Ernie Thacker benefits for your consideration

In November last year (2017) we were distressed to have to pass on the tragic news that Ernie Thacker, only 45 years old, had been given news that the osteomyelitis, the rare bone disease that he had been diagnosed as having, has spread out of control, affecting the lower half of his body, including his spine, and is terminal. 

The former lead-singer for bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, joining the Clinch Mountain Boys at the age of 16, Thacker does not have any life insurance, causing the Thacker family considerable financial distress. 

Many will recall that Thacker was seriously injured in an auto accident in April 2006, leaving him paralyzed. One of his legs was amputated shortly afterwards. He has been in and out of hospital repeatedly since then.  

His wife “Karen has given up her life for the last four-years to be by my side and taking care of me 24/7”, says Thacker. Thus, there is little or no income. 

As is so commonplace, the bluegrass community has joined forces to organise benefits for Thacker and his family. 

We have identified three benefits, one of which takes place this weekend. 

Friday and Saturday, January 26 and 27 in Ashland, Kentucky, at The Boyd County Community Center in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. 

Friday, January 26

  • 6:00 p.m. – Sammy Adkins & the Sandy Hook Mountain Boys
  • 7:00 p.m. – Step into the Blue 
  • 8:00 p.m. – Don Rigsby 
  • 9:00 p.m. – Dewey & Leslie Brown & the Carolina Gentlemen  

Saturday, January 27

  • 1:00 p.m. – Ernie Thacker Tribute Band 
  • 2:00 p.m. – Turning Ground 
  • 3:00 p.m. – 5 For the Gospel 
  • 4:00 p.m. – Gena Britt, Ashby Frank, Beth Lawrence, Brandon Bostic, Keith Garrett and Kati Penn 
  • 5:00 p.m. – The Price Sisters 
  • 6:00 p.m. – Hammertowne 
  • 7:00 p.m. – Larry Sparks
  • 8:00 p.m. – Flashback 
  • 9:00 p.m. – Urban Hillbilly (Clay Jones)

The Boyd County Community Center, is at exit 185 on I-64, ½ a mile past the Flying J, Ashland, Kentucky. 

A $20 ticket is good for both days. More information can be found online.

Then on February 10, another benefit is scheduled at the Richland County Fairgrounds in Mansfield, Ohio produced by Evans Media Source. It will run from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Don Rigsby & Flashback; Larry Cordle & Lonesone Standard Time; Jr. Sisk and Rambler Choice, Dave Adkins, Darrell Webb, Ernie Evans, Larry Efaw & The Bluegrass Mountaineers, Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Jeff brown & Still Lonesome, Caney Creek, Sammy Adkins & The Sandy Hook Mountain Boys, Crabgrass, and a special performance by the Matt Thacker Route 23 Reunion Band. 

Tickets for the event are $20, and children 12 and under are free with a paying customer. Drinks, baked goods and a spaghetti dinner will be for sale throughout the day. 

Donated items for auction should be sent to Jeannie Brown, 14680 Dirlam Road, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402. 

And finally on February 23, Wilson Pickins Promotions will host a concert at the Capitol Theater in Greeneville, Tennessee. It is scheduled from 6:00-11:00 p.m.

Set to perform are:

  • Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford
  • Wildfire
  • Blue Highway
  • Wilson Banjo Co.
  • Route 23 Alumni Band
  • Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle 

An entrance fee of $20.00 will be charged, with all proceeds to benefit Ernie Thacker. There will also be raffles, concessions and drawings. 

For those unable to attend either of these shows, there is a relief fund established to help both with current medical bills, and to defray eventual funeral expenses.

To make a donation, simply mail a check to:

New People’s Bank
c/o Theda Viers
PO Box F
Haysi, VA 24256

Ms. Viers is Ernie’s aunt, and she can ensure that checks are properly deposited.

Now is the time for the bluegrass community at large to come together to support Ernie Thacker and his family by attending these all-star fundraising events with proceeds going to Thacker to help with his expenses. 

Support the cause with any means that you can. Remember, a little goes a long way. 

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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.