Sir Van Morrison has announced he is donating profits from his three new tracks to musicians who have suffered financial hardship due to coronavirus.
The Irish rock star caused a stir last week by revealing the three lockdown protest songs, which alluded to the government “taking our freedom”.
Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann criticised the star, saying the songs carried a “dangerous” message.
Now, as UK restrictions are tightened, Sir Van is calling for “action”.
“Lockdown is taking away people’s jobs and freedoms across all sectors of society,” he said in a statement.
“I believe live music is essential, and I worry that without positive action it will not survive.
“Without live music the world would be a much poorer place. It makes a huge contribution to the economy and you cannot put a price on what music does for people’s wellbeing.”
Proceeds earned from downloads of Born To Be Free, As I Walked Out, and No More Lockdown will be distributed by the Van Morrison Rhythm and Blues Foundation – which helps musicians in need.
Many music venues are waiting to see if they will benefit from the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, of which £3.36m has been set aside for them.
They remain closed, or operating in a socially distanced manner, following strict government guidance.
The bluesman suggests there are ways that venues “can reopen safely at full capacity”.
“It’s essential for their survival that the government allows them to do so,” he said. “Surely, there is a debate to be had around whether lockdown is doing more harm than good.”
‘We expected better from him’
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on the public to “summon the discipline and the resolve” to follow the new coronavirus rules announced on Tuesday.
In his new lyrics, Sir Van claims scientists are “making up crooked facts” to justify measures that “enslave” the population.
Swann followed his initial criticism of the singer with a scathing opinion piece for Rolling Stone magazine, challenging him to present his own scientific facts.
He wrote: “We in Northern Ireland are very proud of the fact that one of the greatest music legends of the past 50 years comes from our part of the world.
“So there’s a real feeling of disappointment – we expected better from him.
“If you see it all as a big conspiracy, then you are less likely to follow the vital public health advice that keeps you and others safe.”