May 9, 2016 8:08 am
Updated: May 9, 2016 11:54 am

James Taylor to donate Alberta show proceeds to Fort McMurray wildfire relief

Singer James Taylor performs for President Barack Obama and the First Family during the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Carolyn Kaster
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James Taylor is leaning on his music to help Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees.

The “Carolina in My Mind” singer has made two Alberta concerts next month into benefits that will raise money for the wildfire rescue efforts.

Live updates of Fort McMurray wildfire

He says proceeds from tickets to his shows in Calgary on June 7 and Edmonton on June 8 will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross.

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“To turn those couple of shows into benefits is just too good an opportunity to pass up,” Taylor said in a phone interview from his tour bus.

“It’s a major national catastrophe and it’s just impossible to ignore it.”

READ MORE: Notley to visit Fort McMurray as wildfire action plan enters phase two

Taylor says the idea came from conversations with his Canadian manager Sam Feldman on Friday, as he rolled into Ottawa for the first of a 15-concert tour of Canadian cities over the next month.

“You just don’t want to think of profiting at a time like this,” Taylor says.

“It’s a time when something better can be done with the money.”

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire response now in ‘Phase 2’: officials

More than 80-thousand residents of Fort McMurray have been displaced by the fires which began last week.

Forest fire officials say it could be months before they’ve fully extinguished the massive blaze, which has already spread across two-thousand square kilometres of northern Alberta.

Taylor has frequently participated in fundraising events for social and political causes.

“It’s a feeling … of community hat happens at a concert that is so compelling,” he says.

“It’s kind of a spiritual thing. It’s the closest I get to church.”

READ MORE: Where Fort McMurray fire evacuees can get help and information

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