Bluegrassers step in to help Ernie Thacker

Like many of us, Rhonda Vincent was deeply moved by Ernie Thacker’s poignant video disclosing that a widespread infection would take his life, and seeking donations to help pay for his funeral and medical expenses.

But while just about everybody else was still wiping away tears and digesting the awful news, Rhonda was on the phone with Doyle Lawson, setting up a benefit show for Ernie and his family.

“It was just a matter of minutes that I had the idea, and 35 or 40 minutes later, Doyle called back and said, ‘I’m in,’” she said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s the community of bluegrass. We help each other.”

Rhonda Vincent and Doyle Lawson

The show is set for Monday, January 8, at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley Bar and Grill. The venue hosts the Time Jumpers on Monday nights, but the band is off that night and Rhonda had already been asked if she wanted to play. So the logistics were quickly locked in and the word started spreading.

All proceeds from the $20 a ticket show and a related auction will go to Ernie, Rhonda said. There is also an address for those who can’t attend but want to make donations.

Auction items and checks may be mailed to:

Ernie Thacker Benefit
P.O. Box 686
Sparta, TN 38583

The show will feature Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver and a special set of Tony Rice music by Josh Williams and the Rage. Other guests may be added to the bill.

“There are so many people who offered to come and participate,” she said.

Rhonda crossed paths with Ernie years ago when he toured with Ralph Stanley. Though she hasn’t seen him in a while, she knew immediately that she needed to help because “it’s a fellow bluegrass musician.”

Other benefit shows are in the discussion stages and a crowdfunding effort is underway to help exceed the $15,000 that Ernie asked for to pay for his casket, the funeral service and other expenses.

The fundraiser, organized by Ernie Evans, had raised $4,350 of its $20,000 goal by 3:00 p.m. Friday. Details are available online.

The fundraising efforts won’t take away the sadness or save Ernie’s life – that’s up to a higher power than us. But they can give Ernie some peace of mind and the knowledge that some of the many lives he touched with his music are now helping him.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.