Benefit concert for Phil Leadbetter in September

Many will be aware that reso-guitarist Phil Leadbetter has had to battle with cancer in the past, and been in remission for the past three years. Sadly, misfortune has struck Leadbetter once with a return of the cancer – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, an uncommon one that develops in the lymphatic system – and, once more it is very aggressive. Also, he has been diagnosed as having Stage 4 chronic kidney disease and other serious ailments that are worrisome on their own. 

Medical expenses are considerable already, and mounting at a rapid rate. 

As it so often does, the bluegrass community is coming together, working to raise funds to help with those costs by hosting benefit concerts.  

One such show has been arranged by Steve Gulley and Stuart Wyrick who have co-opted Flashback, Wildfire (a band in which Leadbetter has played and that he joined for a reunion at Bean Blossom this past June), Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle, and Appalachian Roadshow to perform. 

Gulley explains ….

“Phil Leadbetter and I have been friends since we were both 12 years old. We met through music and have shared stages all over the world, but our friendship goes so much deeper than that. I’ve never had a better friend than Phil. He’s a brother to me. With the recent return of his cancer, and many other serious health issues, some of our musical friends decided to try and put something together to help with his medical and other expenses during the down time caused by his treatment schedule. We have managed to put together what looks to be a fine line-up of talent to perform a benefit concert for Phil.

The benefit show will take place on September 8 at Museum of Appalachia in Norris/Clinton, Tennessee, beginning at 2:00 p.m. I don’t know of a person more deserving of our help, or one who is more courageous and positive. We hope to have a great crowd and make a great show of support for our dear friend, Phil. 

Anyone wanting more info can e-mail myself or Stuart Wyrick at or Let’s all get together and help one the best folks I know.”

To offer further support and encouragement a Facebook group, Fighting For Phil, has been set up.  

For those who want to make a donation directly to Phil Leadbetter, visit GoFundMe online. 

Share this:

About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.