It was a night to remember: On December 2, 2022 the Musician Treatment Foundation marked its fifth anniversary with a rousing benefit concert at Austin City Limits Live.  We heard amazing music from some of America’s greatest artists–and reaffirmed MTF’s trailblazing mission to provide free and low-cost orthopedic care to uninsured and under-insured musicians.   

The concert – “Elvis Costello & Friends perform King of America & Other Realms” – featured performances by MTF founding director Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal, Sarah Jarosz, Nina Diaz, Valerie June, La Marisoul, Allan Mayes (an MTF beneficiary), and the Earls of Austin band led by musical director Charlie Sexton. Costello teamed up with his friend, Americana legend T Bone Burnett, to produce the sold-out event.  The night ended with all the artists performing What’s So Funny ‘bout Peace Love and Understanding.

The special, one-night-only benefit raised funds to help hard-working musicians who live from gig to gig, often on the road, and are just one freakish accident, one fall or muscle tear away from injuries that could end their careers. For them, MTF has been a lifesaver.  Support for the mission also came from major artists who donated autographed guitars to the exciting live auction by Robb Burley, including The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top as well as Billy Strings who donated a signed copy of his sold out new red vinyl album.  

The Austin-based foundation offers professional musicians free care for shoulder, arm, and hand injuries–care that they could otherwise never afford. Last year it broadened its reach by launching Physicians for Musicians, a first-of-its-kind network of more than 60 doctors in dozens of cities who have stepped up to offer musicians a lifeline of free orthopedic care through MTF.

To date, MTF has helped deliver care valued at $2,000,000 to hundreds of injured musicians. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. O. Alton Barron founded the organization as a labor of love for musicians whose music fills hearts, raises spirits, and enriches lives. “The great majority of U.S. musicians don’t have good medical insurance, and injuries left untreated can take their livelihoods away from them,” he said. “We’re the only musician-based not-for-profit in America that supports direct orthopedic care to musicians. They enrich our lives, and that’s why we’ve got to be there for them when they need help.”  

Barron thanked the growing band of supporters who have helped MTF grow since 2017 and made this year’s fundraiser such a success. He offered special thanks to Costello, a close friend who helped launch the foundation and sits on its Board of Directors along with his wife, Diana Krall. The fundraiser, Barron said, was a tribute to Costello’s generosity and his incredible gifts as an artist, adding “He is a gift that truly keeps on giving to help us keep the music playing.” 

About the Author:

Josh is a former national correspondent and New York Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times. During a 30-year career he has covered music, publishing, theater, and film as well as politics in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC. He continues to write about these subjects as a freelance writer based in Manhattan.