Hello, SAM Foundation members, JAM readers, friends and colleagues!
It’s with immense pleasure that I introduce myself as the newly appointed Executive Director of the Sportsmens Americana Music Foundation.
I know so many of you through my several decades in and around the Buffalo and WNY music scene, and through my 21 years as Music Critic with The Buffalo News. Throughout that time, a strong belief in our region’s music scene and a desire to celebrate the depth of talent within that scene has informed everything I’ve done, whether writing about our music community, or participating in it as a musician and a fan.
I’m especially moved to be entrusted with this new position because I’m well aware of the important work the SAM Foundation has been doing over the past nine years.
Educational outreach and community building are at the core of every thriving music scene, from Austin to Los Angeles and back. The SAM Foundation’s work “getting music into the ears and instruments into the hands of as many kids as possible” is a key component of this ongoing quest to invest in the Buffalo music scene’s future, while celebrating its past. I’m incredibly excited to be here to continue that mission and, hopefully, to expand it, too.
Americana music is uniquely situated to effect community change, because it’s both a broad and an inclusive genre, one that encompasses everything from rural blues to folk music, jazz to bluegrass, R&B and funk to indie rock and gospel. It’s America’s music, and it reflects the various cultures, idioms and traditions that make us who we are.
By focusing on under-served communities within our broader music scene, the SAM Foundation has been able to fill a void in the lives of many young people, through exposure to these rich traditions.
An awful lot has been accomplished, and there’s much important work yet to be done. I’m honored to be here and excited for the opportunities ahead!
Yours in music,