columns articles archives index

Column Archive

May, 2011

"Benefit for Locke Hamilton"

by Jon Chandler

Locke Hamilton at the 2010 Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering

It often takes dire circumstances for us to evidence our better natures. But every now and again, we show, even on a small level, that faith and empathy are giant human qualities. A hundred twenty or so great people gathered at the Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor in Arvada, Colorado Tuesday evening to celebrate the life of western singer-songwriter Locke Hamilton, from Dubois, Wyoming. Locke’s battle with cancer is going to end very soon, and her husband Les is pragmatic. I talked with him briefly this morning when he called to thank the Colorado Western Music community for being involved in staging last night’s benefit concert/event /silent auction for Locke. He’s remaining strong for her, and that he called at all during such an unthinkable time is beyond admirable.

Many of the people attending the show, and even some of the musicians themselves don’t know Locke personally, but they know of her music and jumped at the chance be part of such a fine event. The Colorado Cowboy Gathering’s (CCG) Diana Raven spearheaded the evening, enlisting her posse (Vicky, Jane, Pat and more) to help things run smoothly through three hours of picking, bad jokes, auctioneering and good will. Volunteers did everything from baking tons of the world’s finest cookies to setting up tables, from stacking chairs to contacting artists. Of course, Bill & Linda Patterson were there to document the event through Bill’s marvelous photographs, and Jeff Graves did his always fine (and physical) job of setting up the P.A., monitoring sound and playing bass.

Kit Simon’s generosity in hosting the show at the Pickin’ Parlor was above and beyond. Not only did he donate the use of his shop and facilities, he worked his tail off. Although this wasn’t an America’s Soul Live event, it sure seemed like it, and Kit was invaluable to its success.

Liz Masterson
Liz Masterson
Jeff Graves & Barry Ward
Jeff Graves & Barry Ward
Bill Barwick, Roz Brown, Ernie Martinez, Johnny Neill
Bill Barwick, Roz Brown, Ernie Martinez, Johnny Neill
Kit Simon
Kit Simon
Don Pinella & Mary Huckins (Dakota Blonde)
Don Pinella & Mary Huckins (Dakota Blonde)
Jeff Graves, Jon Chandler, Timothy P
Jeff Graves, Jon Chandler, Timothy P

The musicians were, as usual, marvelous. CCG’s Liz Masterson (a close friend of Locke’s) and I hosted the show, which also featured Kit, Barry Ward, Bill Barwick & Roz Brown, Mary Huckins & Don Pinella from Dakota Blonde, Al “Doc” Mehl, Rex Rideout, Pam Hawkins, Almeda Bradshaw, the inimitable Timothy P. Irvin and the incredible licks of Founders: Bands, Singers, Songwriters / Composers, Solo Performers, Sidemen, Instrumentalists, Performers, Entertainers, Musicians, Cowboy Poets, Places to Hear Acoustic Music, Locations, Venues, Clubs, Festivals, Business and Services Supporting Acoustic Music, Music Stores, Musical Instruments, Music Teachers Ernie Martinez and Johnny Neill. Exceptional cowboy poets John Schaffner and Zeb Dennis rounded out the group. Many of the songs that were performed were attached to Locke, with Bill& Roz’s Old Double Diamond and Cowboy’s Prayer, and Ernie & Pam’s Song of Wyoming being particularly poignant.

Rex Rideout
Rex Rideout
Pam Hawkins
Pam Hawkins
Almeda Bradshaw
Almeda Bradshaw
Al “Doc” Mehl
Al “Doc” Mehl
John Schaffner
John Schaffner
Zeb Dennis
Zeb Dennis

The silent auction was a major success, with donations from corporate entities like Providence Hospitality Partners and Wet Mountain Western Days joining those from individuals like Ralph & Barb Melfi and Victoria Ward. Dozens of donated items were sold ranging from books (Colleen Smith, Corinne Brown) to recordings (Juni Fisher), to fine photography (Catherine Lilbit Devine and Susan Sutherland), and each of the evening’s artists donated CDs toward the effort. Diana, Jane and Pat tallied the proceeds, with our very own Pat Chandler commandeering the stage to announce winners and letting the assemblage know exactly how much money was raised for Locke. I’ll get around to posting a full list of contributors in a subsequent missive.

The evening’s highlight came as a truly iconic banjo once owned by Denver folk music legend David Feretta (and dubbed by both Rex Rideout and Ernie Martinez as “priceless” ) was auctioned by John Schaffner who, wouldn’t you know it, is a genuine auctioneer. In two amazing instances of pure generosity, the banjo was donated by my new friend David Hard, and purchased by my old friend and banjo picker extraordinaire Hereford Percy. And it is a beauty.

Rex Rideout with banjo
John Schaffner, auctioneer

The audience…so many of them America’s Soul Live regulars…was amazing. Any group of people who could put up with Ernie’s jokes and Toby the Dog’s questionable digestive system (a story for campfires and whisky-swapping, for sure) is surely worthy to ride the trail with.

I should mention that every item in the silent auction was donated, that every musician donated their time and products, as did the volunteers, that Kit donated both his store and his overhead, and that every dollar that was taken in is going directly to Locke and Les to help them fight this battle.

We ended the evening as we always seem to in such circumstances, with Timothy P. taking the stage to lead the performers and audience through a rousing and moving Will the Circle Be Unbroken. The song’s title is an appropriate metaphor for the continuity of our little western and acoustic music community (both performers and audiences) that stretches throughout this country and beyond. It is indeed a circle, and it is filled with fine people. Last night, that circle sent its heartfelt blessings to Locke and Les.

Photos by Bill Patterson

TOP

AcousticByLines

Acoustic Music Events, Performers, Venues, and Businesses

AcousticByLines logo
 FOUNDERS
 CALENDAR
 PERFORMERS
 LOCATIONS
 BUSINESSES
 QUOTES/JOKES
 AWARDS
 HOME
 America's Soul Live!
 Columns
 ©2004-2017
 AcousticByLines
 All rights reserved