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For the holidays: Music Maker Relief Foundation

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If you've got any scratch left over from holiday shopping, or if you're well-off enough to need another tax deduction for 2008, consider making an end-of-year donation to Hillsborough-based Music Maker Relief Foundation. Music Maker provides financial assistance to older blues musicians, many of them impoverished and in ill health, and this year's economic downturn has taken a fearsome toll on the organization's donor base.

John Dee Holeman and the late Etta Baker are among the musicians who have benefitted from MMRF help in the past. Holeman is also one of several MMRF acts playing a new years eve show Wednesday at Durham's Broad Street Cafe, along with Cool John Ferguson, Captain Luke and others. And for more about the work MMRF does, check here.

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About the blogger

David Menconi has been the News & Observer's music critic since 1991. Before that, he spent five years at the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colo. He has a masters in journalism from the University of Texas and a B.A. in English from Southwestern University. You can find more of his writing here.