Blues Foundation's HART Fund Helps Blues Musicians In Need

Blues Community Pulls Together To Help Its Own Through Poverty, Health Troubles, And Katrina Aftermath. Blues Music Awards Set For May 7 In Memphis.
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 The Blues Foundation's HART Fund (Handy Artists Relief Trust) helps Blues musicians and their families in financial need. Here are some examples of the HART Fund in action:

When Koko Taylor's band was in a serious van accident, The Blues Foundation, the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, local blues societies, and the larger community raised funds for their medical bills. The Fund, along with the Cascade Blues Associated, also helped Curtis Salgado with the funds to overcome cancer. "The whole community pitched in," says Blues Foundation executive director Jay Sieleman. The HART Fund assisted with funeral expenses for Chicago harmonica man Carey Bell and North Carolina blues shouter Nappy Brown.

In late 2005, contributions were earmarked to provide some financial relief for blues musicians impacted by Hurricane Katrina, including Irma Thomas, who will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2009. Recently deceased New Orleans legend Snooks Eaglin said in 2008, "After Katrina, the help from The Blues Foundation gave me a hand while I was down."

The Blues Foundation has also supported the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which aids elderly southern musicians living in poverty and also records their music for additional subsistence income and posterity.

The entire blues community will come together when the Blues Music Awards will celebrate their 30th anniversary May 7 in Memphis.

WHAT: The Blues Music Awards
WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 2009
WHERE: Cook Convention Center, 255 N. Main, Memphis, TN
TICKETS: $125, via or 901.527.2583 x10. (Tables of 10 are $1200.)

The presenting sponsor for the 30th Blues Music Awards is The GIBSON Foundation, and are also sponsored by ArtsMemphis, BMI, Casey Family Programs, Eagle Rock Entertainment, FedEx, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.