I recently wrote a story on the Rhode Island-based duo Brown Bird for a regional entertainment publication. Dave Lamb and MorganEve Swain were touring in support of their April release Fits of Reason, and making a stop in Harrisburg, PA. I knew them from their past performances at the Newport Folk Festival, and was honored to have the opportunity to do the story. I'm a fan for sure, and we have some mutual friends, so I especially enjoyed the interview with Dave.
I'm on their email list, and two days ago I received the message that they were cutting their tour short after Dave had been admitted to the hospital in Houston, TX. He had had flu-like symptoms for the past six weeks, and blood tests during his Texas hospital stay showed that he was severely anemic and needed a series of blood transfusions. At the time of the message, they hadn't yet gotten a diagnosis or a plan for treatment, but had already racked up over $29,000 in medical expenses.
I know what it's like to be without health insurance. It's like one of those giant, cartoon anvils hanging over your head, and you can constantly hear the creaking of the rope as it frays and threatens to drop the hulking mass and squash you flat. The best you can hope for is to, you know...not get sick or injured. But this isn't always within our control.
I am also consciously aware, at all times, of how much I appreciate that there are people out there who are willing to take the leap and pursue music full-time. It means that people like me get to have amazing experiences that we would not otherwise get to have, were it not for the hard work and sacrifice bands like Brown Bird are willing to make to take their show on the road.
Apparently I'm not the only one who feels protective of people like Dave Lamb when something like this happens - I have been following the outpouring of support over the last few days, and it's so incredibly heartwarming to see how many people want to help Dave, even before there's been a diagnosis. Seems like my entire Instagram feed, and a large portion of my Twitter and Facebook feeds, were reposts of this photo of Dave, along with a link to the fundraising campaign. Word is spreading quickly, and friends and fans are stepping up to help.
In just three days, people have donated over $40,000 toward Dave's medical expenses. Most of these people, like me, don't really know Dave and MorganEve. We're fans. Friends of friends. Members of the Newport Folk family. Music lovers. People who feel that contributing what little we can is the least we can do after all the joy we've gotten from Brown Bird's music over the years. People who feel part of a community, and as part of it, like showing our support in their time of need is the right thing to do.
If you'd like to join me in helping Brown Bird, visit their YouCaring page to make a contribution.
Another opportunity for giving is to purchase prints from photographer Nate Burrell, who will give 100% of the proceeds to Brown Bird. He's got great shots of some of my favorite artists, like Jonny Fritz, John McCauley, Justin Townes Earle, and of course Brown Bird themselves. Like me, this guy doesn't know Dave and MorganEve; he's photographed them and, like me, feels compelled to help out how he can. I don't know Nate either, but I suspect we'd be friends.