Dear Nashville - and the world:
It’s just a little more than 48 hours until the first of two nights of our annual Nashville Unlimited Christmas Concert at Christ Church Cathedral. It seems hard to believe, but this is our 20th year doing these shows at the Cathedral for Room in the Inn, so we are celebrating with two nights of music this year. My life was changed in 1992 when I met Charles Strobel, who founded the homeless organization Room in the Inn, and began to learn about all they have done to transform the lives of countless Nashvillians whose lives were at risk. Charles, Rachel Hester and everyone connected with Room in the Inn have taught me so many valuable lessons about the holiday season – it’s all about helping people who are not as fortunate as we are and lifting them up.
I have been doing fundraising holiday concerts for them ever since, first with Blue Christmas, and since 2000, with Nashville Unlimited Christmas. Christ Church Cathedral is a special place and I am so grateful for their support and help in this effort and for being my spiritual home. Together, we have raised more than $320,000 for this amazing organization. We are doing two nights this year to celebrate our 20th year and up the ante of our fundraising while celebrating the sounds of the season and honoring the incredible community we have here in Music City.
This year’s guests include Charlie McCoy, Don Schlitz, Chris Scruggs, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, Andy Leftwich, Danny Flowers and Mabel Pleasure, Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers, and more on Monday night, and Emmylou Harris, Riders in the Sky, The McCrary Sisters, Charles Esten, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, and the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble on Tuesday. As always, there will be special “Mystery Guests” on both nights as well. For those who cannot attend and/or who would like to donate online, we can also accept online donation through Room in the Inn’s website that will count towards our total funds raised. Here’s the link…
To help promote the concert and this noble cause, we are airing a “Best of Nashville Unlimited” radio special on WMOT Roots Radio at 6 p.m. this Sunday, Dec. 8, highlighting some of our favorite moments from the last 19 years. The one-hour special includes performances by Emmylou Harris, Tom Paxton, Charlie McCoy, Mary Gauthier, Tim O’Brien & Sara Watkins, Chris Scruggs, Riders in the Sky, Andy Leftwich, Pat Bergeson, Three Ring Circle, Kevin Whalum, Scat Springs, and the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble.
Special thanks also to my co-host Don Henry, and percussionist Sam Bacco, who have taken part in these shows since the beginning. I offer my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who have performed at our shows in the past 19 years, including John Prine, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, The Settles Connection, Rodney Crowell, Fiddle Frenzy, Brenda Lee, Charles “Wigg” Walker, Portara Vocal Ensemble, Music City Baroque, The Time Jumpers, Kathy Mattea, John Cowan, Sam Bush, Paris DeLane, The Ukedelics, Tuba Christmas, The Boxwoods, Jonathan Yudkin, Michael Spriggs, Annie Selleck, The Hot Club of Nashville, Tommy Emmanuel, The Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Seay, The Duffy Jackson Big Band, Five Reeds, Doug Seegers, and so many more. When I look back at the lineup of guests over the years who have donated their time and musical skills to raise money for this amazing organization, I am truly humbled.
I hope we hit an all-time high in funds raised this year, and if you find it in your heart to give something, I want you to know that Room in the Inn is one of the finest organizations I know of, who are helping people every day and have changed thousands of lives for the better. Thank you, Nashville.