18th studio album-90’s Ragged Glory. There could only be 1 song to sing for his last piece, you guessed it right, his effectively moving and perfectly relevant musical anthem of the times, Helpless.https://neilyoungarchives.com
American Farmers were hit hard in the 1980s by what was, at the time, the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. Droughts ravaged the fields, property values plunged, loan interest rates soared, thousands were forced off their land and faced for closures and bankruptcy, much like today’s times all around the world with this global pandemic. The farmer problem was widespread, but the issue was thrust into the spotlight on July 13, 1985, when Bob Dylan took the stage at Live Aid, a multi-site benefit concert for African famine victims. “I hope that some of the money that’s raised for the people in Africa maybe they could just take a little bit of it, maybe…one or two million…to pay the mortgages on some of the farms,” said Dylan from the stage of Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium. Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof later called the folk legends comments “cross, stupid and nationalist,” but where some saw insensitivity, musicians Willie Nelson (who worked picking cotton as a child), John Mellencamp and Neil Young found inspiration to host their own benefit concert, Farm Aid. It raised money, awareness and they sought to improve farming laws in Washington and has maintained its political presence over the years and promotes locally grown food.
To close this impressive live concert, the 37-time music award winning -13-time Grammy, 7-time American Music Award, 10-time CMA, 5-time ACM, 2-time TNN Music City News, 2-time Broadcast Music Incorporated legend himself, the most popular country music icon of the late 20th century, Willie Nelson, was joined by his incredibly talented youngest son who is a vibrant and iconoclastic musician and visionary artist named Micah https://www.jmicahnelson.com and his emergent eldest son who sounds just like dad, is kinetic, dynamic, ambitious and spirited full of insatiable and endlessly absorbing talent with Lukas, https://wwwlukasnelson.com The 3 harmonized beautifully as the trio performed together. They delighted us with I Thought About You, Lord from Willie’s 44th album from 1996 entitled Spirit. They further engaged us with an old classic Hands-On The Wheel from 1975, Willie’s 8th studio album-Red Headed Stranger followed by 1 of his largest hit, the singers most significant piece, On The Road Again from his 1980 Honeysuckle Rose soundtrack album from the musical drama same-titled. https://www.willienelson.com
Every dollar helps all farmers. “Let’s help give hope to the small farmer who needs it most, “ stated John Cougar Mellancamp. Willie Nelson commented in a statement on the show and the money raised, “The Coronavirus has disrupted our entire country and is a grave threat to all of us. One of its many impacts is that it has helped us to better see the value of essential people like healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, delivery truck drivers, farmers and ranchers. Farm Aid has worked for 35 years to build a family farm centred agricultural system and we are here now to support farmers and ranchers in this crisis, without whom we could not eat. The time to build a resilient family farm food system is now!” For 35 years, the annual benefit concert – which Nelson told the New York Times he thought “would only last one year” has raised $57 million, that has gone straight back to the farmers. At Home with Farm Aid raised $500K for the farmers April 11th 2020. Congrats….job well done! https://www.farmaid.org
FYI…Farm Aid at Home has been the second event Nelson has presented during the fight against the novel coronavirus. 1st one was March 19, the country legend hosted “Luck Presents: ‘Til Further Notice,” which treated viewers to a variety of performances by Young, Paul Simon, Randy House, Lucinda Williams and Margo Price among many others.