News Column

HAAM Day is special in the Live Music Capital of the World

September 23, 2013


Sept. 23--More than the Austin City Limits Music Festival or even South by Southwest, Tuesday's HAAM Day celebration/benefit is the biggest annual event for the Austin music scene. There are no throngs of out-of-towners raving about migas on this day that belongs to local musicians. With wellness as the day's theme, the songs ring out in businesses across town, from clubs to chiropractors: no badges or wristbands necessary.

There are a plethora of music festivals and confabs all over the world, but there's nothing else like this day devoted to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, when more than 275 businesses donate at least 5 percent of their proceeds and more than 200 acts play to support a program that provides free dental and low-cost health care to more than 2,000 current card-carrying musicians.

Last year, HAAM Day raised $312,000, about one-third of the organization's yearly operating budget. The first HAAM Day, in 2006, raised just over $50,000.

For the first time, a big concert to benefit HAAM will be held Tuesday at ACL Live, and there was no need to import headliners to draw a crowd. Organized by Gary Keller of Keller Williams Realty and producer Randy Miller, in conjunction with a new CD of musical pairings (Alejandro Escovedo with Susanna Choffel, for instance), the lineup for "All ATX: The Concert" is just that, 100 percent packed with artists who have witnessed how the cost of living in this "Groover's Paradise" has soared, while the money musicians can make has stayed about the same.

Tuesday night, the sense of community will be on display, with Eric Johnson playing guitar for Christopher Cross and Quiet Company jamming with Will Johnson of Centromatic. Such other upper-level locals as Jimmie Vaughan with Lou Ann Barton, Carolyn Wonderland, Charlie & Will Sexton, Ray Benson, Bob Schneider, Monte Montgomery and on and on will show that our home-based talent is national caliber. And they'll do it from one of the country's greatest stages. Tickets are $25-$45 at the door for this seated concert.

"I don't think we'll ever wrangle all of these folks together again in the same room," HAAM director Carolyn Schwartz said. Schwartz said the events such as All ATX and two benefit performances over the past year from Robert Plant are a sign of growth for the organization, which has helped more than 3,500 musicians in the eight-plus years since late founder Robin Shivers decided to give back to the musicians who've enriched all our lives.

HAAM had previously closed enrollment because of funding issues but started accepting new members again since June 2012. Many of the new members are musicians that recently moved to Austin. "They come see us pretty quick," Schwartz said. "They say they heard about (HAAM) before they even moved here."

HAAM also has been expanding outreach efforts, most recently to Austin's classical music community. "Sometimes the community thinks we're all about the rock 'n' rollers or singer-songwriters," Schwartz said. "We have a diverse group of musicians that we help -- everyone from the mariachi to the jazz player to the singer-songwriter to the classical musician."

Tuesday is a special day in the Live Music Capital of the World, where the tip bucket reigns supreme.

Rockin' Around the Clock for the Cause

An hour-by-hour sampler of free music during the day. Donation jars will be present and active. See the full schedule at

6 a.m. John Pointer at Whole Foods (main location at Sixth Street and Lamar Boulevard)

7 a.m. Sarah Pierce at Whole Foods (main)

8 a.m. Shawn Matthews at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (RM 620 location)

9:30 a.m. Amanda Cevallos at Grainger

11 a.m. Lorrie Singer/ Bradley Kopp at Torchy's Tacos (South First Street location)

Noon Jitterbug Vipers at Lambert's

1 p.m. Danny Britt at Seton Administrative Offices

2 p.m. Tex Thomas at Thundercloud Subs (South Lamar Boulevard location)

3:15 p.m. Patty Finney at BB Rover's

4 p.m. Billy Dee at Whole Foods Gateway

5 p.m. Wild Seeds, Shoulders, American People at Maria's Taco Express

5:30 p.m. Ralph White at Twin Liquors (Hancock Center)

6 p.m. Peterson Brothers at Wooldridge Park

6:15 p.m. Austin Girls Choir at Episcopal Curch of the Resurrection (2200 Justin Lane)

7 p.m. Paper Moon Shiners at Flipnotics

And then there's a full night of nightclub music, most with cover charges. Though if you want to keep the gratis going, you can't miss with Erik Hokkanen's Laboratory at Flipnotics at 9 p.m.


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