Holy Bard of Barking, Batman! Billy Bragg has released a song and video in honor of Mother’s Day titled “I Can’t Be There.” In much the same way his “Tank Park Salute” and “Everywhere” dredge up the deepest human emotions imaginable, “I Can’t Be There” has me reaching for the tissues not 20 seconds in. Bragg tolls the bell for those feeling grief over missed moments and lost time with loved ones amid the pandemic.
An invite to a wedding that no one can attend
A poster for a show that never happened
Two tickets for a holiday I can no longer spend
And a gift for Mother’s Day I won’t be wrapping
“The coronavirus pandemic is going to affect our lives in ways we’ve yet to grasp,” says Bragg. “In the coming months, most of us will be forced to miss family gatherings, including Mother’s Day which in the UK fell on the first weekend of isolation. My new song touches on the emotional cost of this crisis.”
Inspired by the locked-down Mother’s Day release, City Winery All Stars and Bragg are co-producing a special multi-artist Mother’s Day concert that will be broadcast on YouTube on May 10th, 2020 beginning at 2 p.m. Pacific/4 p.m. Central/5 p.m. ET/10 p.m. UK. A private YouTube concert viewing link will be e-mailed to all ticket buyers two hours before the show begins on Sunday, May 10. 100% of net ticket proceeds will be donated to the United Nations Foundation fund addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also joining the concert bill: Rosanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Steve Earle, Shovels & Rope, Rufus Wainwright, Richard Thompson, The Indigo Girls, Jorma Kaukonen, Todd Snider, KT Tunstall, Loudon Wainwright, Amy Helm, Jospeh Arthur, Stella Donnelly, Andrew Bird, Fink, Joan Osborne, The Mountain Goats, Valerie June, and Stephin Merritt. More to be announced. WFUV’s Rita Houston will host the event that will celebrate mothers everywhere through music while supporting those in need.
*All photos © Philamonjaro