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Songs for the South: Benefit aid victims of hurricanes

Submitted PhotoAmericana musician Frank Martin has organized the Southern Comfort Benefit at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Hotel Colorado to support Habit for Humanity's hurricane recovery.
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There’s more to Frank Martin’s dinner conversation with his wife than the typical, “How was your day?”

Take, for example, a discussion last week that led to Friday’s Southern Comfort Benefit taking place at 7:30 p.m. at the Hotel Colorado to support hurricane recovery.

“It all started when my wife, Paula Stepp, and I were looking across the dinner table at each other,” said Martin, a Glenwood Springs musician. “We were wondering what we could do in the face of the disaster.”



The folk music recording artist and his wife decided a concert with valley band SoulFeel ” who Martin admires ” would be a great way to involve the community in raising money for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“I really like that band a lot, and I know that Brad from the band, his father is actually living in New Orleans,” Martin said. “I like to mix it up with other musicians, and they didn’t hesitate.”



Martin also contacted friend Jack Green to serve as master of ceremonies for the event, which will include live music, a raffle and comic relief in the hotel’s Devereux Room.

“There’ll be mostly dancing and not a whole lot of sitting going on,” said Green, a self-described humorist, poet, storyteller and free-range thinker. “It’s not going to be a political night, so leave your political agendas at home. Mostly it’s going to be about the music.”

After Martin designated Habitat for Humanity’s Operation Home Delivery hurricane recovery effort as the event’s beneficiary, donations for a raffle started coming in from area businesses. So far, the biggest prize to be raffled is a Sunlight Mountain Resort season pass.

“It’s very much in our interest to do a grass-roots fund-raiser. It’s just an avenue to do what you can in the community,” said Martin, who described his music as “Americana roots with a country and zydeco lean” and “mullet folk.” “Choosing Habitat for Humanity allows our community to touch someone else in rebuilding the infrastructure down there and helping people on a real one-on-one, basic level.”

A native of southeast Oklahoma, Green said he plans to add to the benefit’s festive atmosphere. The event will feature music by Martin and his band, the Red Dirt Gang; slide guitarist and mandolin player Bruce Hayes, of Howard, Colo.; and members of SoulFeel, who will play funky roots rock and blues.

“It’s just going to be a light-hearted night, that’s what I’m hoping for,” said Green, a retired Glenwood Springs High School social studies teacher who moved to Colorado 28 years ago, but still carries a thick Southern accent. “Most people are up for a good time. We’ve had enough heavy lately. I’m going to help keep people moving and laughing.”

Along with spirits, Green and Martin also want to see a considerable amount of money raised for a good cause Friday.

“Just come and bring a pocket full of money,” Green said. “We’ll have to turn you upside down by your heels and get some money out of you for the folks down South.”

The benefit was organized in about a week, and its major conflict in attracting people is Friday’s Glenwood Springs High School homecoming game against Rifle, said Martin.

“We have promised to hold off the raffle until after the football game is over, which should be about 9:30,” Martin said. “People are excited because they say they haven’t been out dancing in awhile.”

Martin, the Red Dirt Gang and Hayes will take the stage at 7:30 p.m., and SoulFeel will play around 10 p.m. The benefit will last until 11:30 p.m. Admission is $10, and tickets are available at Through the Looking Glass in Glenwood Springs and at Sounds Easy in Carbondale.

For more information about the Southern Comfort Benefit or to make a donation, call 928-9347. For information about Operation Home Delivery, visit http://www.habitat.org/disaster/2005/katrina/.


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