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Steve Earle and the Kentucky HeadHunters Go to Bat for a Good Cause in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

We happened to observe Outlaw Country and Americana music legend Steve Earle hours before his concert at the Mother Church of Country Music warmly greeting fans in his casual pre-show attire that consisted of a New York Yankees jersey and blue jeans. It would get much more serious later when Earle, his band the Dukes and special guests the Kentucky HeadHunters would all step up to the plate to champion a very important cause for at the Concert for Cumberland Heights benefit at Nashville's revered Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, September 21, 2022.


The legend Steve Earle takes the Ryman Auditorium stage once again in 2022.

Earle and the Dukes were impressive offering up a wide range of selections that moved from gritty blues to raucous rock and beyond with ease. The band played a generous set that touched upon some of Earle's greatest hits including "Copperhead Road" that came early in the set with Steve suggesting those with ankle bracelets could now get home before their curfew arrived. Other highlights included the always satisfactory "Ain't Ever Satisfied" and the Celtic infused "The Galway Girl" that had the Ryman faithful up on their feet and dancing with glee.

The purpose for the night's concert and ongoing benefit wasn't lost on Earle who thanked fans for coming out before dedicating the last song of the night to his son Justin Townes Earle who died from an overdose in 2020. Steve reminded the audience that his boy inherited a disease from him before adding that his personal tragedy was really nothing more than a sad accident caused by an unintended ingestion of the very dangerous fentanyl.


Steve Earle and the Dukes at the Concert for Cumberland Heights benefit in Nashville.

The evening began with the Kentucky HeadHunters who were a revelation as they delved deep into the blues sector of their abundant catalog. However, the quartet saved the best for last as they brought out the original songwriter of one of their best-known tracks "Spirit In The Sky" and next the classic rock legend Norman Greenbaum proceeded to lift the roof off of the joint with a rare performance of his outstanding "one hit wonder" that earned him and the band a standing ovation.

The Concert for Cumberland Heights is an annual fundraiser that began in 1996 to raise much needed funding for adolescent and young adult programs. Since its inception, the concert has raised over $3.4 million for families struggling. About 2,400 people attend the concert each year, and more than 330 guests attend the pre-concert party. Over the years, the Ryman show has featured such stars as Trisha Yearwood, John Hiatt, Josh Turner and now Steve Earle and the Dukes. Put this one on your must-see calendar for 2023.


The Kentucky HeadHunters got the ball rolling with a bunch of the blues.

Related Links: For more information on STEVE EARLE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Steve Earle | Kentucky Headhunters | Norman Greenbaum with the Kentucky HeadHunters | The Concert for Cumberland Heights | Ryman Auditorium

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