Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

  This year will mark the 7th annual Have A Blues Christmas benefit. It’s a concert/auction/feast that Xtreme 4X4, Natalie Stovall and I have put on for 7 years in a row. It was originally conceived as an “end of the year” concert in my hometown, basically, just a reason to play at home. I wanted to have an event at home to end our touring year and play for my family and friends. My brother, Keith Throneberry and I cooked it up over a BUNCH of Dos Equis one night with our wives (they had margaritas). As we brain stormed we decided that just having a concert wasn’t enough, we both wanted to do something for the community. To try and give back. 
 I moved a lot as a child. We lived in Texas, Mississippi, and all over Tennessee before settling in Columbia. My mother tells the story that I asked her, after kindergarten, where I’d be going to school next year and she decided then and there that we would be staying right here. 
 I grew up here. I made my life long friends here. I found my wife here. I spent some VERY formative years just south of here on my Uncle Carlton’s farm. I learned to drive a tractor, shoot a gun, drive a car, swim and play a guitar here. I learned about work and responsibility here. I learned to shoot a gun, found Jimi Hendrix, Prince and Buddy Guy here. My daughter was born here. My family’s here. This is my home. 
 On Christmas Day, my daughter will awake to a tree full of presents. Santa Claus will deliver on schedule! I’m blessed. Blessed because for one, I’ve got a home for my daughter to wake up in, a lot of folks don’t. A lot of folks don’t have a tree or stockings or presents. I’m sure some of you more “sociopolitical” brothers and sisters will say that it’s ‘their own fault’ or some other crap. Some can say; “it’s not really my problem” or “I’m sure they’ll be okay”. The thing is, I’m not preaching. I won’t be serving in a food line this Christmas, I won’t be offering a homeless person my home as a place to sleep. I’m not Mother Teresa. I’m not saying that if you just take care of yours you’re wrong or less or whatever. I told you to begin with, I started this as a selfish reason to play a gig for my family. What I can do, is one day a year, help put on an event and raise money for the kids in my area that might not otherwise have a Christmas and in the spirit of that, try and shame others into giving!
 This benefit provides vouchers for toys. Nothings else. ALL of the money goes to toy vouchers that can’t be used for anything else, so that kids can have something under the tree. Every kid deserves to have a visit from Santa. Santa is all of US! Every person that works at this event is working for free. Everything involved in the event is donated. Nothing is paid for so that all monies go to the kids. 
 We live in a very cynical world. We’re always braced for the next con. I got an email today saying that someone wants to transfer $94,000.00 into my bank account. Seems like everybody’s got a scam. But Christmas is my favorite time of the year. To me it’s a pure, invincible time. It’s owned by Santa Claus and he calls the shots. It’s about dreams and, as Abraham Lincoln once said; “the better angels of our nature”. I love this time of year. I believe that there’s a little Clark Griswold in all of us. Just because it won’t be perfect doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect it to be perfect. (We’ve all got a “Cousin Eddie” I’m sure.) I can do without the commercialization, the debate about “holiday trees” versus “Christmas trees” (my take is I could NOT care less). But the spirit of Christmas; being the better version of ourselves that we can always be. Wishing people a merry Christmas, sending cards to people that we haven’t sent a letter to in 364 days, just keeping an extra smile in our pockets for emergencies. It’s a really cool time of year. 
 We’re putting on an amazing concert. Natalie Stovall http://www.nataliestovall.com is one of the most talented people you’ll ever see. Her music is phenomenal and her band is second to none, (well maybe second to mine:) JOKE!) My guys will play they’re butts off like they do every night. The donated items will sell for big $$$ and the BBQ and drinks will flow. The T-shirts will be the fashion item of the year. If you can be there, DO! If you can’t, at least consider donating to our pay-pal page http://www.xtreme4x4.net/donate  It’s secure and you can donate a dollar and tell others you donated $1000.00! I promise your secret is safe with us! 
 Wether you participate in our event in any way or not, I wish you and your loved ones a blessed holiday season. I pray that you’ll find a warmth and happiness in your heart and that you’ll allow yourself to express it to others. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds!