Music Heals International Benefit Concert | Sweetwater Music Room | 11/23/21

Collaborations including Bob Weir joining Lukas nelson for an unforgettable version of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” by Willie Nelson; an unamplified, dark version conducted by Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz / Elliott Peck of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” During a Power Outage; and a unique closing musical streak marked the eighth annual benefit on November 23 for Music heals the international (MHI).

MHI, who works extensively with children in Haiti (and recently also in India) describes itself as a “passionate group of musicians, educators, students and supporters who believe that music engages, unites and empowers.”

music heals the international |  Sweetwater Music Room

The evening’s sound expedition concluded with a final trio of selections featuring Weir and Nelson, supported by all of the evening’s musical characters: “Standing on Shakey Ground” by The Temptations, followed by two songs. from the band’s immortal album “Music From Big Pink”. – “The weight” and “I will be released. »The event, as in the past, took place at Sweetwater Music Room in Mill Valley, California.

Paul Beaubrun |  Mill Valley, California

The jewel of a show was made up of many scintillating facets. After a short film highlighting clips of young Haitians in music education, longtime MHI advocate Paul Beaubrun appeared on stage. With his charismatic smile, Beaubrun, son of Theodore “Lòlò” and Mimerose “Manzè” Beaubrun of Boukman Eksperyans, the first Haitian group to be nominated for the Grammy, delivered three passionate songs with Caribbean flavors. First, Beaubrun came up with a new ballad, “Congo Man”, about which he said during a recent WXPN-FM / NPR musical session:. He followed up with ‘Ezili’ and the timeless Bob Marley and The Wailers’ No Woman, No Cry.

Elliott Peck and Steve Adams |  Mill Valley, California

Then, Peck of Midnight North and other activities took center stage to direct Gillian Welch’s 1996 ballad, “Tear My Still House Down”. She was supported by Mookie Siegel of the David Nelson Band on the keys as well as Lebo, bassist Steve Adams and drummer Ezra Lipp, the latter three representing three-quarters of ALO.

Music heals international benefit |  Sweetwater Music Room

With the same band members plus Beaubrun, turntable DJ Logic and saxophonist Dave Ellis, Lebo conducted what turned into the most unusual version of his upbeat midtempo ALO, “Try”. And then, at 8:41 p.m., when the band was “right in the middle of the second jam section” of the song, Lebo recalls, it happened. Boom, the power went out in the middle of the song. With just a few emergency lights providing relief from the sheer darkness, the band performed, with no mic and no power outlet. Ellis, immediately recognizing that the keyboards, decks and bass were no longer emitting sound, put the band on his shoulders with his sax, delivering a very prolonged jazzy jam. When they finally ended the jam, realizing that the lights and power weren’t coming back immediately, there was a collective downtime where everyone, on and off the stage, reflected on how. it would all take place.

Dave Ellis |  Sweetwater Music Room

“It’s not the Sweetwater that came out, it’s all of Mill Valley,” said Lebo, before declaring, “We have acoustic guitars and we can play music for you.” Plus, to make sure the cast could be heard, he encouraged the crowd to follow what he called “Sweetwater’s Motto of“ Shut Up! has become too disruptive. Lebo also warned the public that if the emergency lights also went out, we would all have to exit the building for safety. So we were all there, in the dark, knowing that Nelson and Weir had to perform – but would they, could they?

Peck & Lebowitz |  Mill Valley, California

Moving forward with a certain timidity and much obscurity, the show continued, with Lebo and Peck sharing the lead vocals on the Steve Winwood / Blind Faith classic, “Can’t Find My Way Home”. When asked if they planned to perform this song, Lebo said, “This was the first time Elliott and I have performed ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ together. Interestingly, we planned to do this, but the plan was to end the set with a rock and huge version of it. Fortunately, it’s just as awesome when played like a campfire! “

Mookie Siegel |  Sweetwater Music Room

Lebo and Peck had the support of Siegel (strumming a guitar, which neither of us, including his wife who was there, had ever seen), Ellis on saxophone and Adams on acoustic bass. “Steve often has his acoustic bass with him backstage so we can review songs without plugging in,” Lebo said the next day. It’s especially useful for those kinds of things where we put things together on the fly. Of course, it was very useful last night!

Dan Lebowitz |  Sweetwater Music Room

Next, Jamie Clark, a Mill Valley resident and singer-songwriter, performed his original “Mother Mary”, backed by Grant Harrington of the Jamie Clark Band. Despite the lack of power, Clark’s authoritative voice and passionate delivery made for a remarkable performance.

“I love to be included,” Clark said after the show. “It’s a pleasure to work with Sara. Being connected to all these wonderful musicians was quite beautiful. Everyone was so kind and generous. I hope we will also be on the bill next year. MHI is such a laudable cause.

Lukas Nelson |  Sweetwater Music Room

After a memorabilia auction that brought in several thousand dollars in support of the nonprofit, no small feat to be achieved without microphones and lights, Nelson stepped out and played happily, without microphone. Nelson, who has been synonymous with MHI since its founding, supported only by Nelson & Promise of the Real, percussionist Tato Melgar, performed “Leave ’em Behind”, a sweet ballad from “A Few Stars Apart”, the new album by group . He followed that up with “Set Me Down on a Cloud” and the popular “Forget About Georgia”, in which the lights came on with a resounding cheer. Checking that everything was in order, Nelson rightly threw about 30 impromptu seconds of Hank Williams’ “Praise the Lord (I Saw the Light)”. Now back on solid footing, Nelson, with the right electric twang in his guitar, offered the captivating “Find Yourself”, before greeting Weir on stage from the backstage.

Bob Weir and Lukas Nelson |  Sweetwater Music Room

Weir and Nelson led the ensemble performance of three treats: “Before You Accuse Me” by Bo Diddly, an incredible rendition of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” by Willie Nelson and “Loose Lucy”, a song from the Grateful catalog. Dead that Weir often incorporates into this type of special event.

Music Heals Benefit Concert |  Mill Valley, California

Nelson then welcomed the full collaboration of the musicians on stage, as Weir walked away. After a track or two, Weir returned to the closing music tracks described earlier. The finale was a perfect ending number, with musicians and the crowd singing along with the chorus, “I see my light shining / From west to east / Any day now, any day now / I will be released. “

Founder and Executive Director of MHI, Sara Wasserman

Hosted by MHI Founder and Executive Director Sara Wasserman, daughter of the late Rob Wasserman, the Grammy-winning bassist who worked alongside Weir in a duo and with RatDog, and who also had a long list of collaborations in A premier studio, the show particularly benefited the Rob Wasserman Memorial Fund. Launched in 2018 by MHI, the fund has these stated priorities: a) making music education accessible to more children, b) encouraging girls to challenge gender norms by exploring instruments like bass, and c) promoting bass as a dynamic part of the MHI program.

Music Heals Benefit Concert |  Sweetwater Music Room

Check out more photos from the show.

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