After spending more than a decade, playing drums and traveling the world in the back of a plush tour bus, with his multi-platinum band, Rusted Root, Jim Donovan chose to walk away in 2005, to spend time with his young family and pursue a career as a college professor. However, all through Donovan’s eleven-year hiatus, he still had music bubbling in his soul and after a couple of health scares, the kind that remind us that life can be very fragile, he decided to carve out some time to make music.
Having a wife, three kids and working as an instructor in the Fine Arts Program at his alma mater, Saint Francis University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, left Donovan very little time to spend on his music. In fact, three hours a month, was all he could find to spend in the studio, but finally, after five years, Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors released their self-titled debut album with producer Sean McDonald in 2016.
This year, Artistic Echoes has named Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors, the 2018 Most Philanthropic Band Of The Year and the reason for this, is explained within the mission of the band – “Make great music. Serve the greater good.”
In the few years the band has been together, they have played for dozens of events to raise money for worthy causes like Band Together Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Recovery Walk and the WDVE Charity Jam, as well as partnered with several charities, including Hero’s Journey Foundation, The Mankind Project International, Echo Recovery and Sage’s Army, Inc.
Donovan has also taken his love for the kit and combined it with his mission to bring the connective power of music to everyone, to write a book Drum Circle Leadership: Learn to Create and Lead Your Own Transformational Drum Circles, as well as the creation of Drum Circle Leadership Foundation Training workshops. Although Donovan does most of his teaching solo, but the band does join him for one big event each year – The Great Rhythm Revival, which is a retreat held in Sherman, New York, with arts-based wellness workshops and Sun King Warrior shows at night. Donovan has also just released his very first TEDx talk, called “How to Trick Your Brain Into Falling Asleep.”
When we asked Donovan why he feels it’s important to incorporate philanthropy into his music business, he thoughtfully replied, “Performers have a platform upon which to share ideas with an audience. It’s a responsibility I. and we. take seriously. We know that one of the greatest uses of that megaphone. is to be of service to others. Besides it being the right thing to do, it feels satisfying in a way that most things don’t.”
As for what’s coming up for the Warriors, they’re still promoting their new album released this year, We See Through It, they have a special live single they’ll be releasing in early 2019 and they’re currently working on some new material for their next album, with a goal of being released in 2020, Congratulations Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors on this well-deserved award. May other musicians, follow your lead. Thank you for all you do, not only for your local community, but for charities and organizations around the world.