Good music for a good cause

By Sydni Anderson, Contributing writer

The 7th Annual Roots Music Concert, called Roots 7, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Lovett Auditorium. The concert, sponsored by the Murray State History Department, will feature two Nashville-based bands: Americana artist Derek Hoke and the award-winning Kenny and Amanda Smith Band. Derek Hoke is an Americana artist and self-taught guitarist, singer and composer who writes his own music. The Kenny and Amanda Smith Band is an acoustic based contemporary bluegrass band.

Ted Franklin Belue, senior lecturer of history, has been working the Roots concert since the beginning. He said the concept of the concert was to offer the community a chance to hear music that reflected a “historical interest.” Belue said they wanted to include music that focused on “Americana,” which embraces American music and the roots of American music. Previous concerts included bluegrass, western swing, Celtic music, and European Romani music. Belue said he asks performers to pause while they’re performing and explain the instruments they’re playing and talk about the pioneers of the genre they’re performing.

In addition to providing a concert to the public, Roots works with Murray-Calloway County Need Line to give back to the community. Although the concert is free, they encourage attendees to bring canned goods. The concert will collect these donations and give them to the local Need Line. Last year was the first time Roots accepted cans. The idea was Kathy Callahan’s, chairwoman of the Murray State history department.

“I thought, ‘why don’t we consider using Need Line,’” she said.  “Why don’t we ask people for canned goods?’”

  Callahan said she wondered how people could give back to the community without offering money.  She said it worked out well last year and the response was “overwhelmingly positive”.  She said Need Line covers a large region and many people depend on them for food.

“Some people brought sacks of cans and other people brought one.” She said. “There were around 300 cans collected.”

Tonia Casey, executive director of the Murray-Calloway County Need Line, said all donations from Murray State are greatly appreciated.

“We have over 900 hundred who came to Need Line last month who needed food,” she said.  “You can tell just by those numbers, that the donations from Roots last year made a great impact.”

She said it’s important that we come together as a community and Murray State does a great job of doing that.

“Food insecurity is scary,” Casey said. “If we can prevent hunger in our community, our community is going to be a brighter and better place to live.”

Belue said Roots is a great way to reach out.

“It’s for a great cause. It’s our department giving back to the community. It’s Murray State giving back to the community,” he said.