Charity Song Spotlight

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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Foreigner, the masters of the power ballad, have re-recorded their 1984 hit "I Want to Know What Love Is" complete with a children's choir to benefit Shriners Hospitals For Children. The new version of the song features the Shriners Hospitals Kids Choir singing backing vocals and is a bonus track on the band's new charity album, The Greatest Hits Of Foreigner Live In Concert. An accompanying video for the song shows lead singer Kelly Jansen visiting a Shriners hospital where he plays basketball with patients and tours the hospital to witness amputees being fitted with new prosthetics. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

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Solo artist and former Shaye co-vocalist Tara MacLean has teamed up with theatre artistic director Adam Brazier for their acoustic pop version of Gordon Lightfoot’s1967 classic “Song For A Winter’s Night.” Produced by Bill Bell, Tom Cochrane and Jason Mraz' guitarist, and featuring cello by Kevin Fox (Chantal Kreviazuk), the pair is directing all the proceeds to the Upper Room food bank in Charlottetown, PEI, where MacLean was born and Brazier is based. “This lovely duet will warm your heart,” she wrote on her Facebook post. “Singing with Adam is truly a musical highlight for me.”  Buy it here. — Karen Bliss


Hamilton, Ontario rapper-activist Lee Reed has seen the impact of urban renewal/gentrification in his city as people move there from Toronto and he doesn't like the effect it's had on working class citizens. Inspired by the East Hamilton Rent Strike that has seen tenants push back against developers trying to force out long-time residents, Reed has released The Steal City EP about this battle. In "The Cost Of Tacos" Reed asks "who can afford this stuff?" in reference to boutique tacos, using them as an example to show how high the cost of living has gotten in Hamilton. Proceeds from the "$5 or more" EP will go towards the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network (HTSN) and the East Hamilton Rent Strike Defense Fund. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy


Dan Reynolds, the Mormon-raised lead singer for Imagine Dragons, has been confronting the more hateful, less welcoming aspects of his religious past in the new documentary Believer. One of the topics is the Mormon Church's mean-spirited stance on LGBTQ issues. Reynolds is using new song "Skipping Stones," written with Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, Gladiator, The Dark Knight) to push faith-oriented persons to move past lip service and vague platitudes of "love" and to "give true validity and fully embrace and support diverse sexual orientations." Proceeds from the new single will support the LOVELOUD Foundation. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy