Nine great moments at Erwin Center’s Harvey benefit, and one that got away

Jai Malano, left, joins Martie Maguire, Charlie Sexton and Ryan Bingham during the “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” fundraiser at the Erwin Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Charles Reagan Hackleman/C3 Presents

With Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor at the top end of deep lineup for Friday’s “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” show at the Erwin Center, highlights were guaranteed to be plentiful. The headliners delivered, but some of the most memorable moments also came from the undercard. Here’s a look at our favorite things — plus one we’d have loved to see that didn’t transpire:

1. James Taylor with Bonnie Raitt on “You Can Close Your Eyes.” The tune from Taylor’s 1971 album “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon” wasn’t one of Taylor’s biggest charting hits, but it’s one of his most beautiful ballads. Taylor and Raitt toured together this summer, which may have helped them get this duet version into splendid form. No single song from any artist sounded better all night.

2. Ruthie Foster and Martie Maguire joining Raitt on “Angel From Montgomery.” John Prine wrote it, but it’s long been Raitt’s show-stopping moment. The harmonies from local gospel great Foster and Dixie Chicks fiddler Maguire turned the moment into something special, with a vocal blend we might never hear on the song again.

3. Jai Malano singing with Ryan Bingham. No one played a better three-song set after the TV-broadcast portion of the show than Grammy-winning troubadour Bingham, and part of what made it special was the backing crew. In addition to Maguire on fiddle and musical director Charlie Sexton on guitar, Bingham brought out local rising star Malano, who took full advantage of her jump from club gigs to the city’s largest venue to shine brightly as a featured vocalist on two songs. She returned to sing with James Taylor on a cover of Eric Von Schmidt’s “Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm.”

PHOTO GALLERY: “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” concert at Erwin Center

4. Paul Simon & Edie Brickell dueting on “Waltz Across Texas” and “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.” The first song came early and struck the sweet, graceful note that no doubt played well on the TV broadcast. The latter came later and offered a welcome touch of tongue-in-cheek levity from the couple who have raised three children together.

5. Ha*Ash. If many in the Erwin Center audience were not previously familiar with this sister duo from Mexico City, they are now. Hanna and Ashley Mosa sang two songs in Spanish and one in English, expressing their gratefulness to help Texas hurricane victims even as they’d “lived the earthquake” in their hometown earlier this week. On Twitter, our short clip from their set garnered 10 times as many likes and retweets as anything else we posted. Given the noted lack of Latin acts in this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup, it sure seems like Ha*Ash should’ve been a no-brainer to include.

6. James Taylor doing “Sweet Baby James” with Asleep at the Wheel. That signature tune is going to be a crowd-pleaser whenever and however Taylor plays it, but it baby James was especially sweet with Ray Benson and his band backing him up, particularly Eddie Rivers’ pedal steel accents.

7. Bonnie Raitt talking about playing with Jimmie Vaughan and visiting the White Horse. Eager to launch into the R&B classic “The Pleasure’s All Mine” with the Austin blues-rock guitar great, Raitt nodded Vaughan’s direction and exclaimed, “I’m so ready to play guitar with you I can barely STAND IT!” A little later, she waxed rhapsodic about an east side honky-tonk on Thursday: “I went down to the White Horse last night and saw a bunch of people form different generations dancing together. Man, I gotta move here!”

8. Bonnie joining Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats for “Delta Lady.” The Colorado band hopped out of the box blazing with their 2015 breakthrough hit “S.O.B.,” luring Ryan Bingham out to dance a wicked jig up front with Rateliff. But it was Raitt’s cameo on the late Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady” that marked the musical peak of their high-energy set.

9. Willie Nelson’s ad-hoc backing band on his show-closing set. All night long, music director Charlie Sexton had ushered in a variety of creative backing-band permutations to fit each performer’s needs. Nelson’s iteration was all kinds of cool: Asleep at the Wheel, with whom he’s recorded albums before, made sense as the foundation, but bassist Kevin Smith and harmonica ace Mickey Raphael from Willie’s own band were welcome ringers, and then there was Sexton in the mix too. The only thing better was when the entire cast joined in for the “I’ll Fly Away”/”Will the Circle Be Unbroken” grand finale.

….and one that got away:

1. No Willie Nelson/Paul Simon duet. Given that they’ve done this before on special occasions — YouTube turns up resplendent renditions of them playing Simon’s “American Tune” and “Homeward Bound” together — it was a shame not to hear the two towering living-legends on the bill team up. There must have been a reason, but we would’ve loved to hear them play a song together. Heck, maybe they should do a whole record together.

The concert benefited Rebuild Texas, a Hurricane Harvey relief fund. Contributions can be made at


Harvey can’t mess with Willie and all his friends at Texas-sized relief concert

Willie Nelson at “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” fundraiser at the Erwin Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Charles Reagan Hackleman/C3 Presents

At the start and end, Friday’s “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” concert for hurricane relief at the Erwin Center was much like all great Willie Nelson shows. It began, as Willie always does, with “Whiskey River,” before closing with an “I’ll Fly Away”/”Will the Circle Be Unbroken” finale. In between, though, Austin got to see a concert the likes of which has never been thrown here.

READ MORE: Nine great moments at Harvey benefit, and one that got away

There was Willie singing “Funny How Times Slips Away” with Leon Bridges, and “Texas Flood” with Bonnie Raitt and Jimmie Vaughan. Then Bonnie sang with James Taylor. Then Taylor fronted Asleep at the Wheel. Then Asleep at the Wheel backed Paul Simon and Edie Brickell singing “Waltz Across Texas.” Then the Dixie Chicks’ Martie Maguire and gospel sensation Ruthie Foster joined Raitt for “Angel From Montgomery.” And on and on and on. It was that kind of night, for more than four hours.

Bonnie Raitt with Martie Maguire, left, and Ruthie Foster at “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” fundraiser at the Erwin Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Charles Reagan Hackleman/C3 Presents

All of the musical magic that happened was for the benefit of Rebuild Texas, a hurricane relief effort created by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in collaboration with the OneStar Foundation. According to the website, the fund “will support community partners in four focus areas — health and housing; schools and child care; workforce and transportation; and capital for rebuilding small businesses.”

READ MORE: Dells launch $100 million Rebuild Texas campaign in response to Harvey

Celebrities including Matthew McConaughey, Renee Zellweger, Luke Wilson, Vince Young, Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker, as well as officials such as Austin mayor Steve Adler and Houston police chief Art Acevedo, appeared between performers to beat the drum for the Rebuild Texas cause. Show host Andy Langer announced that even before a telethon-style hour of the concert aired on TV and YouTube at 9 p.m., the event already had raised $1.6 million for the fund.

Ha*Ash performs at “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” fundraiser at the Erwin Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Charles Reagan Hackleman/C3 Presents

The first hour or so was like a “greatest hits” lead-in. Many key moments happened between 7:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., specifically so they could be included on the video portion that was quickly edited and prepared for the broadcast. Those watching at home got to hear the Nelson collaborations, Taylor and Raitt singing “You Can Close Your Eyes” together, Lyle Lovett’s “Simple Song,” Simon’s “America” and more, including a surprisingly strong cameo from Ha*Ash, the Mexican pop duo of sisters Hanna and Ashley Mosa.

WATCH: Highlights from “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” concert

After a short break, most of the big-name performers played another three songs each, before Nelson returned for a seven-song mini-set to close things out just past 11:30 p.m. A standout addition to the post-television segment was Ryan Bingham, who shone brightly with a backing cast that included the Dixie Chicks’ Martie Maguire on fiddle and vocals plus local singer Jai Malano.

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Others in the second-half mix included Colorado’s high-energy soul-rockers Nathaniel Rateliff & Night Sweats, who drew both Bingham and Raitt out to jam with them; and Tejano legends Little Joe y La Familia, a very late add to the bill and a longtime personal favorite of Nelson. (As performers departed at the show’s end, the jumbotron showed Nelson and Little Joe Hernandez warmly embracing.)

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians perform at “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” fundraiser at the Erwin Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Charles Reagan Hackleman/C3 Presents

Brickell also returned for two songs with her longtime band New Bohemians, before rejoining Simon for joyously humorous cover of the 1970s Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn hit “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.” Brickell also did the honors for one of the evening’s most important acknowledgments: “Did anybody introduce Charlie Sexton?”

READ MORE: In appreciation of Charlie Sexton, Americana Awards winner and Austin MVP

The Austin guitarist, a two-decade veteran of Bob Dylan’s band, was the night’s musical director, leading a support crew that wove together variations of Asleep at the Wheel with ace local musicians such as drummer Ramy Antoun and keyboardist Michael Ramos. As host Langer noted near the end of the night, “you largely have Charlie Sexton to thank” for the star-studded lineup and collaborations that made “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” an unforgettable special event.

PHOTO GALLERY: “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” concert at Erwin Center

All-star finale at “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” fundraiser at the Erwin Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Charles Reagan Hackleman/C3 Presents

George Strait to tour hurricane damage in Rockport with Gov. Greg Abbott

George Strait will tour Hurricane Harvey damage in Rockport with Texas governor Greg Abbott on Thursday. Laura Skelding/American-Statesman 2014

Country music great George Strait, who headlined a major Hurricane Harvey relief benefit concert in San Antonio last week, will join Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday to tour hurricane damage in Rockport.

Corpus Christi newspaper the Caller-Times reported that Abbott and Strait “also are expected to meet with local officials to outline plans for recovery and funding.”

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Earlier this year, Strait was named the official 2017 Texas State Musician by the Texas Commission on the Arts. His last full concert in Austin was in January 2014 at the Erwin Center on his farewell tour. He made a surprise appearance in 2016 at Ray Benson’s 65th birthday party during South by Southwest.

RELATED: Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, more to play Harvey benefit at Erwin Center


Edie Brickell & New Bohemians to play Austin for the first time in 17 years

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians will play Friday’s Hurricane Harvey relief benefit at the Erwin Center. From left: Kyle Crusham, Matt Hubbard, John Bush, Kenny Withrow, Brandon Aly, Edie Brickell, Brad Houser. Contributed/Todd Crusham

On a lineup that includes Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt, it can be hard to stand out. Still, when those artists and more gather at the Erwin Center for Friday’s sold-out “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” hurricane relief benefit, the act I’m most intrigued to see is Edie Brickell & New Bohemians.

READ MORE: Details about Friday’s star-studded Harvey relief benefit at Erwin Center

In some respects, it’s not surprising that the bill includes Brickell’s band, which rose up quickly from Dallas three decades ago with a 1988 album that went double-platinum and featured the top-10 single “What I Am.” The band split up shortly after the 1990 follow-up “Ghost of a Dog,” and in 1992 Brickell married Paul Simon, who she met when the band played “Saturday Night Live” in the fall of 1988. The couple raised three children in the ensuing 25 years; Brickell released a few solo albums and lately has collaborated with comedian Steve Martin on his bluegrass albums.

With Simon among Friday’s headliners, adding Brickell was an easy call, but it’s especially intriguing that her band is also aboard. They’ve played a handful of Dallas dates in recent years, including a hurricane benefit with the Old 97’s last weekend. But the last Edie Brickell & New Bohemians show in Austin was more than 17 years ago, at La Zona Rosa in June 2000.

The present-day New Bohemians lineup features all five musicians who made the group’s first recording in 1986: Brickell, guitarist Kenny Withrow, bassist Brad Houser, percussionist John Bush and drummer Brandon Aly. That recording, an independent cassette-only release, featured early versions of several songs that ended up on the band’s Geffen Records debut “Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars,” including “What I Am.”

The 1986 debut cassette of New Bohemians featured early versions of songs such as their smash hit “What I Am.” JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Geffen insisted on adding “Edie Brickell and” to the band’s name, against their wishes. “It’s just unnatural; I’m not comfortable with it,” Brickell told me in a December 1988 interview before a New Bohemians show at the Back Room (now Emo’s).

More profound damage was done when Geffen executives dismissed Aly during the “Shooting Rubberbands” sessions. But his return to the lineup after the band’s radio heyday spoke to the bond these musicians have for each other.

Though they’ll always be most associated with Dallas, the New Bohemians have a distinct Austin imprint now. Houser and Bush live here and have become integral players in the local music community. Keyboardist Matt Hubbard, a longtime Austinite who’s recorded with many luminaries and plays regularly at C-Boy’s Heart & Soul, will be in the lineup for the Erwin Center benefit.

Another local player joining them Friday is Skyrocket guitarist Kyle Crusham, who’s been producing new tracks for the band at Austin’s Arlyn Studios. New Bohemians reconvened in 2006 for the Fantasy Records album “Stranger Things,” but the Arlyn sessions may lead to their first release in more than a decade.

The band played a couple of benefit shows a few years ago in Blanco, where Aly now lives, but Bush acknowledged earlier this week that “it’s been a long time coming to play in Austin.” The next wait won’t be so long, he added. “We’re looking forward to doing our own gig here sometime soon. We’ve got a new record in the can, and we’re working on more stuff as well.”

More Harvey benefits in Austin: Musicians continue relief efforts

Beat Root Revival is among the acts playing a Harvey relief benefit at Donn’s Depot on Sunday, Sept. 17. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

This week’s announcement of the Sept. 22 “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” concert at the Erwin Center is the 800-pound gorilla of hurricane relief benefits, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a lot of smaller fundraiser continuing to be presented around town by local musicians who want to help. Here are a few on the immediate horizon:

Friday, Sept. 15: Play It Forward at Blackerby Stage & Studio. The staff at Blackerby Violin Shop is hosting a benefit concert and instrument drive for Houston area music students affected by Hurricane Harvey. The program features the Blackerby staff performing music composed by native Texans including Joseph Shuffield, Luke Ellard and Mother Falcon; Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony; and Beatles songs led by the Eggmen’s John Burgess. Blackerby is working with Houston Arts Partners, an organization that aims to provide resources, communication and support to arts programs in the greater Houston area. Funds collected will go directly toward purchase of new instruments and instrument accessories. $20 suggested donation; also accepted are gently used instruments, music stands, strings, metronomes, tuners, shoulder rests and the like. 7 p.m. 1111 W. Anderson Lane. More info.

Saturday, Sept. 16: Helping Har-vacuees. East 12th Street venues team up to raise money for charities working on Harvey relief efforts including  ShelterBox USA, Emancipet and Unicef. Dozen Street kicks off the day early with a free brunch at 2 p.m. with bands performing all day and night including a special set from Foot Patrol at 3 p.m. The Big Easy begins their benefit with a blues jam at 6:30 p.m. and  Full Circle Bar is donating all the proceeds from every Skee-Ball game of the night to the efforts. $10 cover gets you into all three venues and each of the clubs, plus food truck Red Wraps are donating 10% of Saturday net sales. Neighboring bars Rio Rita and King Bee are also contributing to Harvey relief efforts. More info.

Saturday-Sunday, Sept, 16-17: Harvey Flood Benefit at Moontower Saloon. Musicians including Texiana Bluez, Whiskey Rebellion and Jukebox Heroes will play from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Donations of water and canned foods will be accepted for the Central Texas Food Bank, along with cash that will go to the Austin Disaster Relief Network for those in need after Hurricane Harvey. 10212 Manchaca Road. More info.

Sunday, Sept. 17: Hurricane Harvey Help at Donn’s Depot. Roots musicians including Beat Root Revival, Ernie Durawa with Will Knaak, the Drakes with Redd Volkaert, the Mike Cross Band, the John Gaar Band and Charles Thibodeaux will perform. Donations of requested items such as chainsaws and paper products will be accepted along with a suggested donation of $10 to $20, with all collected items and cash going to the Austin Disaster Relief Network. 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. 1600 W. Fifth St. More info.

