Big Kenny’s Charitable Efforts Span the Globe
Big & Rich's 'Big' Kenny Alphin is taking a break from music while he recuperates from the neck-fusion surgery he underwent recently. But he's still hard at work in support of numerous charitable causes dear to his heart.
Big Kenny's planning a second airlift of educational and medical supplies to the village of Akon in the Sudan. And to help finance the effort, he's organized Nashville4Africa, a fundraising concert with Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Dierks Bentley and others set to perform.
The dangerous conditions in the war-torn Sudan, and the difficulty in getting the necessary permission from the African government have been a major deterrent for many who consider helping out, but Kenny remains committed to the cause.
"It's a lot of work - a lot of people to [coordinate with], a lot of customs to go through," he tells GAC. "Every one of 'em, it gets worse and worse once you travel outside of the United States, how their honor systems might work, or how much you're gonna have to pay somebody just to carry a camera. But it's worth it. I'm seeing lives change, and there's just nothing cooler than that."
The Nashville4Africa concert will take place April 22 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, and will also feature 3 Doors Down vocalist Brad Arnold, Christian singer Ashley Cleveland, the African Children's Choir and Damien Horne, a Music City musician who accompanied Big Kenny on his first trip to the Sudan.
Closer to home, Kenny has joined with Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea and Sheryl Crowi, to launch Music Saves Mountains, an effort to end mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee and across Appalachia.
"The beauty of the Appalachian Mountains has inspired countless songs in country, bluegrass, gospel and folk music, and we must do everything possible to protect them," Kenny tells CMT. "This campaign was founded out of the respect musicians -- and especially people from Appalachia -- have for our beloved mountains. We're calling on everyone to help keep the 'country' in country music."
The musicians are asking the public to contact Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, sending the message to support the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act. The measure would prohibit mountaintop coal mining within 100 feet of streams and rivers, and protect mountains over 2,000 feet high in Tennessee from being leveled. Tennessee currently has at least four active and 13 proposed mountaintop removal sites.