Chattanooga’s Live Music community stepped up to the stage in a huge way for the 2nd annual benefit for a beautiful little girl. The benefit for Ringgold’s Layla Shook brought out five bands to the stage at Rhythm and Brews last Saturday night. The 2 ½ half year old girl with child birth defect disorders has been the center of attention with the Chattanooga Craniofacial Center. Layla Shook and her parents, Lisa and Brian, demonstrate amazing strength to follow through medical procedures after procedures. Layla‘s bravery and courage joined by her parents demonstrate unwavering faith having much love and commitment for the well-being of Layla.
It was a few nights after the benefit I found myself sitting at the studio concentrating on writing this review. It was a different type of story than most concerts. The first thing I do after the event is to review each photo looking for those pictures to share that illustrate the heart and soul of committed people providing their love for this girl and her family.
It’s a process I have done so often once I have my photos selected and prepared, now to write the experience. I often volunteer to support many benefits for true causes. This was different - my friend Anthony Sims (band member of the Pearl Snap Preachers), event promoter and (friend of Lisa and Brian Shook) reached out needing some support for this benefit. Seeking some documentary photos and videos, he and others reached out to me.
It worked out that the benefit for Layla Shook on Saturday night would not conflict with my attendance for an earlier benefit given for Marty’s Center… an educational facility for small pre-school children.
It was the support Anthony Sims, Davey Smith, Zach Dylan, Joe & Cory Collins, Roger Alan Wade and Robby Hopkins who pulled their band members together to discuss. None of them could say “No” to Layla. As performing for such a cause and giving 100 percent of the proceeds to the needs of Layla. I’m not sure if most bands would do, but I think so.
Opening the event Robby Hopkins, singer/song writer from Ringgold, Georgia with a style influenced by old “school” country. https://www.facebook.com/RobbyHopkins
Zach Dylan and the D-Railed Band, native of the Charleston, Tn. area. A singer/songwriter with a great stage presence to play his heart-felt songs of growing up in rural eastern Tennessee. I met Zach and the D-Railed playing Riverbend a couple of years ago, then opening for Florida - Georgia Line at the Forgotten Child Fund last Christmas.at Track 29. Check out them here at https://www.facebook.com/ZachDylanCountry
A true Chattanooga icon who gained widespread popularity in the 70’s and 80’s Roger Alan Wade, His outlaw country music style has allowed his song writing skills tunneled direct into Nashville with charted songs. More info may be found at this link. https://www.facebook.com/RogerAlanWadeMusic
The Collins Brothers Band (Joe & Cory) joined the stage after intermission breaks were held by Anthony Sims, raffling off various donated items. The Collins Band is from Cleveland, Tn. and country. I met them a few weeks ago as my daughter asked them to perform at her wedding reception realizing the country state of mind brought various genre. Look them up here.. https://www.facebook.com/pages/COLLINS-BROTHERS-BAND/30955161863
The last band to close the benefit was Davey Smith and the Pearl Snap Preachers from the Chattanooga area. The legendary group is fronted by HonkyTonk Superman Davey Smith. The Honkiest Tonkiest Band in town. The band is full of singers with song writing talents. Davey Smith - Chattanooga's #1 Country songwriter & singer. Winner of 2013 Best Country Singer of Chattanooga. More info at https://www.facebook.com/ThePearlSnapPreachers
So many more people got involved to make it successful. Mike Dougher, Lea Carter and the staff supported the cause by opening the date at the venue on Market Street at what I call the House of Rhythm & Brews on May 17th as the second annual benefit. It drew a capacity crowd of music lovers who supported with big hearts, time and resources to raise money to assist Layla and her parents.
She's two and half and already endured more than 50 surgeries and medical procedures. Rita Boydston with the Chattanooga Craniofacial Center took the stage with Layla and her parents to share information about her progress. Layla has the best internationally recognized (Chattanooga based) medical team led by Dr. Larry Sargent Miss Layla was born on November 28, 2011 with Apert Syndrome. The procedures have unfused her fingers and toes, reconstructed her skull, made shunt implants, etc. Her parents are enduring a lot of hardship with both medical bills and day to day living in trying to give Layla the best care.
So how did the benefits get started … I asked the person who organized it.. Anthony Sims (singer, songwriter, musicians, organizer).
He said, "In 2012 I had followed Layla's story on Facebook, but really didn’t know Brian and Lisa Shook, other than seeing them come to a few of my shows when I played for the Tennessee Rounders. Eventually I reached out to Brian Shook and asked him to call me. I had never organized any kind of event or benefit in my life, but I asked him if he and Lisa would be willing to let me organize a concert to benefit Layla and her medical expenses etc. I just told him that I just felt the desire to help but I wanted to ask for their permissions."
Brian said he would talk to Lisa about it. Anthony said, "I found out real quick that Brian and Lisa are, GIVERS.. not takers. They have a really hard time accepting help. And they are the last people that will ever actually ASK for help. Long story short, they agreed to let me (Anthony Sims) put a show together for Layla and see how it went.
"In 2013 I held the 1st Shook You All Night long at Acoustic Cafe in Ringgold. The lineup was local singers/songwriters and musicians , as Eric Key, Nathan Farrow, Zach Dylan Band, Arlo Gilliam, Robby Hopkins, and The Hillbilly SINs (Anthony’s other band). Ringgold was buzzing! We had a beyond capacity crowd & were able to give the Shooks the proceeds."
Anthony continues, “I can't begin to tell you how I felt. I had never in my 20+ years of gigging, played a sold out show & handed over the entire payout to someone else... It was the BEST FEELING EVER! Helping someone is simply just better and I felt the Good Lord would bless me in return somewhere down the road.
"Would you believe he did?... Not a month after giving Layla that payout.. I got a check in the mail as a gift from someone for the very same amount that I had handed over. It’s funny how that works. huh?
"So fast forward.. I have now been blessed with a wonderful friendship with the Shooks and decided to make this event an annual event. I reached out to Brian/Lisa several months ago to ask them about doing the 2014 Shook You All Night event. Once I had their blessing I began moving forward.
"I changed the line-up a little this year due to the fact it was Rhythm & Brews. I really needed to ensure the bands chosen could draw crowds in the downtown area with 100 percent confidence. It was a decision I toiled over for weeks because I knew I couldn’t just choose who I 'liked'. For Layla's sake I had to make smart choices & truly make the event an Ace in the Hole. The five bands proved to be the winning combination of what the supporters and live music enthusiast wanted to hear and see."
He added, "Mark, you will never know the appreciation of your time and effort to take the zillion photos and videos, with the follow up of this benefit event for Layla and her parents. The documentary of the success for this little girl means a lot to so many people."
It was a great event and meeting so many people giving time, talents and resources to raise money for Layla. In addition, several corporate sponsors joined in to assist, Rhythm & Brews, US XPRESS, Republic Parking, Air Systems Unlimited, Guitar Center, JHP Contractors, Express Oil Change and a couple other private donations.
The past couple of weeks Layla’s story has gone from local to national media coverage. There are miracles so keep Layla, Lisa and Brian Shook in addition to her medical team close to your hearts and prayers. The photo album highlights the energy and love poured into the event. A charitable giving account has been established by following this link at https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/0OuF2?device=desktop
It was one of the best events I have been part of.
Email Mark Herndon at