Cancer benefit for Elmer Burchett on Friday

Photos of Elmer Burchett © Ted Lehmann

Noted Kentucky banjo player and lifelong bluegrass sideman Elmer Burchett has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Bluegrass lovers know his work from touring and recording with Ronnie Bowman, Dale Ann Bradley, Don Rigsby, Gary Brewer, Pine Mountain Railroad, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Wyatt Rice & Santa Cruz, and several others. Also a talented songwriter, his credits have appeared on projects for Steve Gulley, Terry Baucom, Grasstowne, Ralph Stanley II, and Melonie Cannon.

Fortunately, survival rates for this form of cancer are quite good, but the costs for radiation treatment and ongoing monitoring are not insubstantial. At 58 years of age, we hope to see Elmer with us for quite some time. Still, friends have helped organized a benefit show to help with medical expenses, and it is scheduled for this Friday, February 23, at the Rockcastle County Farmers Market Building (180 Richmond St) in Mt Vernon, KY, in the central part of the state.

It is expected to be something of a band scramble situation, with everyone in the region joining in to provide entertainment. So whether you want to pick, or just offer some support for Elmer while he’s dealing with cancer, come on down at 7:00 p.m.

Burchett says that he has just completed radiation treatment, and will continue hormone therapy this next three years. At this point he is getting better day by day, and expects to be at the show on Friday.

Those unable to attend but who may wish to contribute something can do so via Venmo (@banjoman65).

I’m sure we all wish Elmer the very best in beating prostate cancer, and look forward to seeing him on stage again soon.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.