The Red River Brand, which will play at the Bluegrass Benefit on March 2, includes, from left, Bobby Kendall on lead guitar, Dorsey Ricks on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Jimmy Crane on bass guitar and vocals.
Local bluegrass players encourage fans of the genre to take a short drive to Stockbridge for an afternoon of music, not only for the pleasure of hearing the songs but also to help a neighbor in need.
The Bluegrass Benefit takes place from 12:30 to 4 p.m. March 2 at North Henry Baptist Church gymnasium, 1093 Flat Rock Road in Stockbridge. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door, with children 15 and under free. The proceeds benefit Jim Henry III, a Henry County resident with cystic fibrosis who requires a double lung transplant.
Dorsey Ricks of Rockdale County attends North Henry Baptist Church with the man's family and said he felt compelled to organize an event that would assist the family in offsetting medical bills.
"They didn't expect (Henry) to live this long. He's defied the odds and made it to 39, but there's so much damage to his lungs that he won't live much longer without the transplant," Ricks said.
A guitar player and vocalist, Ricks has performed bluegrass and country locally for 25 years. His band, Red River Brand, will start the concert off at 12:45 p.m. and entertain audiences with mainly country music, with some light rock and bluegrass worked in the line-up. Songs by Merle Haggard, the Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley and even Jimmy Buffet will be on the playlist.
"We're all over the board," Ricks said.
At 2 p.m., the Honey Creek Boys take the stage. Rockdale County resident Henry Sides started the five-member group in 1995. Side said band members play banjo, mandolin, guitar and upright bass, as well as sing harmonies together.
"We do some traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel," said Sides, who added that the group plays primarily at church, festivals and private parties.
To round out the day, Brush Fire, a bluegrass band with a 35-year history, will entertain at 3:30 p.m. With roots in Newnan, Brush Fire enjoyed success for decades as it played festivals across the Southeast, and in France.
The group served as a founding member of the International Bluegrass Music Association, and performed at IBMA events several times.
The Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Brush Fire into its organization in 1985 and the Atlanta Society of Entertainers named the group Bluegrass Band of the Year.
As members aged and employment took them to different locations in the Southeast, the group's performance schedule "went on hiatus," said group member Mike Fleming, but picked up again after members moved back to the area.
"We decided it was too good a thing to let go in spite of the distance between us," Fleming said. "We're all fortunate that we're in a position that we can travel. We don't have to worry about gig money to get us there and back. It's a hobby. Three of four of us are retired and we're just enjoying rejuvenating it."
Brush Fire features bass, banjo, mandolin and guitar. They specialize in bluegrass but will incorporate into their selections some country tunes and gospel in a bluegrass style.
Fleming said he and his group members are happy that they can contribute to the cause of helping Jim Henry.
"We don't know him but they told us we need to do it, so we're going to do it," Fleming said.
Tickets for the Bluegrass Benefit may be purchased through www.jimhenrymedicaltrust.org or by calling 770-653-7703.
If you go
What: Bluegrass Benefit
When: 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on March 2
Where: North Henry Baptist Church gym, 1093 Flat Rock Road in Stockbridge
Cost: $8 in advance, $10 at the door, with kids 15 and under free