Behind the glitz and glitter of the 50th annual Grammy Awards, there is something special going on to help victims of the 2005 hurricanes in the Central Gulf region. Founded by U2’s the Edge, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz and legendary producer Bob Ezrin, Music Rising is an organization dedicated to replacing musical instruments lost in the devastating storms.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the unique musical heritage that is New Orleans,” said U2’s the Edge. “So much has come from that part of America. From the birth of jazz, the roots of R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll, to the traditional celebrations in the streets, New Orleans has provided all of us with so many traditions.”
When the artists are finished with their Grammy rehearsals they go to a special area where they can relax and talk to some of the companies attending the event. This is where Gibson set up its area with several Music Rising Les Paul guitars available to be signed.
After explaining to each artist what the guitars and Music Rising project were all about, each gladly sat down and the signed the guitars. The guitars will be up for auction on May 31, 2008 in the second Icons of Music Sale in NYC, where some of the worlds great rock memorabilia will be up for grabs. All proceeds will go to Music Rising — last year the group raised $2.4 million.
Artists that signed the Music Rising guitars include Ringo Starr, Foo Fighters, John Paul Jones, Plain White T’s, Blair Underwood and Brad Paisley, to name just a few.
“When we created Music Rising in 2005 we had a mission which was to preserve the musical culture of the Central Gulf Region by replacing the instruments that were lost or destroyed in the storms,” said producer and co-founder Bob Ezrin. “We will continue to do that until the region is rebuilt and the music is restored no matter how long it takes.”
In phase one of the project Music Rising has helped 2,700 musicians gain back their livelihood by making sure they had new instruments. Phase two of Music Rising focused on replacing musical instruments for schools and churches — so far 40,000 parishioners and students have been aided from the project, but the work continues.
“We continue to support Music Rising as a cofounding partner and will do so in every effort to help restore the rich musical heritage which originates from New Orleans,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. “With the support of the Gibson Foundation we plan on staying the course until the region is rebuilt ‘Note by Note.’”