Texas Musicians Step Up After Hurricane Harvey

Edie Brickell performing at the “Can’t Mess With Texas” benefit. Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians had not shared an Austin stage in 17 years when Harvey slammed into Texas on August 25. But as it battered the Gulf Coast and dumped a year’s worth of rain on Houston in days, Dallas native Brickell and her band did what Texans do — they stepped up.

On September 22, along with Brickell’s husband, Paul Simon, they played “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas: A Benefit Concert for Hurricane Harvey Relief." It was the biggest of many benefit shows, and the Texas Music Office had to create a spreadsheet to track them.The event reportedly raised at least $2 million for the Rebuild Texas Fund. Brickell and Simon also donated $1 million to recovery efforts. The show also featured James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and Texans Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Jimmie Vaughan, Asleep at the Wheel and Ruthie Foster, among others. The show was led by music director Charlie Sexton, who produced two of Brickell’s solo albums.

New Bohemians bassist Brad Houser, Alpha Rev frontman Casey McPherson and Miranda Lambert also joined rescue efforts. Houser, a Dallas native, wound up shuttling flood victims home to reclaim whatever belongings they could. Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation transported Houston-area animal-shelter residents to other shelters to make room for Harvey animals. McPherson and his wife, McCall, helped engineer a massive rescue effort, and then created an innovative charitable platform, dubbed #StrengthInNeighbors.

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