Sundays, Sept. 17 and Sept. 24: Bands With Vans benefit for Harvey relief at Spider House. One novel way for musicians to help is to work with Bands With Vans, which teams bands up with venues working as drop off locations in Houston collecting supplies. Walker Lukens did the first one last week; they’re following up with a country show Sept. 17 featuring Mayeux & Broussard, Ricky Espinoza and the Band In Black, followed by a Latin/brass-band dance party on Sept. 24 with Superfonicos, Minor Mishap Marching Band, Continental Drift and Wache. $7 suggested donation. 7 p.m. 2908 Fruth St. More info.

Monday, Sept. 18: Fastball at Chet’s Livestream Concert. Austin pop band Fastball is teaming up with comedian and Unpopular Opinion Network podcaster Chet Wild to play a set at Wild’s home in Los Angeles that will be livestreamed for those who donate. All net proceeds benefit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. More info.

Planning a Hurricane Harvey benefit that’s not on this list? Drop us a line.

Sold out: Tickets to all-star Harvey benefit at Erwin Center go fast

Tickets to the all-star “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” benefit on September 22 at the Erwin Center sold out in less than 24 hours, event organizers confirmed on Thursday.

Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson are among the performers for the sold-out “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” hurricane relief benefit at the Erwin Center on September 22. RODOLFO GONZALEZ/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians and others will perform at the four-hour concert, with proceeds going to the Rebuild Texas Fund.

TEGNA television stations (including Austin’s KVUE-TV) will air a segment of the concert from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., with live streaming provided by Google at

READ MORE: Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, more to play Harvey benefit at Erwin Center

‘Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas’ benefit at Erwin Center will feature Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett and more

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UPDATE: Tickets to the “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” benefit sold out in less than 24 hours, event organizers confirmed on Thursday.

Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett and Edie Brickell & New Bohemians head up “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas: A Benefit Concert for Hurricane Harvey Relief,” an all-star event and telethon set for September 22 at the Erwin Center.

Tickets to the four-hour concert, which runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., go on sale at 3 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, via for $30 to $199. TEGNA stations (including Austin’s KVUE-TV) will air a segment of the concert from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., with live streaming on YouTube provided by Google.

Willie Nelson tops an all-star cast playing the “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” hurricane relief benefit concert at the Erwin Center on September 22. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman 2016

Billed as “the largest live concert benefit in Texas” for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, the event follows Tuesday night’s “Hand in Hand” national telethon event that included a show with George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and others at San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre.

Others scheduled to appear at the Erwin Center event include Matthew McConaughey, Dan Rather, Renée Zellweger, Luke Wilson, Austin mayor Steve Adler and Houston chief of Police Art Acevedo. Additional musical performers include Ryan Bingham, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and the Mexican pop duo Ha*Ash.

The concert will feature “exclusive performances and rare collaborations,” according to a press release announcing the event. Asleep at the Wheel will be the house band, and Charlie Sexton will serve as music director.

Paul Simon will be part of the “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” benefit at the Erwin Center on September 22, 2017. Scott Newton for KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits 2016

Proceeds will benefit the Rebuild Texas Fund, created by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in collaboration with the OneStar Foundation. According to the Rebuild Texas website, the fund “will support community partners in four focus areas — health and housing; schools and child care; workforce and transportation; and capital for rebuilding small businesses.” The concert is part of the Dell Foundation’s effort to raise $100 million toward hurricane recovery efforts.

READ MORE: Dells launch $100 million Rebuild Texas campaign in response to Harvey

“This fund was created to help rebuild all of the communities, big and small, that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey,” Houston native Michael Dell said in the event’s press release. “We will be rebuilding for years to come.” His wife, native Texan Susan Dell, added, “For us, this is personal.”

