Life is a funny thing sometimes, a fact that seems to be a common thread in a lot of my writing recently. Maybe it always has been and I’m just noticing it more than usual, maybe it’s actually getting stranger all the time, who knows? I’m just happy to get a reminder that “funny” and “strange” do not always equal “bad”.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a musical feud of sorts where it seemed as though most of the participants were competing with each other to see who could say the most ridiculous thing. I hesitated over that piece longer than I usually do with a post because, well, I’ve got quite a few friends who are musicians and didn’t want to unintentionally ruffle the feathers of any innocent party by calling attention to the silliness that sometimes goes with the music business.
Kind of funny (in a good way) that I abruptly come across something positive to talk about shortly after, almost like an antidote to the foolishness.
The fact that I even know about this is a funny thing in and of itself. As far as I know I’ve never been in the same room with any of the people involved in this story. One mutual friend, some social media later and … well, here I am telling you about it.
Back on September 12, an Alabama musician named Jay Hinkle was severely injured in a horrific motorcycle accident. The crash tragically cost him a leg and left him battling to recover from numerous other serious injuries to the extent that he remains hospitalized in Atlanta as of this writing. An awful story, the sort of situation that we’ve all at least heard about more times than we like to remember.
Let’s go back to the night before, when Hinkle met another performer from the area. Best I can try to explain it is that musicians are kind of like pilots. Get a couple of them together and they start talking, it’s laughs and war stories and the bond forms. If you’ve had/have a musician in your life, you know what I’m talking about, they’ll do it nearly every time.
Imagine then, when the morning after that brief encounter, you find out the guy you met the night before is fighting for his life after a crash. A lot of people would think to themselves “how awful”, they’d probably even try to find out more, maybe try to keep tabs on the situation in the days to come. That’d be the normal response, about what you or I would most likely do I think.
But I’m not sure how many times the word “normal” gets applied to Marc Kenney, the other musician in that brief meeting of kindred spirits the night before the accident. He has his own “funny way” of responding to things … he gets busy.
As he says “I try not to do things small for people I know”. Now right about here is where I figure the singer-songwriter with more than two decades of experience would insist that I say something about how a whole bunch of people wanted to help, so I’ll put that right here up front. But with Kenney leading the charge one phone call led to another. And that led to another. And to another.
And after some number of those calls, and some quick meetings, and some more calls … a benefit was born.
And not just any benefit. Some 18 bands/artists – ranging from country to Southern rock to straight up in your face rock & roll – are scheduled to appear on November 3rd. There’s an antique car show, big competitive diesels, bikes, dragsters, poker runs, barbeque, a bar (for those over 21), even the General Lee will be on hand at the Event Center Downtown in Opelika, AL for an all day affair on November 3rd.
That draws me to another “funny thing” I noticed about this event. Now I grew up in a small southern town, so I know a little bit about benefit shows. I’ve seen car shows, I’ve seen enough gospel singings to save half the souls on the planet, I’ve seen more than a few “local Opry” shows. What I haven’t seen very often is an effort that brings together this many elements from a variety of sources, all with the same goal in mind.
A couple things I feel like I need to say here. First, I know full well that benefits and fundraising efforts aren’t unique, not by any means. Events for a similar purpose happen a lot, and with just as much enthusiasm and effort. I don’t mean to sell any of them short one iota. The other thing I want to make clear is that what’s important about the November 3rd benefit is helping somebody in need, not my own musings about what any of it means or how it strikes me.
What caught my eye initially was the selflessness and sense of community among the musicians (and others) involved in the effort. Coming on the heels of that silliness I mentioned at the outset, that really stood out to me. Then the closer I watched and saw how one thing after another seemed to come together to make this come to a good purpose in an awful situation, well … I can’t help but get the feeling that something special is happening in the little town of Opelika.
Thoughts and prayers with Jay Hinkle, his family & friends, and all the participants in the benefit effort.
Donations to the Jay Hinkle Benefit may be made at any area Wells Fargo Bank
To learn more about the event follow its page on Facebook
You can also offer your well wishes and support for Jay Hinkle on Facebook here
To find out how you can get involved with the benefit, contact Marc at 615-218-5614