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"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

The title track from rock band Moist’s forthcoming album, End of the Ocean, due Oct. 1, tackles human consumption and its devastating results on the planet. The video uses footage from Mateo Guez’ 2009 film Off World, shot at Manila’s “Smokey Mountain” landfill once home to 30,000 people (it was removed in 2009). In the press release for the new single, frontman David Usher warns of people’s desire to make money “at the expense of the planet,” including the latest non-fungible token trend. “Can we just slow down on the love affair with the NFT’s, at least until we can make them climate-neutral?” Buy the song hereKaren Bliss

Patti Smith and her late husband Fred “Sonic” Smith’s 80s single from her album Dream of Life (and found on Land 1975 - 2002) has been used as an anthem and motivator in so many social justice issues and little guy proclamations. “And the people have the power to redeem the work of fools,” she sings. Smith has said they wrote the song to inspire others, reflecting back on their youth in the 60s, a time of signifant protest.    “We were trying to write a song that would reintroduce that kind of energy,” she told NME, adding that Fred “wanted it to be a song that people sang all over the world to inspire them for different causes. And he didn't live to see that happen, but I have.” Buy it hereKaren 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

 

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Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Murray McLauchlan addresses white privilege in his tell-it-straight folk single “I Live On A White Cloud." After George Floyd's murder and the global outrage against systemic racism, he was prompted to look hard at himself and his own advantages as a white man.  “I thought, ‘If I watch all this go down, and shake my head but say nothing, I’m just as guilty as anybody else,’” he explains in a press release. “I recognized my life has been easier — even in its difficulty from time to time — because of what I am.”   Watch the video hereKaren Bliss

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Philadelphia-based rapper Meek Mill's frank new single "Otherside Of America" bluntly confronts the anti-Black racism that so greatly impacts the United States and much of the Western world. The song begins with a sample from an infamous Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign speech in which he targeted African-Americans, before Mill begins to rap about his violent, often difficult upbringing. The song ends with a quote from a 2018 interview with Mill on CNN where he said, "I grew up in America in a ruthless neighborhood where we are not protected by police...we grew up around murder...I think you would probably carry a gun yourself. Would you?"  Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy.

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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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One of the most basic tools in combating the current coronavirus pandemic is the simple act of frequent, thorough hand washing. To help support this potentially life-saving habit, the children's entertainers at Sesame Street have just released "Washy Wash Song | How To Wash Your Hands," a short video jingle designed to encourage effective hand washing. In the animated clip Sesame Street star Elmo shows off some best hand washing practices while listeners are encouraged to sing along to lines like "move your hands and fingers in the places in-between, using soap and water makes your hands so clean." The song, which was released on YouTube on March 30, received almost 60,000 views in its first hours online. — Aaron Brophy

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West Palm Beach, Florida indie rock band Surfer Blood's new song "Parkland (Into The Silence)" reflects on the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida which resulted in 17 deaths, and is being used to bring attenton to gun control organizations March For Our Lives Everytown For Gun Safety. Surfer Blood's John Paul Pitts says the song is a testament to the students' couage. "Even though we haven't seen any meaningful legislation, these students were able to move the conversation into new territory." 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

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"When You Think No One Loves You," the new single from Scottish-Canadian singer-songwriter David Leask, is about confronting what he calls "an epidemic of loneliness," insisting in the final lyric, ""I'm just telling you, somebody does." The video follows the small sad moments of three unconnected people, an elderly widower, a single mom, and a bullied teen.  Says Leask, "My hope is that the video can raise awareness for and give comfort to as many people as possible who are feeling lonely and unloved in this world, whatever the reason may be.” Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy.
 

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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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Céline Dion may be best known these days as a Vegas residency legend and walking meme for living one's best life, but the "My Heart Will Go On" singer doesn't always sing about love. The singer's 2007 work "Skies of L.A." planted a flag for environmentalism by tackling air pollution. The song from Dion's album Taking Chances was written by the Tricky Stewart and The Dream and features a protagonist looking at Los Angeles' fog-filled skies and lamenting, "I don't know if tomorrow has a day / I don't know if the rays will shine my way again." Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy
 

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When a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year Calgary-based balladeer wanted to show her support with a song. The result is "Running" from Kai's same-named, just released four-song EP. Kai's friend is an elite runner who started competing for 101 kilometre ultra-marathon less than a month after having double mastectomy and "Running" is meant to soundtrack this race. "I will sending her off with this song at the starting line and waiting for her at the end," says Kai. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

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