Besides Austin’s KVUE, other TEGNA stations set to air the concert are WFAA in Dallas, KHOU in Houston, KENS in San Antonio, KBMT in Beaumont, KCEN in Waco-Temple-Bryan, KAGS in College Station, KIII in Corpus Christi, KIDY in San Angelo, KXVA in Abilene and KYTX in Tyler. The telecast will air without commercials.

In addition, an hour of the event will stream internationally on from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time. Google will match $500,000 in telethon donations, with volunteers from Google’s Austin office and employees of TEGNA working the telethon phone banks. Donations also will be accepted at the website.

“The outpouring of support from the local community and communities across the nation is a testament to the spirit, grit and determination of the people of Texas,” said TEGNA president/CEO Dave Lougee.

Leon Bridges will be part of the “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” benefit at the Erwin Center on September 22, 2017. Scott Newton for KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits 2015

The concert is the biggest fundraiser to be held at the Erwin Center since a 2011 benefit for victims of Bastrop wildfires that included performances by Nelson, Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Lovett and others.

Others who have donated “efforts and services” to the event, according to the press release, include the Erwin Center, Springboard Productions, Solomon Group, Big House Sounds, Soundcheck Austin, Hotel Van Zandt, Sodexo, GSD&M, Andy Langer, the Texas Music Office and the City of Austin. TEGNA is producing the broadcast in partnership with Debra Davis Productions. Austin company C3 Presents is producing the live event and also is donating all its services.

Media partners are KUT/KUTX, 93.3 KGSR, 103.5 BOB FM, 101X, 93.7 KLBJ, MIX 94.7, Majic 95.5, 95.9 R&B, 98.1 KVET, the Austin American-Statesman and, the Austin Chronicle, and Do512.

The official poster for the “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas” benefit concert at the Erwin Center on September 22, 2017.

UPDATE: Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert to join George Strait at Harvey relief concert in San Antonio

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UPDATE: The George Strait concert in San Antonio teased as a “live performance finale from Texas” to the Hand in Hand Texas Harvey relief telethon on Tuesday, Sept. 12, is shaping up to be an all-star affair. Rising talent Chris Stapleton and Texas faves Miranda Lambert and Lyle Lovett have been added to the bill.

Tickets to the show are not cheap. They will run $200-$1000, but it’s for a a good cause. Tickets go on sale via, or by phone at 1-800-745-3000 on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Chris Stapleton performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park Sunday October 2, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

EARLIER: Details are beginning to emerge for “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief,” a one hour telethon scheduled for September 12 at 7 p.m. C.S.T. The telethon will be screened simultaneously on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and CMT and broadcast live from Universal Studios lot in Los Angeles, Times Square in New York City and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. The show will also stream live on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook Live.

Artists and celebrities slated to appear live or share messages include Queen of Houston, Beyoncé, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, hometown hero Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts and many more.

Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show in 2016. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

According to the official Website for the fundraiser, the performance will conclude with a “live performance finale from Texas with George Strait and friends.”

HOW TO HELP: Volunteer opportunities, donations and more reports that George Strait will perform at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio and more details and ticket information will be released Tuesday afternoon.

Strait teased the fundraiser on his social media channels Sunday.

Proceeds from the telethon will benefit United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Feeding Texas, DirectRelief and the Mayor’s fund for Hurricane Harvey.


The magnificent diversity of Houston shines through its music

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The Statesman put a call out to staff and readers for their love letters to our beleaguered neighbor to the southeast. You can read them all online here. This is mine …  

Like the rest of us in the parts of Texas that aren’t underwater right now, I’ve watched the devastation Hurricane Harvey unleashed on our state’s coastal areas with a heavy heart. I’m not a native Texan, but I’ve lived in the state for more than 20 years. Both of my daughters were born here, and gradually, over the past decade, my entire family has migrated to the Lone Star State. I love my adopted home fiercely. My heart aches seeing Texas’ quirky seaside communities suffering so profoundly. And Houston. Seeing Houston submerged kills me.

