The Day The Music Became Immortal: Songmasters’ “Listen To Me: Buddy Holly” Brings Holly’s Dream To Life

‘Listen To Me’ Holly Guitar To Be Auctioned To Support Emerging Music Talent

Only ‘Holly Guitar’ Available To Public

New Superstars Cobra Starship, Patrick Stump, Imelda May, More
Join Iconic Artists Ringo Starr, Stevie Nicks, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne And Others In Supporting Next Generation Of Music’s Great Talent

Auction Proceeds Benefit Grammy® Foundation ‘Grammy Camps’

On Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday in September 2011, Songmasters officially launched its unprecedented, year long multi-media campaign, “LISTEN TO ME: BUDDY HOLLY” to help benefit the next generation of music-makers, beginning with the Verve Forecast release of a star-studded album of the same name featuring contemporary takes on this pioneering rock ‘n’ roller’s timeless songs. Jackson Browne noted when doing his album track, “True Love Ways”, that Holly’s death on February 3, 1958 “was not the day the music died; it was the day the music became immortal.”

As we approach that anniversary date, Songmasters’ “Listen to Me” project proves that Holly’s music and legacy is indeed alive and well as it ushers in the new year with a new initiative in the program’s continued efforts to realize one of Holly’s personal dreams – to support the development of emerging music talent.

In collaboration with the Buddy Holly Guitar Foundation, Songmasters will auction the one and only “Listen To Me” Holly Guitar through CharityBuzz to benefit the GRAMMY® Foundation’s Grammy Camps. The auction, slated to coincide with GRAMMY 2012 festivities and events in February, is expected to generate great interest among rock aficionados, guitar collectors and music curators while it raises significant money for charity.

Only 20 of these unique, hand-built replicas of Buddy Holly’s customized 1943 Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar and leather case exist in the world. The “Listen To Me” Holly Guitar is the only Holly Guitar in existence that is available to the public. Notably, it will be the only one owned outright by anyone. All other Holly Guitars have been awarded on a long-term “legacy loan” basis to guitar luminaries such as Pete Townsend, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Phil Everly, Brian May, Dave Stewart, James Burton, Waddy Wachtel, Peter Asher, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Peter Frampton, and Albert Lee, among others – a veritable “who’s who” of world-class guitarists and performers.

Each Holly Guitar has been named after one of Holly’s most popular songs. This guitar recognizes and supports the Listen to Me/True. Great. Original. program’s charitable efforts to help young artists as well as for the classic Holly song, “Listen To Me” for which this on-going music series was originally named. A personal letter from Maria Elena Holly will accompany the “Listen To Me” guitar as will an exact replica of the original leather case which Holly himself hand-tooled, modified only with the addition of the words “Listen to Me” on the upper shoulder of the case. A second Holly song, “Blue Days, Black Nights” is in the lower shoulder, as it was on Holly’s self-tooled leather case to honor his first official recording of one of his songs.

The Buddy Holly Guitar Foundation (BHGF) has worked closely with Songmasters to provide this unique and exceptional instrument, consistent with the Foundation’s mission to recognize those who support talented young people “to express their musical voice.” The Foundation requires that recipient artists use these guitars in a manner consistent with Mr. Holly’s “dreams and wishes” and for the purpose of raising funds for designated charitable organizations. Artists receive the guitars for a two-year term, renewable at the option of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. These legacy guitars will be passed on by the present awardees to another guitarist in the tradition of Holly, with BHGF Board approval. However, only the “Listen To Me” guitar will belong to the person who acquires it through this auction.

Songmasters’ campaign continues to prove that Holly’s music – and musical legacy – lives and thrives, having already delivered an album that soared to #3 on Amazon’s Top 100 upon release, an historic concert which received outstanding reviews, and an acclaimed PBS special that premiered on over 290 stations in December. A whole new generation of recording artists – both established and emerging as superstars in their own right – have joined together with legendary producer Peter Asher to celebrate Holly’s legacy and to bring to life his dream of helping young music-makers through Listen to Me: True. Great. Original platform. Cobra Starship, Patrick Stump, The Fray, Imelda May, Zooey Deschanel and Michelle Branch have joined with established stars like Stevie Nicks, Lyle Lovett, Jeff Lynne, Natalie Merchant, Pat Monahan (of Train), Raul Malo, Boz Scaggs, and Shawn Colvin to honor Holly’s legacy together with such avowed Holly fans as Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Graham Nash, Phil Everly, Paul Anka, and Eric Idle. “Buddy did everything he could to make sure that talented young musicians and songwriters got a real chance,” explains Maria Elena Holly, Buddy Holly’s widow. “He would be especially thrilled, as I am, that so many outstanding artists are part of this effort to honor his personal commitment to recognize and help great young musical talent.”

Brian Wilson encouraged this when he noted “Young artists should know Buddy Holly’s spirit, the spirit of his music.” This spirit is the force behind the efforts of this newest generation of music superstars to support Holly’s dream. “I love that this project really encourages the generation coming up to dig into the roots of music that they listen to now, “ says Listen To Me: Buddy Holly contributor Isaac Slade of The Fray, “where it came from, and who influenced who, all the way back to people like Buddy Holly.”

Songmasters’ continuing support for emerging talent carries on Holly’s legacy of boosting and empowering new artists. Since 2009, Songmasters has endowed The Holly Prize, an annual award juried and presented by the Songwriters Hall of Fame to recognize and support an exceptionally talented and inspired young musician/singer/songwriter whose work exhibits the ambition and artistic qualities of Holly’s music. Listen To Me: Buddy Holly also benefits numerous music‐related organizations – including The GRAMMY Foundation’s GRAMMY Camps, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Artists’ House Music – each of which support the artistic growth and professional development of young musicians and industry innovators.

“Songmasters is proud that we have created a platform for great music performed by outstanding artists who share Buddy’s dream of supporting great young talent,” noted Songmasters’ Managing Partner, Jennifer Cohen. “Technology has made it easier to create and produce music, but harder to develop a music career. Young talent today has more competition, more pressure to fit a mold, fewer resources, and almost no guidance in how to develop a successful life in music. We thought we might be able to help in our own small way to give young artists a real shot.” The Listen To Me project was created by Songmasters out of that impulse. “Music lives by being passed on,” noted Cohen. “Talent thrives with encouragement and opportunity. ‘Listen to Me’ does both.”

Listen to Me: Buddy Holly is the inaugural year of Songmasters’ Listen to Me series which celebrates the True. Great. Original. artists who forever changed contemporary music and culture through campaigns featuring today’s legendary and breakthrough artists paying tribute to their musical forebears to raise support and awareness for the next generation of songwriters, performers, and music innovators.


For more information, please contact:
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