A common theme pervaded the latest Landstuhl Hospital Care Project benefit show: help. While LHCP has always been about providing the best help it can to wounded servicemen and women, a few star country music artists decided LHCP itself was worthy of a bit of their time and help. The project received a much appreciated shot in the arm Sunday, May 23, in Franklin, Tenn., at a country music benefit concert hosted by the Grace Chapel church and featuring a star-studded cast of singer/song-writers.
“The first time I saw the video of Karen [the CBS News special], my heart broke in half, and I thought, ‘whatever I can do to help her, I’m gonna do it,’” said songwriter Leslie Satcher. “I feel like it’s such a small part that I’m doing, but hopefully our small part sets a fire to people who can actually do a big part.”
With tremendous help from Songwriters Spotlight’s Korene Stevens and David Allen, the event was able to feature country music artists Satcher, Casey Beathard, Allen Shamblin and Tim Rushlow. Each performed several tracks from their award-winning songbooks, and recording group Raven Cliff made their second LHCP fundraiser appearance, crooning and harmonizing their way through a crowd-pleasing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Stevens’ husband, Even – who performed at the Franklin Theater as a part of the last LHCP benefit here – echoed Satcher’s theme of wanting to get involved from the moment he heard about Karen and the project.
“My wife and I were sitting and watching a Sunday morning news show,” he said. “We saw that video and we do a lot of benefits and thought, ‘Well that’s what we should do!’.”
The host venue, Grace Chapel, could hardly have been a more perfect setting for the country and, at times gospel, themed music of the night, with its high, barnlike ceilings and the rolling fields surrounding the low sloping red roofs warming everyone up to the mood as they rolled up Southall Road.
Once the crowded church auditorium was familiarized with the mission of LHCP and watched the CBS piece, a show of nearly two hours commenced, included some huge hits from yesterday and today.
While Satcher’s blazing guitar hands and bluesy howl highlighted hits like “When God-Fearin’ Women Get the Blues” and “Tough”, Shamblin often elected to go with a slower pace on his “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “The House That Built Me”, even getting the crowd to reminisce with him and song along on “We Were In Love.”
Sandwiching those two on either end of the stage were Beathard and former Little Texas member Rushlow.
“My heroes have always been, in this order, Jesus, my wife, my parents, and then our soldiers… People that are serving right now, people that are veterans, I just love to get with them. I get star struck around them.” said Beathard. “Anything I could do for them, I’ll do it, because that’s what they’re doing for us.”
Beathard contrasted the bombastic personality of Satcher to his left, with a self-deprecating style that complemented his relaxed style of performance on songs including “Find out Who Your Friends Are.” Rushlow performed Little Texas’ huge hit “What Might Have Been”, along with a number of cuts he’s been putting down for an upcoming album release.
By the end of the night, the audience had been taken through a healthy up-and-down of emotions, even hearing from a former soldier who was cared for and treated at Landstuhl, before the project made things a little more comfortable there.
They won’t be in a Mustang doing 80, but thanks to the efforts of a host of middle Tennesseans, a lot of boxes will be making their way across the Atlantic to Germany.
by Zeke Turrentine