Fans of bluegrass music won't be the only beneficiaries of the live double album "Celebration of Life."
The Skaggs Family Records release will reap proceeds for Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (MACC), which, in turn, will hand those funds over to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
Released April 18, "Celebration of Life" includes 37 live tracks. Among the 136 musicians who participated in the project are bluegrass stars Dan Tyminski, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, the Grascals, Cherryholmes, Tony Rice, Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Alecia Nugent, Larry Cordle and J.D. Crowe & the New South.
MACC was founded by Darrel and Phyllis Adkins after they lost their daughter Mandy, a St. Jude patient, to a brain-stem tumor. Six years ago they launched the annual MACC festival at Hoover Y-Park near Columbus, Ohio, to raise money for their charity. The festival has become a successful annual bluegrass event that has raised more than $300,000 to date.
Taking the next logical step, Darrel Adkins began planning an album of live performances culled from the festivals, and he found an eager partner in Skaggs Family. The label, owned by bluegrass superstar Ricky Skaggs, is handling distribution and marketing for the project and not taking any profit from its sales.
Skaggs Family general manager Stephen Day says simply that the project seemed "worthwhile ... The more I learned about Mandy and (her) story, the more I respected Darrel and Phyllis because they took their grief and channeled it into action," he says.