Perhaps Bono has mastered/dominated the benefit concert scene in recent decades, but musically-devoted philanthropists need not join the mobs, hand holding, and heartfelt amplified speeches to take part in the movement. Recently Alela Diane played a benefit show in New York City on behalf of Housing Works, an organization “renowned for addressing the needs of people living with AIDS that other organizations deem ‘too challenging to serve’”. By offering a wide spectrum of services on wide-reaching fronts, Housing Works seeks to provide health care, legal services, housing, and AIDS prevention services to help those battling HIV/AIDS who are excluded from such help. Alela Diane, who recently released her third album on April 5, brought her warm folk to the challenge of fighting for the cause. Her increased activism comes with a stylistic shift, matching tender charity with a soulful croon rooted more deeply in dusty country tunes than anything else, and lyrics that empathize with pain and loneliness in brief timid bouts before scattering on. But where other benefit shows last a night, this takes an imaginative turn to increase participation.
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