| Special to The Post
Boca Raton music manager Roy Weisman’s support of blues artists amplified during the coronavirus crisis.
Weisman, who co-manages Boca-based rock label J&R Adventures with his partner, blues rock titan Joe Bonamassa, has raised with Bonamassa more than $250,000 to give back to musicians in need through their nonprofit, Keeping The Blues Alive.
“Perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments Keeping The Blues Alive has made is the creation of the Fueling Musicians program, which helps musicians affected by the COVID-19 crisis and supports them until they get back on the road to tour,” Weisman said.
Keeping The Blues Alive is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by two-time Grammy-nominated Bonamassa and Weisman. The foundation fuels the passion for music by funding projects and scholarships to allow students and teachers the resources and tools that further music education.
The Fueling Musicians program provides immediate cash payments for essential living expenses of $1,000, as well as a prepaid gas card of $500 and a $50 Guitar Center gift card to help musicians affected by the pandemic.
“It´s extremely rewarding for Joe and me to help new and struggling musicians move their careers forward,” said Weisman. “We know what it is like to be a struggling artist and over the years have appreciated the help we received from many successful performers and producers along the way.”
Recently, the duo’s Music Stream-A-Thon featured more than 50 artists. It featured more than five hours of music performances from musicians such as Buddy Guy, Peter Frampton, John Oates, Tommy Emmanuel, Larkin Poe, Walter Trout, Ana Popovic, George Thorogood, Eric Gales and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer.
“We raised over $50,000 in an afternoon, all of which will be given to artists in desperate need of relief,” Bonamassa said. “Reaching as many musicians as possible has been our goal from the beginning and I am pleased to see that we will be able to help hundreds of musicians with aid during these very challenging times. The more donations we receive, the more help we can provide.”
Weisman and Bonamassa started Keeping The Blues Alive with a promise that they were going to donate $500 to as many public schools as possible. To date, the foundation has benefited more than 70,000 students and funded more than 460 projects. Alongside weekly donations, Keeping The Blues Alive also funds merit-based scholarships and has supported students at some of the finest music programs in the country, including The Juilliard School, Berklee College of Music and Musicians Institute.
“Since we had firsthand experience in how little opportunity there was for blues artists and blues music in general, we decided this is where we wanted to put our support,” Weisman said. “We felt that J&R Adventures could do more on its own as a nonprofit utilizing the business acumen of our company to promote the genre of blues overall.”
The two men are working on creating content for TV programming, aside from the World of Guitar series, such as PBS; and other media outlets such as YouTube, Facebook, Netflix and Hulu that will highlight developing and current artists.
Other future plans include continuing to grow opportunities for developing artists to be seen and discovered through a music festival in addition to their blues cruises.
“All of which will help us to continue to fund music education initiatives in schools across America,” Weisman said.
Keeping The Blues Alive has been able to create a fundamental core platform that offers exposure to artists to be seen in a bigger light through its cruises and social media to more than 4 million fans.
“It gives us great satisfaction to know that the nonprofit we created has been able to do our part to help what is considered a struggling genre of music and artists who are doing their part to keep it alive,” Weisman said. “I personally love the blues genre of music very much, so when we were able to create the Keeping The Blues Alive cruise, which builds awareness for our nonprofit, raises money for our programs and showcases blues artists to over 2,000 people, it felt very rewarding.”
Want to help?
Individuals or organizations interested in helping or donating to the Keeping The Blues Alive website should visit ktba.org or ktba.org/fueling-musicians
Artists who would like to be considered for financial aid can fill out an application at ktba.org/fueling-musicians-program-application-form