Musicians raising their voices for Raylee
By FAITH HUFFMAN,| News-Telegram News Editor
April 11, 2008 - Next Saturday, April 19, Hopkins County Regional Civic Center will be filled with uplifting music from two area gospel groups and one country contemporary group, with grammy winning country music professional Brad Davis headlining the event.
All proceeds from the live concert will go to the Raylee Box Cancer Fund, to assist the 8-year-old's family with costs associated with treatments she recently received for leukemia.
Raylee is the daughter of Ronda and Darrel Box, both of Sulphur Springs,and a fourth-generation Hopkins County resident.
While Raylee's parents do have medical insurance, like most policies, it did not cover all costs associated with the treatment, nor travel expenses and the hours of work her parents missed to be at the hospital with their daughter.
The North Hopkins Elementary student was diagnosed earlier this year with acute myelogenous leukemia, the cancer of the blood-forming tissue within bone marrow and the second most common form of leukemia in children. Raylee was hospitalized at Medical City Hospital in Dallas beginning in the end of January. In addition to chemotherapy, Raylee has had blood and and platelet transfusions and replacements; she's also participated in clinic trials.
The family happily reports that Raylee is currently home in remission and doing well, able to play with the other girls again. However, funding is still being collected to help with costs associated with her medical care not covered by insurance.
Jason Roberts, Raylee's cousin, is a coordinator for the all-day benefit concert to be held in her honor April 19. The event kicks off at noon, and is slated to continue until 9:30 p.m. with a number of drawings slated during the event.
A number of area groups and entertainers will be lending their talents to the concert. 2nd Haywood will be performing country songs, while Living Stones and Higher Trails will provide gospel music, and Uncommon Reality contemporary.
Living Stones features performers from a Sulphur Springs church ministry, and Uncommon Reality features the talents of a group of band students from Sulphur Springs High School headed by Heath Robinson, according to Roberts.
Higher Trails is a country gospel group out of Quitman which features Joe Wayne Reynolds of Quitman on lead vocals and guitar, Hugh Blair of Mount Vernon on steel guitar, Tony Sheffield of Mount Pleasant assisting with vocals and playing lead guitar, Todd Quinn of Gilmer assisting with vocals and playing drums, Paul Richardson assisting with vocals and playing bass guitar, and 18-year-old Travis Terrell of Waco but formerly of Mount Pleasant who's been playing fiddle and keyboard professionally since he was 10. The group name is a take on their mission, to follow a higher calling in ministry on a higher path. They've lead worship service across East Texas. For a sneak peak at what they've got in store for the concert, go to their web site (www.highertrailsband.com) and listen to songs from their new CD "Legacy."
"Robby Underwood [Roberts' step-brother and a friend of Raylee's family] called me and said, 'Hey would you please come play?'" said Joe Wayne Reynolds of Higher Trails. "We're delighted to help out. We're set to play at 4 in the afternoon and we're looking forward to being there. "
Brad Davis, grammy award winning country music professional, will also be featured during the benefit. Davis has co-produced Marty Stuart, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and with Billy Bob Thornton.
From 1992-2002, Davis was a member of Marty Stuart's road band. From 2003-2004, he played guitar for the Sam Bush Band and performed with the John Jorgenson Gypsy Jazz Quintet in 2005. Davis is currently the host of commerce county line, a singer/songwriter TV program on iTelevison network. He performs some with the blue grass band Greenbroke.
Over the last six years, Davis has played lead acoustic guitar with Earl Scruggs and friends, and for the last six five years as played lead electric and acoustic guitar with Billy Bob Thornton's rock band. His son "Ain't No Angels" was recorded by Tim McGraw, and he played on three of Marty Stuart's album and played on movie soundtracks.
Davis has also been a columnist for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine since 1996, and is Takmine guitar's main clinician. While his biography, which can be viewed online at www.braddavisontour.com, lists a lot of impressive accomplishments, don't expect Davis to wear sleeves -- he's cut them out of every T-shirt he owns.
Tickets for the April 19 concert may be purchased for $10 at the Civic Center Box Office, Tire Town and Circle E. They may also be obtained by calling Jason Roberts at 903-488-9062, or may be purchased at the door the night of the concert.
Also during the benefit will be drawings for Takamine guitars, strings and straps; signed Billy Bob Thornton memorabilia; gourmet Cowhill Coffee; a song demo session produced by Brad Davis; and other donated items.