August 22nd was Pop singer Tori Amos 38th birthday. The celebrity spread the word among her fans that she would like them to help her celebrate with a birthday bash and donate the proceeds to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
Local fan Sandra Duvall picked up on the idea and got in touch with local promoter and musician Mike Morgan. Assisted by two touring Bluegrass musicians, Korby Lenker and Chris Glass, from Bellingham Washington, a benefit was hastily organized last Thursday evening at Kaladi Brothers in Soldotna. Nearly 130 music lovers and supporters turned out for the spontaneous event raising $2,500 for the RAINN network.
"Their headquarters were very impressed. The Anchorage event only raised $700. I'm planning to make it an annual event, and they tell me Tori Amos may even give us a special interview to recognize what our community did here," said Duvall who plans on attending an Amos concert in November. The RAINN hotline can be accessed 24 hours a day from Alaska at 1-800-656-HOPE.
Lenker and Glass drew a standing ovation from the Kaladi crowd with their authentic red-hot Americana bluegrass flat picking music. The traditional acoustic concert was void of any electronic amplifiers or microphones. Even the electric fans and refrigeration units were shut down to eliminate background noise in the building so that the music could be heard the way it sounded originally in the hills and backcountry of early America.
"With young people of my generation there is such a strong emphasis drawn on being independent and coming up with the next new thing, we've become separated from our history and the music that came long before us. I really like being part of a tradition and when I decided to do music professionally I set out to find a music that had a meaning and history a part from my own take on it, and that's why I got into this bluegrass and old timing music. There are certain rules to it that make me conform to the music that was here long before I me," said Lenker who was trilled at the end of the night when everyone joined him in singing a cappella The Red River Valley.
"We stopped playing our instruments and we were all singing together, you could feel it, just the way it use to be. I think that's about the neatest thing in the world and I think there is a real desire for that in our country today," added Lenker. He also writes lyrics that deal with contemporary issues within the original bluegrass context. Lenker and Glass play with a group known as the BarbWire Cutters and have a CD out featuring some of their original songs.
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