Legendary Drummer Sam Lay Needs Your Help!

inTheir Needson June 25, 2018

The death of a spouse when you’re elderly is an emotionally devastating experience, and the impact of this loss can become even more significant when your spouse was also your primary caretaker. Recently, filmmaker John Anderson reached out and informed us that legendary blues drummer Sam Lay was struggling with this very experience. Sam’s wife, Liz, passed away in 2017. The love of his life for 60 years was suddenly gone, and the stress of this loss has put Sam in a precarious health and living situation. Liz was Sam’s primary caretaker and made sure that he ate well and kept up with his appointments.

NEWPORT, RI – Folk singer Bob Dylan rehearses with (L-R) Mike Bloomfield, Sam Lay, Jerome Arnold and Al Kooper before his renowned electric debut at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965 in Newport, Rhode Island. (Photo by David Gahr/Getty Images)

Sam Lay’s musical resume is nothing short of astonishing. He’s played drums behind Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells, Bo Diddley, and Muddy Waters. He was on drums for Dylan’s electric performance at Newport and was was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 2015. Needless to say, Sam’s impact on American music is profound and he needs your support along with the all of our partner artists.



The moment we learned of Sam’s situation we put him on our Musician’s Sustenance program to help him cover basic needs such as food, medical and utility bills. Music Maker’s new social worker Brittany Anderson has become a vital advocate for Sam, setting him up with food deliveries and working on securing additional social benefits and local partners to supplement the monthly check he is getting through our Sustenance Program.

It’s these types of situations that make our Sustenance Program so vital to Music Maker’s work. Sam Lay spent his life shaping the sound of American music with his heavy, steadfast drum beats. Now it’s our turn to give back to Sam and all of Music Maker’s partner artists that need critical support through our Sustenance Program.


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