Austin is my beloved home, but I always tell friends from around the country that Houston is the other place in Texas where I’d love to live.

 I grew up in the Midwest, a small-town girl with big city dreams, and Houston is a massive cosmopolitan city. I love the world-class museums, the fancy restaurants and the leaping fountain that shoots over the Metrorail downtown. But mostly, I love its diversity.

 Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in America, a title it took from New York City in 2010. 

 Beyoncé, the city’s most famous musical export, is the queen of Houston, and the city holds the regional throne for Dirty South hip-hop. Houston’s signature sound reflects the tricked-out, candy-colored rides that parade through the streets each year, slow, low and banging. The (Underground) King of Houston is Bun B. He’s revered in the city as an elder statesman, and, in recent years, he was tapped by Rice University to teach a class on hip-hop and religion.

 Houston is home to the second largest Hispanic population in the country. A full 41 percent of people living in Harris County are Hispanic. One of the city’s underdog heroes is self-described tamale kingpin Chingo Bling, a rapper-turned-comedian with an incisive take on immigration issues.

 Houston feels like a gateway to the rest of the world and that’s because it literally is. From the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, it’s a short hop to Mexico and Central America and there’s steady traffic in and out of South America daily. The Port of Houston is one of the country’s biggest shipping channels.

 The city’s population also connects us to the rest of the world. As the Houston Chronicle explored with a beautiful, in-depth reporting project in 2015, 1 in 4 residents of Harris County, over a million people, are foreign-born. They come from all over: South and Central America, Europe, all corners of Africa and Asia. According to the Times of India, more than 150,000 Houstonians hail from my father’s homeland, making the city home to one of the largest East Indian communities in the country.

 Houston’s diversity and internationalism is reflected in my favorite H-Town bands. The Suffers, fronted by vocal powerhouse Kam Franklin, blend reggae, Mexican influences and hints of bayou Cajun sounds into a mix they call Gulf Coast soul. Khruangbin mixes surf pop and psychedelic sounds with Thai funk of the 1960s.

 Vocalist Asli Omar, who’s half-Somali, fronts the Tontons, a dreamy indie rock band that includes a Vietnamese bassist and a pair of Latino brothers on guitar and drums. The bandmates have been friends since high school. Omar once told me the fact that they all come from hard working and proud immigrant homes is a bond they share.

 A first-generation American who came of age in wholesome, white-bread, small-town America, I always longed to live in a city defined by a rich tapestry of ethnic communities. Growing up in a mixed-race family, I was raised with the naive belief that love trumps all, that our common humanity will always be greater than our differences. Having married into an African-American family, I cling to that idea more than ever these days.

 After Harvey pummeled Houston, the nation’s eyes were opened to the city’s beautiful diversity. Images of Houstonians, black, white, Hispanic and Asian, standing together and risking everything to help their neighbors uplifted us all.

 I realized, in Houston I see my American dream. The recovery is going to be a long, hard haul, but as soon as the city is ready for visitors, my husband and I, along with our Afro-Anglo-Indo-American children, will be among the first to come.

Singer Beyonce during GRAMMY Awards in 2017. (Contributed/Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Eric Church moves Austin360 Amphitheater show to April 2018

Eric Church has moved his scheduled Sept. 7 concert at Austin360 Amphitheater to April 28, 2018.
Ashley Landis for American-Statesman 2013

Country star Eric Church has rescheduled his Sept. 7 concert at the Austin360 Amphitheater for April 28, 2018, “in light of the extensive devastation throughout the state of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” the venue announced Friday.

“There is a time and place for everything, and we really feel that now is not the time for us to play in Texas,” Church said in the statement, which also cited the postponement of a show at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion near Houston. “Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

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Church also announced that proceeds from ticket sales for the 2018 Houston and Austin shows will go directly to Houston relief charities, and he invited first-responders to the storm to attend the shows for free (with details to be announced later).

Refunds for those not able to attend the rescheduled date will be given at the original point of purchase.

READ MORE: Eric Church at the 2013 Austin City Limits Music Festival