Country stars, music venues and other national organizations are coming together to heal the music. They're donating their time, talent and money to help get health insurance for Nashville's music community.
Oct. 20 is officially "Heal The Music Day" in Nashville. That means artists like Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and many others are donating 5% of their earnings on that day to Nashville non-profit Music Health Alliance.
Rodney Crowell helped conceive Heal The Music Day in order to raise money for the Music Health Alliance. That organization provides free services to get tens of thousands of Nashville musicians healthcare. Or, as Crowell tells Wide Open Country, it provides musicians "expert guidance through the mind-boggling maze that is called healthcare."
Erin Rae, the McCrary Sisters, Bobby Bare and Gretchen Peters will help celebrate the day with a free concert in Nashville's Centennial Park. Crowell says giving back is just something musicians feel compelled to do. "Musicians and performers are keenly aware that in order to keep an audience interested, you must give of yourself both energetically and creatively," he says. "You could say that most of us are are pre-disposed to give."
"I'm so excited to give back in the littlest way and help spread the word about this amazing organization," Erin Rae adds.
The whole concept began a few years ago, when Crowell made the decision to donate some money from a show with Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris to the MHA. "The sincerity of [MHA founder Tatum Allsep's] gratitude inspired me to focus my fundraising efforts entirely on the their cause," he says. "Since then I have. It became my cause."
Then, Crowell picked up the phone and started making some calls to friends. When he told them that he wanted to raise money for an organization that helps musicians get health insurance, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Artists from Keith Urban to Marty Stuart to Sam Bush got on board along with several local venues and music stores. For those Crowell and MHA didn't call personally, well, "The rest heard about it and volunteered," Crowell says.
Earlier this year, Rory Feek shared a moving personal testimonial about the MHA. When his wife Joey received her second cancer diagnosis, they wanted to seek treatment in a Chicago facility. But it wasn't an in-network hospital. The MHA helped them go to the hospital they wanted. The organization also helped them navigate their hospital bills.
In September, Feek played two solo shows to raise money exclusively for MHA as a "Thank You."
Crowell says the day is as much about raising money as it is raising awareness. "Many of our brothers and sisters in the music business still don't know how far reaching MHA's knowledge of all things health related truly is," Crowell says. "Nor do they know the depth of their staff's willingness to advocate on our behalf."
To date, the MHA helped nearly 6,000 music professionals in Nashville. The organization saved more than $16 million in medical bills and reduced premiums.