Aloe Blacc, Melissa Etheridge Rock Pre-Grammy Concert
The singer, whose album Lift Your Spirit is up for best R&B album at this year’s ceremony, was among more than a dozen performers Thursday night for “Lean On Me: A Celebration of Music and Philanthropy,” the Grammy Foundation’s 17th annual legacy concert.
Blacc kicked off the event on stage at the historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre with the protest song “We Shall Overcome” and his own “Love is the Answer.” He was later backed by Melissa Etheridge on guitar for their soulful take on the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
“More than any public speaker, more than any other art form, music has the power to bring us together, to waken our better selves and to set us on some course of action,” said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
In a tribute to their Farm Aid organization and benefit concert series, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson performed their tunes “Longest Days,” ‘‘We Don’t Run” and “On the Road Again.”
“We’re glad to be here tonight, and we wanted to do a song that pretty much personifies the fight that the farmers are going through,” Nelson said before launching into “We Don’t Run.”
Erica Campbell, who is nominated for both best gospel album and gospel performance/song for Help at Sunday’s 57th annual Grammys, joined Robin Thicke for Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” Thicke also delivered his version of Sting’s “Fragile.”
“When musicians unite for the greater good, inevitably something magical happens,” said Scott Goldman, vice president of the Grammy Foundation. “You’ve seen it here tonight.”
Other performers included Rozzi Crane, Riley Bria, Lindsey Stirling and Walk the Moon, who was joined by Deborah Cox for The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” The band Plain White T’s filled in for Cyndi Lauper on “True Colors.” Goldman said Lauper, who was originally scheduled to perform at the event, couldn’t make it because of a family emergency.
Etheridge capped off the night with a performance of her Oscar-winning tune “I Need To Wake Up” from the Al Gore documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and a stirring rendition of “Lean On Me.”
“Do whatever you can for your brothers and sisters, for everyone around you, but start with yourself,” said Etheridge. “You can’t do good for anyone else until you’re good with yourself.”