Since 1981, Musicians Emergency Relief Fund has come to the aid of musicians in hard times. This weekend, in conjunction with the Kentuckiana Blues Society, MERF’s Booty Shakin’ Blues Benefit concert continues that mission.
Over the years, MERF’s concerts have raised money to assist musicians whose lives have hit a bump in the road: from replacing stolen or broken equipment to aiding in medical expenses.
“It’s a little shot in the arm when they need some quick funds,” says president Dave Modica. “If they need money to go to the grocery to get food, or to pay a phone bill to answer the phone in order to get a gig … maybe their guitar is broken, and we help them get it fixed. Usually for bigger events, people to come to us and say, ‘We want to help this person, can you help,’ and we do all we can to help them put on a good show to raise money.”
Nashville’s Josh Garrett & The Bottomline headlines Saturday’s benefit, which also includes performances from locals Blue Rebellion and P.S. Willie. The performers realize this isn’t just another show. “I always feel like it’s hard for musicians to get a foothold in life,” says Isaac Poole, singer and guitarist of Blue Rebellion. “I feel like it’s definitely a lifestyle they don’t do for money.”
“We’re all musicians,” adds Dee Ousley, vocalist of P.S. Willie “I would hope that if something happened to any of us, we’d have support. I’ve known musicians who have passed away, and (MERF) has come to help them out with the arrangements. It’s really good to know there is something out there for us.”
MERF and KBS will rely solely on donations to raise money, which will go in a general fund to benefit those helped through MERF as well as programs and relief provided by KBS. Volunteers will take donations throughout the show, and donations are always accepted through the MERF website.
Booty Shakin’ Blues Benefit
w/ Josh Garrett & The Bottomline, Blue Rebellion, Bryant Stevens Band, Jimmy Davis Band, P.S. Willie, The Travlin’ Mojos, Marilyn Kington and 2Loose
Saturday, June 26
New Albany Amphitheater
201 E. Water St.
Free; 2 p.m.