I think it is amazing when people put others before themselves. As a Christian, I strive to remain humble and consider the needs of others instead of myself, so I love to see people spending time working with and donating to charities. However, when it comes to musicians or any celebrities supporting charities, I often wonder if they’re being genuine. What if their “generosity” is simply to gain publicity? Sure, there are number of them who are truly doing it for a good cause, but my doubts remain. Although, there are a few exceptions. One exception I’ve discovered recently is Rob Barr, a California-based musician who is also the executive director of A Hero Foundation.
A nonprofit organization, A Hero Foundation works to assist veterans adjusting to life after the military. He also works with two other organizations connected to this same organization, Hire A Hero and Staff A Hero. Both of them work to help those adjusting veterans find employment. With Staff A Hero, launched in November 2015, they allow veterans to post on a website about their military successes so potential employers might learn the benefits of hiring a veteran.
As someone who knows the struggles of the job market, I can appreciate what Rob and these organizations are trying to do. I think it’s all amazing, but what’s amazing is Rob’s side of it. A man who dreamed of being a musician since he was younger, Rob experienced success during the nineties when he played with his band Wally. They opened for artists such as Jill Sobule, the Bloodhound Gang, and Off Broadway. Even so, after some difficulties, the band split up and in 2003, Rob moved to San Diego. He began working for another organization called Helmets to Hardhats (H2H), which also helped with veteran employment, this time in construction. Even so, he learned many veterans they worked with did not want to work in construction and had bleak views of any possible career. Rob knew he had to do something, and so he worked with the H2H director, Dan Caulfield, to create the organizations he still directs today.
At the same time, Rob continued trying to pursue a career in music, which has gained him some popularity in recent years. He works mainly as a songwriter and singer, but is also adept on the acoustic guitar and bass. He also utilizes a program called Addictive Drums for his drumming. As his popularity has grown, Rob decided to use his music to help the programs he worked with, recently with his song “Isle 6.” Instead of asking people for money, Rob has felt it would be best to donate all the proceeds from this song towards another veteran program, Armed Forces Support Foundation.
Looking at all this work he has done to help veterans, I can definitely see how passionate Rob is about this type of charity and I know he’s absolutely genuine in his work. That passion’s power can be heard in his songs “Isle 6” and “Jiberish.” Both tracks seem to be in the Folk Rock genre, using mainly guitar with a steady beat behind it. “Isle 6” almost sounds like a country song to me, though at a faster pace. One thing I noticed was Rob seems to have recorded himself twice, singing different parts and tones, one louder and one whispering. They create a duet sound that really works well, especially with the song’s content. He sings about a woman the narrator runs into at a supermarket, who continue running into each other in a sort of dance. One thing I love about this song is how unusual it is for a love song. You never know if they get together or will ever meet again, but you sort of feel a bond growing between them, even as they go their separate ways. It’s intriguing and it makes me hope these two characters will run into each other again someday.
“Jiberish” has faster pace than “Isle 6” and it honestly feels more like a rock song. One reason I say this is the drumstick taps beginning the song. It feels as if he’s counting down until the song starts, saying “One, two, three, four!” Another thing I noticed is this song is well-named. As I listened to the lyrics, I found it didn’t have a story behind it like “Isle 6.” At least, not one I could figure out. Most of the song is indeed gibberish, with lines like “I brushed my teeth to make me feel like I am clean.” With lyrics like these, it’s as if the narrator’s experiences have affected him so much that he’s starting to lose sense. Everything he says is turning to gibberish. I will say I prefer “Isle 6” over this song, but I can appreciate how weird this song’s lyrics sound.
So not only is Rob genuinely generous, he’s also quite talented. His music his catchy and the stories within them keep any listener’s interest. However, I still love his determination to support a cause he believes in. It’s a wonderful thing and I believe we should help him as well. Like I said before, Rob is donating all proceeds from “Isle 6” to the Armed Forces Support Foundation, and he also supports A Hero Foundation, Hire A Hero, and Staff A Hero. If you have the time, check out his music and maybe even check out these organizations. Discover for yourself why they’re so important to him.