Organizations: The Georgia Legacy Foundation
The troubles of many homegrown musicians should make all of us sing the blues.
“I got tired of seeing hundreds of talented roots musicians spinning their wheels and not getting the support and recognition they deserve,” says Georgia Legacy Foundation Founder and Director Sammy Blue, a Decatur-based blues musician. “Atlanta is the most progressive boomtown in the South and a capital of civil rights, but our government and business institutions don’t recognize the value of indigenous music, both as a cultural and historical legacy and as an economic moneymaker with tourism.”
In 2007, he rallied others in the industry to form the Georgia Legacy Foun-dation, a nonprofit with the mission of promoting roots music, primarily classic soul, blues and R&B but also country and hip-hop, while creating an “environment of greater appreciation for … quality artists who continue to create exceptional music of historical content, yet have not achieved commercial success, industry acceptance or adequate public exposure.”
Or, as President Newton Collier, once a horn player for Sam & Dave, puts it: “Those who played but didn’t get paid.” Many lack health insurance and other resources, so the foundation holds benefit concerts that showcase local talent while assisting individuals with medical bills or families with burial expenses. Its “Players Care Program” provides medical referrals and “The Legacy Loves Kids” program works with special-needs children and local schools to foster a love for music.
The foundation currently is kicking off a campaign to develop a performance venue and museum.
“I understand the appeal of generational music, but our children need to appreciate their history,” Blue says. “Great music never gets old. People do.”