Universally acclaimed singer/songwriters Michael McDonald and Willie Nelson are joining forces with David Hidalgo of Los Lobos for a rendition of “Dreams of the San Joaquin” to benefit RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the United Farm Workers of America. The classic song, written by Randy Sharp and Jack Wesley Routh and made famous by both Kenny Rogers and Linda Ronstadt, tells the story of a worker in the fields of San Joaquin Valley during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression in the ’30s and ’40s. The single, due May 7 exclusively via Bandcamp, will be accompanied by a forthcoming video directed by Micah Nelson.
The single’s release coincides with Bandcamp Friday, during which Bandcamp will waive 100% of the platform’s revenue share to support artists and causes directly. 100% of the net proceeds from sales of the track will be donated to RAICES and the United Farm Workers of America. The track will be available widely via all streaming services on May 14.
“The migrant farm worker is as responsible if not more for maintaining our country’s position as one of the largest agricultural economies in the world,” McDonald explains. “The labor that falls squarely on their shoulders allows farmers to bring produce to our stores and food to our tables as reasonably priced as possible. COVID has ravaged this quadrant of the American workforce disproportionately.”
He continues, “RAICES and United Farm Workers Union are working hard to bring vaccine awareness and financial help to provide distribution to this demographic so hard hit by COVID-19.”
Willie Nelson adds, “this was a collaboration of love and a prayer for understanding. It sends a message of hope that we all need to hear. I’ve always loved Mike’s voice and enjoyed making this with him and my son Micah.”
“This collaboration of love shows that even our oldest friends are still bringing new understanding to our cause,” notes Teresa Romero, president of the United Farm Workers. “After a particularly brutal year for farm workers, their support is priceless.”
Ana Maria Rea-Ventre, Vice President of Advocacy at RAICES, says, “This heartfelt rendition of ‘Dreams of the San Joaquin’ is a beautiful reminder of all that the migrant community of over eight million people sacrifices to give their families a better life. May we all be moved by this song to fight with our migrant brothers and sisters, to whom our country owes so much.”