Local Luminaries Lend Talent To New Push For COVID-19 Relief


Susan Marshall
  • Susan Marshall
When the age of quarantine began, we wrote about the many initiatives to raise money for musicians caught over a barrel with the collapse of paying gigs and other work. One such relief effort, the Recording Academy's MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, raised upwards of $15 million. But the need was so great, those funds have now been completely depleted.

So several members of the organization banded together to spread the word and raise more funds, by way of a tribute to the recently departed John Prine. Prine, a 2020 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, who died April 7 from complications from COVID-19. A group of musicians and elected officials from Recording Academy chapters, including Christine Albert, Helen Bruner, Brandon Bush, John Driskell Hopkins, Tracy Hamlin, Tammy Hurt, Eric Jarvis, Terry Jones, Lee Levin, and Memphians Susan Marshall, and Jeff Powell, came together virtually while in quarantine to record a new version of Prine's "Angel from Montgomery."

As Tammy Hurt, vice chair of the Recording Academy board of trustees, and a drummer in the Atlanta chapter, observed in a statement: “John was a much-beloved country and folk singer/songwriter, with a very giving spirit. This project is a tribute to honor that spirit and, in turn, raise awareness for the work that MusiCares is doing to support music creators around the country affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Jeff Powell - JD REAGER
  • JD Reager
  • Jeff Powell
Susan Marshall, a singer well-known in the local scene, contributed the lead vocals and played the Wurlitzer keyboard. Her husband, Jeff Powell, served as the project's recording engineer.

Meanwhile, a salute to the singer/songwriter, Picture Show: A Tribute Celebrating John Prine, will be held online on June 11th at 7:30 pm. EDT. The performers have not yet been announced, but plans include family and friends sharing memories and Prine songs. The salute will be used to raise money for The National Alliance on Mental Health and Alive, a Middle Tennessee-based hospice and grief center.

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