Tom Petty-inspired event aims to help musicians in need

The proceeds from the event beneit AMFM. (Courtesy AMFM)

WASHINGTON — When Annapolis musician Dean Rosenthal got sick, he found himself hospitalized and without insurance.

He knew he would miss some gigs and he had bills, but before he could worry too much, non-profit Annapolis Musicians Fund for Musicians stepped in to help him financially.

“They have personally helped me. I had some serious health ailments and I didn’t even have to ask. They showed up at the hospital with a checkbook,” says Rosenthal, a musician who has more than 40 years of experience in the industry.

Now, Rosenthal says he is excited about an opportunity to give back to AMFM at its first ever showcase series titled “In the Vane of…” where Annapolis musicians perform one cover song by a legendary artist and one original song in the vein of that same legendary artist.

All proceeds will go to AMFM, which provides temporary financial relief to professional Annapolis musicians who cannot work because of sickness, injury or any other circumstance leaving them unable to perform. Musicians can apply for assistance through AMFM’s website.

AMFM Vice President Sean O’Neill says the idea for the show came about after its annual and well-attended Christmas show where musicians play familiar holiday songs with an original twist. O’Neill says after years of success with the Christmas show, the AMFM team thought, “If it worked with Christmas songs, why not with other well-known artists?”

“We wanted to capture that magic where you have the familiarity of an act you already know and love, and try to do something ‘in the vane of’ — pun intended — of the style of that musician,” O’Neill says.

Rosenthal, who has participated in a number of AMFM fundraising events, is doing just that with “American Girl,” which he is giving a “Hank Williams style” with a country music feel.

“It’s the first [song] I ever heard of his,” says Rosenthal, who combines his talents in guitar, harmonica and mandolin to play, what he calls, “American roots music.”

Musician Doug Segree says he has always loved Petty. He is playing one of his favorite Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers songs, “A Woman in Love (It’s Not Me).” Also, Segree wrote an original song in “older-style Petty.”

Segree says he has turned to AMFM support when his scheduled shows were cancelled.

“Because we are in the music business we are supposed to be cool and not care about money, but I changed my thinking long ago,” Segree says.

The spotlight artist hasn’t been selected for future “In the Vain of…” shows, but O’Neill says he has some other classic artists in mind: Led zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash among others.

Rosenthal says, for him, one artist is above them all.

“Anybody who knows me knows I’m a huge Bob Dylan fan.”

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