The 2.2 trillion dollar aid package approved by the Senate this week includes a small but vital segment of the music-making community: writers, engineers, musicians and other support crew in the recording and touring industries.
Songwriter JT Harding, who is a board member of the advocacy group Nashville Songwriters Association International, says the inclusion, which wasn’t guaranteed and happened thanks in part to lobbying by the NSAI, is huge.
“Gigs are nonexistent now, and for all the people that bring us much-needed entertainment at bars across America where we dance, fall in love, (and) party with our friends, hopefully this gives them bit of a cushion until the virus is stopped.”
The deal allows for any member of the music community-at a local or national level-making under $100,000 a year, to apply for relief grants and loans. Harding, who’s co-written hits like “Sangria” for Blake Shelton and “Somewhere With You” for Kenny Chesney says the aid is not for songwriters like him, who’ve achieved a degree of commercial success, but for everyone else.
” I’m very lucky I’ve done well. This does not apply to me but to all of the up-and-coming songwriters in Nashville that will be the future hit-makers (so) they can keep working on their craft. Just like Tom Petty played all those bars in Florida for years becoming who he would be, it’s for the future Tom Pettys the future Taylor Swifts and all the roadies and tour managers and people that set up all these concerts that we love so much when summertime hits every year.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, NSAI President Bart Herbison says including members of recording and touring industry will save “tens of thousands” of jobs.
Harding was a guest last year on my podcast Write You a Song. He has a new song on Kenny’s upcoming album called The Heartbreaker (maybe that explains the above Tom Petty reference..?). He says that, to him, one of the the best parts of this agreement is “that Democrats and Republicans worked together looking out for music, and that makes me a proud American.”
How about that? There are still a few things we can all agree on.