Charity Song Spotlight

Toronto's Big Wreck has released a cover of Sting's insightful and compassionate Cold War commentary "Russians," with proceeds going to the UNHCR, the United Nation Refugee Agency aiding the people fleeing the Ukraine. The rock band, led by Ian Thorney, recorded the 1985 song in early January and planned to release it later this year, never imagining its relevance the following month. "We have an opportunity to help," the band posted on Facebook. "By downloading, sharing, and donating, you’re providing much needed resources to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The time is now, to help the millions seeking refuge from the ongoing attacks on Ukraine." You can buy the download here. — Karen Bliss

The song that brought a tear to actor Ryan Reynolds' eye is now available for sale. “Whew! What a week it's been! The response to 'Canada Loves You Back,' the song I wrote in honour of Ryan Reynolds for last week's Governor General's Performing Arts Awards has been MUCH bigger than I'd anticipated,” singer Steven Page posted on his Facebook. He added that many people have been asking for the song to be added to Spotify or Apple Music or other streaming services and he raced to oblige. “I decided to donate the streaming and downloading proceeds to Reconciliation Canada, one of the many great charities that Ryan supports,” wrote Page. Buy it here. — Karen Bliss

"I'm sending you some money, I wish it could be more," is the first line of  the ballad “Dreams of the San Joaquin," which Michael McDonald, Willie Nelson and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo have covered to raise money for Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services and United Farm Workers of America. “COVID has ravaged this quadrant of the American workforce disproportionately," said McDonald in a statement. The two charities "are working hard to bring vaccine awareness and financial help to provide distribution to this demographic so hard hit by COVID-19.”  The song is $1 USD. Buy it here. — Karen Bliss

Veteran country stars the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have assembled an all-star team to cover Bob Dylan's classic "The Times They Are A-Changin'" to support the Feeding America charity. Feeding America's mission is to fight to end hunger by supporting the nation's network of food banks. The band enlisted Jason Isbell, Rosanne Cash, The War And Treaty, and Steve Earle to contribute to their version of Dylan's 57-year-old song. All proceeds from the Bandcamp purchase of the song or from streaming revenue will go towards Feeding America. Buy it hereAaron Brophy

Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang wrote a touching song "Distance" for his late father that is resonating with many people who have lost someone. "No matter what the distance is, I will be with you," he sings. Couple that with a beautiful video featuring home movies of the two of them together, since Wolfgang’s birth, saying lots of I love yous, and it literally brings a tear to your eyes. The song is the first from the legendary guitarist’s son under his solo band Mammoth WVH.  Eddie died Oct. 6 of cancer. Proceeds from “Distance” go to “Pop’s favorite charity,” wrote Wolfgang, Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, which has donated more than 33,000 musical instruments to 1579 American schools over 24 years. Buy it here. — Karen Bliss



Calgary, AB indie-pop musician Adam Ambrose is using his music to salute frontline health staff. Ambrose has dedicated his new single "Heroes" to those combating COVID-19 and has donated a percentage of the profits from the song to the Canadian Red Cross COVID Relief Fund. Ambrose was inspired by the close family members he has who work at Calgary's Foothills Medical Centre. The video for "Heroes" features Ambrose's friends, family and supporters showing messages of support for the health workers who are risking their lives during this global pandemic. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

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Rising country star Thomas Rhett has released the star-studded "Be A Light" to support those in the music industry impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, recruiting Reba McEntire, Keith Urban, Hillary Scott, and Chris Tomlin to help on the song. Profits from "Be A Light" will go towards music industry support charity MusiCares' newly-created COVID-19 Relief Fund. Said Rhett, "I knew in my heart this was the time to share this message with the world and our community. The voices who join me on this track are some of the brightest lights I know. I hope this song serves as a reminder that we are all in this together." Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

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"All Babies Must Cry," the moving new song from folk musicians Sxip Shirey and Rhiannon Giddens, is being used to support and defend the children affected by mass detention policies at the U.S. / Mexican border. Written by Shirey more than two decades ago, proceeds from the newly released version will go towards RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), a non-profit agency that provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children, families and refugees in Texas. Says Shirey, "The U.S. should not be separating children from their parents and keeping them in cages. No one should even have to say that publicly." Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy


Noir-pop star Lana Del Rey has dedicated the proceeds from her new song "Looking For America" to three separate mass gun shooting victims funds, the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund, the El Paso Community Foundation Victims' Relief Fund, and the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund. In the song Del Rey sings, "I’m still looking for my own version of America/ One without the gun, where the flag can freely fly/ No bombs in the sky." The three separate shooting events happened in late July and early August, inspiring her to create the anti-gun violence song. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

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"Yeah fooball...victory, happiness, glory, fame." The unlikely combination of professional soccer player Petr Cech and Queen drummer Roger Taylor have come together for "That's Football," a song about the sport that will see all its proceeds donated to the the Willow Foundation. Cech, an elite goalkeeper for Arsenal in the English Premier League, announced he was retiring at the end of this season and this song is his farewell tribute. He asked Taylor to help him fulfill this vision. The Willow Foundation, which was founded by former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter Bob Wilson, provides "special days" to seriously ill young adults living with life-threatening conditions aged 16 to 40. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

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