Thursday, May 13, 2010
For months, area musicians and music fans have organized benefits to help D.C. area singer Nadine Rae, who put her career on hold to deal with serious injuries she received from an automobile accident last winter.
Rae attended the latest benefit to thank supporters in person—with a song.
Rae, whose required reconstructive surgery after her car flipped over in Anne Arundel County several times on Christmas Eve, performed briefly at a benefit held for her on April 11 at the Silver Spring American Legion Hall. The event was organized by the D.C. Blues Society and by Barbara Chandler, wife of blues guitarist Memphis Gold.
The benefit offered its guests a rare D.C. area treat: a chance to hear a show featuring both Memphis Gold and legendary blues guitarist Bobby Parker, who joined the benefit after learning of it for the first time that day. Performances by B.T. Richardson, Stacey Brooks, Dr. S.O. Feelgood and Lady Rose made the requested donation of $15 even more of a bargain
But, despite the formidable array of talent, Rae was the definite star of the evening, particularly when, backed by Memphis Gold and his band, she sang a brief set that ended with a energetic rendition of “The Thrill is Gone.”
As she sang, it was obvious in her face how much she loved being in front of an audience.
Still, once she stopped singing, she made it clear later that her fight for good health is not over.
“I want to tell you something, I did get broke up in that car accident, but I also just out of the house two weeks ago for congestive heart failure,” she said. “The medicine that they gave me, I was already fighting a weight problem and the medicine they gave me just might add to it. So they took fluid off my heart.”
But, when the guests reacted to her words with sighs of pity, she reminded them that the occasion was meant to be joyous, not sad. “No, don’t say ‘aww,’ ” she said. “because I’m here!”
Rae, who will perform with the Patty Reese band at the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival on May 22 and will open for Parker and Chuck Brown at the State Theatre on June 10, later explained what has kept her going throughout the ordeal.
“It’s like the old saying, music soothes the savage beast and it’s therapeutic for me,” she said.” I love the art. So, getting paid and having gigs, all of that is great but I love the art and I enjoy making people happy and giving them hope and giving myself some encouragement. It’s a ministry, you know what I mean?”
Memphis, who injured his back in a fall a few years ago, recalled that Rae had sung at a benefit for him. Their performance of “The Thrill is Gone” earlier in the evening was “a spur of the moment thing,” he said. “But we had done it several times together, you know, and we just do what we do,” he added.
Musicians overall said they were glad to help. “It’s a good thing to help somebody that’s in need,” said bassist Michael “Judge” Farrell, who joined Brooks and Lady Rose for sets. “Nadine had an accident. She doesn’t have medical insurance. It’s too bad. It’s unfortunate,” he said. ”So those of us who are more fortunate can share and spread around the wealth, help somebody out. It’s a good thing to do this.”