Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Big Kenny has a big heart
. . . .

Big Kenny has a big heart

Anne Stanton - August 3rd, 2009
Big Kenny has a Big Heart...
...for the children in Darfur

By Anne Stanton 8/3/09

It’s one of those, “Isn’t it a small world” stories. Bart Lewis of Honor was in Nairobi two years ago at a private plane hangar on assignment with the Kenyan tourist bureau to find “good stories.” He noticed a film crew milling around and a guy standing alone with long hair and an oddball top hat.
The celebrity—at least he guessed he was a celebrity—was wearing a vest that said, “Love everybody.” After talking to the camera crew, he learned the man was named Big Kenny, a country western singer who was there to provide supplies to the war weary people in Darfur and set up a new school.
A few days later, when Lewis was back in the states, something clicked in his head, and he turned on the television to the Country Music Awards. There was the same guy, singing and playing guitar in a super-charged duet performance.
“It was Big Kenny on stage with his partner, John Rich. Their band, Big and Rich, was up for album of the year. As it turns out, Kenny’s a very successful country Western band. Very high energy.”

CLOSER TO HOME
Now Lewis, who has kept in contact with Big Kenny, can see him perform closer to home. The duo is playing at the Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel in Williamsburg on August 6 at 9 p.m.
During the concert, the audience will be sure to see Big Kenny’s motto, “Love Everybody” on most everything he owns, because that’s what he lives by. His “heart” has motivated him to help build and equip a new school in Akon, Sudan, which now educates more than 500 children (he and his wife work with a Boston-based group called My Sister’s Keeper), he said in a phone interview.
Big Kenny recently returned from a trip where he took three planes—one with 13 doctors, nuns and teachers, one filled with school supplies, and another with a crate of pharmaceuticals “because they just went through horrific cholera.” He gained more film footage from the trip, and hopes to edit the past four years of film to show others how good things can be done to help the world’s children.
“Instead of crying, pissing and complaining, I’d just as soon do something. Use my energy to accomplish something positively.
“I can’t see stuff like that and not try to do something to give them a little hope. I firmly believe that in being engaged in it, and watching lives get saved and children get an education, makes the world a better place… I’d much rather make friends everywhere right now when you can still talk to them, than send our sons and daughters and teens to kill them ten years from now because they are rising up out of despair.
Kenny said that if his son were ever in the same situation as the children of Darfur, he’d hope someone would come and help him out too.
“I just can’t get it out of my head. Some people can, but I’m not one of them. And it’s cool, it’s fun, it’s awesome man. It’s so great to go in a place like that where they’ve lived in war for so many years, just a few years out of civil war, and see the kids pick themselves up from where they lived—nothing more than reed grass, a sickle knife, and a bag of beans. And you see such joy in the kids’ eyes. Such great inspiration. They’d never heard anyone sing songs from a guitar. Music is a common denominator.”

ROCKING OUT
And speaking of music, Big Kenny said to expect “an absolutely stomping concert form beginning to end.”
“The thing that’s different about this year is that everyone was so raring to get up and play again; the band’s never been tighter. We are doing all the hits and breaking them up with solo songs. I’ve got a new one, ‘Long After I’m Gone.’ The video is out; it’s about where I grew up. The farm’s been in my family for eight generations. My dad is still running a herd of cattle. We’ve got music out there, and it’s really exciting and fun to play.”
Big Kenny is also drawing on his boyhood days with a solo album this fall, The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy.
“These are exciting times for me. I’ve got my independence a solo artist from Warner so I’m going to release in a partnership using my favoritest friends I’ve met throughout the business over the last couple of decades. I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had.
“And the future looks great. You can write a song and put it out on the Internet tomorrow for everyone to hear. That’s so beautiful to see, and I’m feeling so blessed.”
Big Kenny said to expect a fantastic concert next week.
“In these times, we really appreciate when people are coming out and spending their hard-earned money. We want them to leave feeling that they just heard a tremendous concert; that their life is so much better somehow.”
As for Bart Lewis, he and Big Kenny have connected since meeting at Nairobi. Lewis works for National GEO, which is involved in missionary work. Big Kenny can’t help but inspire people, he said.
“He’s a really great story,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t fit any image one might have. His partner, John Rich, supported John McCain and wrote a song for him and was on McCain’s campaign trail, whereas Kenny just believes in doing good. He’s got a whole breadth to him.”

Tickets, from $40 to $70, are available at the Leelanau Sands and Turtle Creek Casinos, Meijer, www.casino2win.com, or by calling 800-585-3737.



 
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