There’s much that runs through the blood of musicians, and the question of whether many do it for the money or the love is always one to consider.
But when it’s time to give back, most usually answer the call of love in some manner.
Such is the case this weekend at the Normandy River Café where the gift of music will aid in research for pancreatic cancer.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, Jessi Colter & Waymore’s Blues Band along with Jamey Johnson will take center stage at the Normandy River Café in Normandy, Tenn.
The cause is near and dear to café owner, Nikki Mitchell, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 20 months ago. After given between three to six months to live, Mitchell was fortunate to have surgery due to early detection, although she is not cancer free but has control over it, as it hasn’t spread.
“Pancreatic cancer has a three percent survivorship. Early detection is the only way to put a lid on this unforgiving beast and the need for funding is immediate,” Mitchell said about the cause.
All proceeds from the event will go to research at Translational Genomic Research Institute in Arizona and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
The show is almost a family reunion of sorts for Mitchell as well, who has worked in the business with Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter for more than 20 years.
Colter, the wife of the late Jennings, will perform with Waymore’s Blues Band and Johnson is on the bill as a special guest.
“Jamey and Jessi love Normandy and Normandy loves him right back and the same goes for Jessi. She has been here several times and slips away to come down here to work on her autobiography,” Mitchell said.
Johnson has often been described as a cross between Jennings and George Jones, and broke out in the country music scene with the song “In Color.” Not long ago, he lost a good friend and songwriter, Hank Cochran, to pancreatic cancer and has a tribute album due out next month titled Livin’ for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran.
“Jamey played here once before for me to raise money for Normandy Volunteer Fire Department a couple of years ago. It was a Wednesday night with no advertising and he packed the town,” Mitchell said.
His performance on that night also drew comparison to earlier days as one older gentleman indicated “there hasn’t been this many people in Normandy since the Union army passed through on their way to the Tullahoma Campaign” Mitchell added.
The concert will take place outside of the café with a live auction also on tap for the evening. An assortment of food will be available that ranges from pulled pork, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, desserts and drinks beginning at 3 p.m.
Artists will hit the stage from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
“It doesn’t get anymore up close and personal than this – legendary artists and musicians in a historic, scenic town to make a difference for the better,” Mitchell said.
As for the future, she hopes to keep this an annual event and has plans for more shows down the line.
Advance tickets are $20 and can be purchased through therivercafenormandy.com and they will be $25 the day of the show at the gate.