Blake Johnson has been a beloved figure in bluegrass in recent years. His membership in a pair of popular touring acts, Grasstowne and IIIrd Tyme Out, brought him to the attention of a great many music lovers, and being featured on both bands’ new albums simply widened that reach.
But he has been suffering from particularly ill health of late, rendering him unable to work or do much of anything but receive dialysis treatment three times each week. His kidney function is down to only 10%, putting him in stage 5 kidney disease.
Blake has had to resign his position with IIIrd Tyme Out, surely among the best gigs in our music, and his doctors are trying to get him healthy and strong enough to get on a kidney transplant list. A recent bout with pneumonia has weakened him further and his wife, Amber, tells us that the dialysis drains him completely.
Not much of a life for a talented 32 year man with a wife and two children.
A benefit concert is scheduled for Saturday, December 5, at the Virgilina Volunteer Fire Department in Virgilina, VA. As you might guess from the name, the town sits on the Virginia-North Carolina border between I-85 and US 29. Music will be provided by Adam Poindexter & Friends and Lawson Creek Grass from 2:00-5:00 p.m. BBQ plates will be offered for $10 will proceeds benefiting Blake and his family.
If you can’t make the show, a GoFundMe account has been established for Blake which can accept donations online. Many of us are reminded of those who need our help during the Christmas season, and making a small donation to the Johnsons would be a fine way to spread some joy. With Blake unable to work, and the likely expenses associated with a transplant on the horizon, they would surely appreciate being remembered by their bluegrass family.
Find the GoFundMe account online.