Steve Earle and the Dukes will headline this year’s Concert for Cumberland Heights benefit show at Nashville’s hallowed Ryman Auditorium on September 21. Their guests on the night will be the Kentucky Headhunters.
The annual charity show, instigated in 1996, raises much-needed funding for adolescent and young adult programs. Over the years, the Ryman show has featured such stars as Trisha Yearwood, John Hiatt, and Josh Turner, raising more than $3.4 million for struggling families during its 26-year span. The show is attended by some 2,400 concert-goers, while a pre-concert party is held for about 330 guests.
Earle and his band’s North American tour continues tonight (11) in Regina, SK, Canada. Many shows in the itinerary feature guests the Whitmore Sisters. As reported, they’re also booked for the first Outlaw Country West festival, which will cruise the Pacific from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico from November 3-8. Other guests include Social Distortion, Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos, and Jim Lauderdale.
Earle’s Jerry Jeff album, his 22nd studio release and a tribute to songwriting figurehead Jerry Jeff Walker, is out now digitally, with CD and LP formats available from August 26. It’s the last part of a trilogy that has also included celebrations of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Earle calls the three greats his “first-hand teachers, the heroes I was lucky enough to sit across the room from so I could listen and learn up close.”
The Ryman, meanwhile, has a typically packed calendar in the coming weeks, hosting artists from the country world and far beyond. Before the end of August alone, it stages shows by, among others, Anthrax and Black Label Society (16), the Shins (17), Mary Chapin Carpenter (19), and the Decemberists (27).
Tonight, the Happy Together tour, now in its 13th year, rolls into the Ryman on a wave of 1960s nostalgia featuring the Turtles (acting as musical hosts for the evening), Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, the Association, the Buckinghams, the Vogues, and the Cowsills.