Music community starts challenge campaign benefiting MusiCares

Members of the music community have adapted the ice bucket challenge for a new campaign benefiting MusiCares.

Done your ice-bucket challenge? Well, grab a favorite album and try the just-launched MusiCares Challenge.

Music publisher Tom DeSavia got the idea for a charitable challenge targeted to the music community and benefiting the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares program, which helps musicians in need.

The idea is that rather than be deluge in near-freezing water, musicians and music fans should take a photo of themselves holding a favorite LP ("one that has made or makes your life better," DeSavia says), donate $5 or more to MusiCares and post the photo to social media using the hashtag #MusiCaresChallenge. Then challenge three friends, or any of the musicians involved in the chosen album, to do the same.

So far, participants include singer-songwriter Sam Phillips, who is photographed with a copy of “The Best of Slim Harpo,” Joe Henry (Thelonious Monk's "Criss-Cross"), Rhett Miller (David Bowie's "ChangesTwo"), Kevin Griffin (Neil Young’s “Harvest”), Richard Edwards of Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s (“The True Story of Abner Jay”) and DeSavia, who kicked off the effort with a copy of X’s “Under the Big Black Sun.”

"I'd been reading comments from some people coming down on ice bucket thing, and I got a little miffed," DeSavia told Pop & Hiss. "Whatever the motivation, I think it’s great that people are giving ridiculous amounts of money" to ALS. 

“Peoples' main complaint was that [the Ice Bucket Challenge is] vanity," DeSavia told Billboard, "but who cares? ... It's not like we bought 'We Are the World' because it was a good song!"

"I’ve had a lot of interaction with MusiCares over the years," he said, "and I've become a big fan recently because a good friend and songwriter, Richard Edwards, was going through a really bad time, had to cancel a sold-out tour, lost 35 pounds due to a mystery illness that his doctors couldn’t figure out. He had really [bad] insurance, so MusiCares stepped in, got him diagnosed and treated.

"What amazed me was not only did it arrange to get doctors, and help with his financing, the compassion they showed, not just at the beginning of this thing, but throughout the process, it’s just been remarkable. It was one of those moments where I felt like I found my charity."

MusiCares’ mission is to help musicians facing illness, addiction, homelessness or other issues, many of them without medical insurance or any other financial safety net. More information on MusiCares can be found here.

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