Shawn Hagood is Keeping the Blues Alive

It’s phenomenal to me how much music can really unify people, and bring out the pure and good in us all. If we see a stranger with a shirt representing our favorite band we automatically know that they are kin, and forgive them all wrongs. Music brings together enemies, creates couples, and even does it’s part to heal the sick and bring about world peace. I remember after being a decades long Beastie Boys fan one day I discovered that I wanted to help free Tibet, but today’s bands have the advantage of social media to get the word out a little faster. Now musicians can help push their causes by just hitting post, and the beautiful fans that are ready to help can find each other with just a click of a mouse.

DSC_4417 A very special gift I received this past weekend from a good friend got me thinking about all of this even more. My gift giver is a very beautiful person that I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person. This amazing girl is someone who I met through my love of music. My discovery of the awesomeness of Dirty Heads led me to Wicked and Wylee, which in turn led me to an entire family of spectacular humans. I’m not sure what it is about Dirty Heads that brings out the best in so many people, but it’s probably the outpouring of love the band members themselves dish out on a daily basis. They constantly use their talents for good in as many places as they can ranging from donating meet and greet tickets for auctions to feed the hungry to even reaching out to individual fans in times of crisis to help lift them up. The guys also delve into their own projects on the side such as Shawn Hagood’s wonderful work with charity.

DSC_4971 DSC_4878 Shawn is an international touring musician, and the owner at Hagood Media, LLC where he specializes in marketing, non-profit management, private music instruction, studio sessions, and touring. He graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a B.A. in Music Performance, and continually uses his musical gifts to enrich the lives of people everywhere he goes. Most people have seen Hagood tearing up the keyboards with Dirty Heads all over the country, but not only is he an integral part of the fantastic wicked and wylee phenomenon, but he is also one of the driving forces behind a wonderful foundation.  Shawn is President of  Keeping the Blues Alive, and as president Hagood strives each day to help search the country looking for schools who are in need of assistance with funding. Projects range from something as small as providing songbooks to as big as supplying funding for instruments.  His bio on their website states, “He believes that every little bit counts, and works to make sure that every dollar amount donated is allocated to music advocacy projects and the preservation of music education in schools across America.”

I love Keeping the Blues Alive not only for its charitable goals, but also because of my secret passion for blues that bloomed upon my first viewing of Adventures in Babysitting as a child. Nine times outta ten when I’m walking out of a bar the only thing going through my head is Albert Collins sultry voice saying, “Nobody gets outta this place without singing the blues,” and part of me hopes someone will stop me and make me. I’m madly in love with the blues, and obviously very fond of Dirty Heads, but regardless of my initial intentions for following that link shared by Hagood I’m happy that I did. Keeping the Blues Alive was originally founded by Joe Bonamassa, and promotes Blues Music by creating awareness about its impact on our culture. They fund scholarships and music education programs to counteract the lack of accessibility, priority and resources displayed in today’s education system. The foundation fuels the passion for music by funding programs and scholarships for students and teachers who possess the desire, but lack the resources or access to achieve their potential within the music industry. They spread the message that although music is an innate and accessible outlet for creativity, realizing your dreams in the music industry requires discipline, perseverance, and extreme dedication as well. Keeping the Blues Alive has been able to fund music projects affecting over 30,000 students since 2013 through the utilization of funds from generous corporate sponsor and donations from caring people all over the world.

Music plays such an important role in my life everyday, so I find it hard to believe that there are some that have to do without it. Music education is needed in every school system not just to satisfy an art requirement, but to give solace to the sad, an outlet for the mad, and to help glorify the joy. I’m thankful every day that I found Dirty Heads and all of the beautiful friends I’ve made through them. They have given me an outlet for my anger many times, they’ve helped me celebrate victories, and have always been there to lift me up when I am down. I’m beyond appreciative for their beautiful unifying melodies, and their ability to open the eyes of myself and others to those less fortunate in the world so we can help. I wish there were more people in this world like DH and Shawn Hagood to spread these beautiful missions of love. At least for now we can all be ever so thankful that with every stop on the tour and every note played that Shawn alongside Dirty Heads will create at least one more ally in the fight against this evil machine we call life.

Find out how you can help now at keepingthebluesalive.org and get updated info by following them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KeepingTheBluesAlive

Follow Shawn Hagood on Facebook for more chances to hear his music and support his wonderful causes at www.facebook.com/ShawnHagoodMusic

 

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Melodie Yvonne

Melodie Yvonne Ramey, owner, editor, & contributor at Photographic Melodie, grew up in the small southern Indiana town of North Vernon. She picked up her first camera at the young age of 5, and was immediately hooked. Every trip, even just to the local park, was turned into a fantasy scene of her own imagination that would later be turned into epic tales in word and photos.

Melodie spent her teen years learning from and mentoring under professionals such as Richard Young, John Sheckler, and The Grand Conundrum. She received an Associates of Applied Science in Visual Technologies majoring in Photography from Ivy Tech in 2002 after studying under acclaimed professors such as Hoosier photographer Darryl Jones, Jonathan Wilson, and many other masters in the field.

Melodie’s main focus has always been music photography. Growing up with photography and listening to amazing musicians inspired her dream to create visual images that made people feel the way they do when they hear the music. She wanted to help people SEE the music by capturing every magical moment of concerts that she could only dream about as she gazed into music magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin.

Melodie has done numerous jobs around the country ranging from working for bands to even being the official photographer on many southern Indiana Poker Runs. Her specialties are in nature, music, and candid event photography, as well as one of a kind photographic creations. Melodie published her first print book Photographic Memories: In the Beginning, a collection of poetry, in 2011, and has since published 2 more print works, Photographic Memories: Meet me in the Middle and Hoosier Heavens, her first photo book. Melodie currently acts as publisher, editor & lead contributor at Photographic Melodie and does freelance work with many other media outlets, venues, and artists.

Melodie says, “I started out with a Tweety bird camera and a dream and I never let go. I will always love photography and the vessel it has given me to share the images of my heart and mind with the world. I have found that every single person on this earth visualizes the world in very different ways. Some people are optimists, some are pessimists. Some people are daydreamers, and others keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. Photography allows me to show some of these different visualizations. It allows the rationalist to see that it’s okay to dream, it can show the monsters hidden in the dark, and it can show even the saddest of people that there is still joy in the world.”

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