Entertainment Features



By David DeRocco                            dave@gobeweekly.com  https://twitter.com/?lang=en 

Canadian country music star TIM HICKS knows all too well about the impact Covid-19 has had on working musicians. The St. Catharines resident was all set to launch a world tour this past summer in support of his new EP, WRECK THIS, before pandemic travel restrictions tanked his plans and brought his career to a screeching halt.

“It was chaos,” said Hicks, owner of 14 Top 10 hits, four JUNO nominations and a platinum-selling CCMA award. “You invest in production, you invest in pieces like flights. I might as well have gone and thrown my money in the river. It’s like a casino. It’s a gamble, one of those things you can’t predict.”

Hicks admits to experiencing a period of “grieving,” as he contemplated the loss of his tour and the suspension of a career he had worked so hard to forge. Aside from the personal financial cost of Covid, there was also a mental cost according to the singer/songwriter.

“I felt personally responsible to every person in my crew and in my band. They all look to me for income and for the plan. For the longest time we didn’t know what we were doing. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can take the hit and be okay. We’re not out on the street. We haven’t gone hungry.”

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a vast majority of Canadian musicians, artists and entertainers whose livelihoods depend on a vibrant, thriving arts scene. It’s the reason why the UNISON BENEVOLENT FUND was founded, and the inspiration behind a star-studded concert Hicks is part of December 17.

The concert – THE CANADA IN UNISION HOLIDAY SPECIAL – will raise funds designed to provide discreet relief to music industry professionals in times of crisis through financial assistance, counselling and health solutions. Hosted by singer/songwriter Shawn Hook, the concert will feature a variety of artist performances including Jim Cuddy, July Talk, Matthew Good, Mother Mother, Sam Roberts Band, Iskwe + Tom Wilson, The Glorious Sons, and more. Hicks, who last tour donated $1 from every ticket sold to the fund, is a passionate supporter of the cause and happy to be part of the concert.

“This is something near and dear to me. I was a working musician for years and years. I didn’t know there was a fund I could tap into to help keep my lights on, to get that emergency surgery or buy groceries. As you hang around the industry a little more, you realize it takes a village to make it roll. It’s those people hurting the most. The venue people, the ushers, the merchandise people, the production staff, security people, band members, guitar techs. These are the people that don’t get a royalty check every three months to survive.”

Unison Benevolent Fund –The Canada In Unison Holiday Special is taking place on December 17th via SessionLive.com. Cost of the virtual event is $30, with proceeds supporting Unison Benevolent Fund.


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