The first-ever virtual HAAM Day got off to a solid start Tuesday morning and early afternoon, with more than a dozen local acts performing in two televised streaming segments and many others doing their online-only livestreams that helped raise additional donations to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.
HAAM Day usually takes place in local businesses across town, with musicians performing in grocery stores, bank lobbies, pharmacies and other businesses in addition to more typical nightclub and restaurant settings. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s all happening online this year, with streams on HAAM’s Facebook page and the luck.stream website of Luck Productions. Donations can be made via the streaming sites and at myhaam.org/donate.
Fox 7 TV host Dave Froehlich noted as an hourlong morning segment began at 9 a.m. that HAAM’s goal is to bring in $600,000 for this annual one-day fundraiser. Final figures won’t be available until later, but with more than a dozen official corporate sponsors, plus individual donations being made during the online streams Tuesday, the organization seemed well on its way to meeting that goal.
Highlights of the morning segment included performances by 91-year-old soul singer Lavelle White, high-powered rap act Blackillac, country singer Bri Bagwell, Reckless Kelly leader Willy Braun, and eclectic pop performer Mobley. One particularly poignant segment featured singer-songwriter Walker Lukens performing a solo-piano rendition of Willie Nelson’s classic "Funny How Time Slips Away" from shuttered East Austin venue Scoot Inn. (Lukens is selling a new album of Nelson covers via his website, with proceeds going to HAAM.)
A second hourlong televised segment at 2 p.m. showcased the diversity of the Austin music community. A jazz-guitar instrumental intro from Margaret Slovak set the tone for a sequence that included contributions from Spanish-language folk quartet Ley Line, hard-rockers Trail of Dead performing at Mosaic Sound Collective, piano legend Marcia Ball from her home studio, and soul purveyors Tomar & the FCs from Bud’s Recording Services.
Each televised segment also featured testimonials from HAAM members such as local musicians Jon Blondell and Kate Howard, both of whom spoke passionately about how HAAM’s services were vital in dealing with recent medical procedures they needed. Ad spots from sponsors were interwoven with informational slides that cited statistics such as the $86 million in health care services provided to more than 5,600 HAAM members since 2005.
Beyond the televised segments, many more local musicians are hosting individual livestreams on their own social media pages and taking donations for HAAM. Two examples: An hourlong performance from pianist Zack Morgan brought in more than $2,000, while a half-hour stream from singer-songwriter Barbara Nesbitt raised more than $300.
There’s more to come later Thursday. An online-only segment from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. will feature sets from Gina Chavez, Doyle Bramhall II, Glorietta, AJ Vallejo & Kelly Green, Corey Baum of Croy & the Boys, Frederico7, San Gabriel, Pelvis Wrestley, and Carey Hudson & Good Company.
And at 7 pm., Fox 7 Austin rejoins to telecast the two-hour finale, which will feature sets from Asleep at the Wheel, Jackie Venson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Grupo Fantasma, Ruthie Foster, Riders Against the Storm, Shinyribs, Hayes Carll, Nane, Nakia, Rosie Flores, Bands of Heathens, Indarjit Banerjee, Tiarra Girls, Alesia Lani, Gina Chavez, Jack Ingram, Glorietta and Bull y los Bufalos.