“Blues is the healer.” – John Lee Hooker
The idea behind Blues For A Cure was born during a phone call with my friend Dr. Paul McCarthy, owner of Honeybee Records. We discussed the notion that Blues music can effect positive change in the world. We then discussed how to support that notion by raising money for a charity, paying the artists a reasonable wage, and presenting an awesome showcase of live Blues worthy of festival designation. At the time, my mother was undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. My younger sister and stepmother are cancer survivors and my piano player, John Popovich, is in remission. The charity was clear.
I spoke with Lori Popovich, of The American Cancer Society, and got the official go-ahead to move forward with this concept. Soon after, I met Blues enthusiast and Mediu CEO Mike Berichon, who last year lost his sister to cancer. Mike loved the idea and wanted to be a part of it. In the summer, Mike and I met with Tracy Moran and Steve Chaykowski at The OSU James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute. They embraced the idea and educated us about the different ways we could donate.
Around this same time, I met Mark Puskarich, of A Christmas To Cure Cancer, through mutual friend and musician Brian Duress. I learned that Mark and I shared a personal motivation to raise money for cancer research. He had been doing so successfully for several years through his amazing work producing and selling CDs, promoting live music events, and donating 100% of the proceeds to cancer research through A Christmas To Cure Cancer. Mark dedicated his time and resources to our new idea, and Blues For A Cure was born. The Sean Carney Band performed at a benefit event for A Christmas to Cure Cancer on November 30, 2007, at The Crown Plaza in Dublin, Ohio, and in February 2008 on the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, along with Mike Albert & The Big E Band, Chris Logsdon, Kelly Crum-Delaveris and Emerson Drive.
Whiskey Dick's is where The Sean Carney Band won The Columbus Blues Challenge in 2006 and started down the road to winning The 2007 International Blues Challenge. Management at the venue was so enthusiastic about hosting the event that they donated a percentage of the day's profits to Blues For A Cure! Following a meeting with Morse Road Guitar Center Manager Patrick Scott, Guitar Center came onboard as our first sponsor, committing to provide backline for the event along with Category 5 Amplification.
The Columbus Dispatch, WCBE 90.5 FM, BluesWax, and The Columbus Blues Alliance helped us get the word out about Blues For A Cure. Our great lineup featured The Delta Sheiks, Teeny Tucker, Hurricane Jerry & Stormfront, Cal Baldi, Willie Pooch & The Upsetters, The Don Norman Blues Band with Omar Coleman (from Chicago's West Side), and The Sean Carney Band. It was an incredible event and an incredible night of music. The folks who bought premium reserve seating felt they got more than their money's worth with seven hours of quality entertainment.
With our inaugural event behind us, Mark suggested we move forward with recording and producing the Blues For A Cure CD you now hold in your hands. This disc is a wonderful example of the healing power of the blues, because it brought together an amazing collection of blues musicians who share the desire to battle cancer and raise awareness. Although we planned that the CD would encompass Central Ohio blues, responses from friends in Detroit, Kansas City, Jackson (Mississippi), Cleveland and elsewhere came in to make this CD something more than we had planned.
During production of this CD, I learned my mother’s Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has returned. And, on May 22, 2008, we said goodbye to friend and Columbus Blues Alliance volunteer Shirley Spencer, who lost her battle with cancer. There’s another special person I would like to acknowledge who made the first Blues For A Cure such an incredible afternoon: Cal Baldi, who at 14, made his first appearance on stage at our event. It was to be Cal’s one and only show, as he didn’t wake up on the morning of his 15th birthday.
I am personally moved by all of the great talent that came forward to share the vision of what Blues For A Cure is all about….. through raising money to support cancer research and healing and supporting our loved ones through the power and honesty of music. Very special thanks to Mark Puskarich, to Avis Budget Car Rental Group (allowing 100% of the donations from this CD to go to cancer research), and to my business partner/drummer Eric Blume for being the rock who makes it possible for me to pursue this very special charity.
God Bless, Sean Carney
“I would like to dedicate my work on this CD to my mother, Mary Hinson, in her brave battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and to the memories of my dear friends Shirley Spencer, Cal Baldi, Jimmy "T-99" Nelson and Dave Bernstein.” – Sean Carney