Charlotte, North Carolina (May 22, 2018) – Tonight’s show at a rooftop venue, Rooftop 210, had a spectacular view of the skyscrapers that adorn the city of Charlotte, NC, provided a great atmosphere for the Music Movement charity event, featuring country artists, Billy Dawson, and Lee Brice.
Music Movement is a 100% volunteer charity, founded by Stacie Woolf in 2011, that has a focus on raising money to fund music therapy for kids with autism. Through the help of corporate sponsors like, Vertical Bridge, B&T Group, Crown Castle, Kelly Communications, Verticom, Stout & Company, CCSI, Neutral Connect, Repeater Communications Group, and American Tower, the charity is able to put on events around the country to help raise awareness and money to help provide their great services. Sometimes they even get to pair up the program’s participants with some of today’s top musicians to do things like record a song in a professional studio – providing once in a lifetime opportunities.
With a special invite from Billy himself, who is also an ambassador for Music Movement, to come up early, I spent the day with him and his wife, Lacy, watching as things were set up, being introduced to many people who had a hand in helping organize the event, learning what the charity is all about and so much more. As the event time drew near the crowd started to gather; waitresses passed through with drinks and food, while DJ Dirty (Chad) played some dance-infused 90’s country in the background. With the sun setting and the city lights taking over, tonight’s first band took the stage.
The Band Plan is a group of musicians who hold jobs within the many companies who sponsor the event. Coming together for an evening of fun and to show support, they opened the show with some classic favorites. Songs such as Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds“, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy“, and Tom Petty’s “Stop Dragging My Heart Around“, grabbed the crowd’s attention and set up a great mood for the night. The group took time between songs to elaborate on the reason everyone was in attendance and provided some background knowledge as well.
As the band’s set came to a close, some of the Music Movement staff took to the stage.
Stacie Woolf and Bill D’Agostino Jr. took time to express thanks to everyone in attendance and both explained why it’s important to give back to those in need and help others. During this time Stacie and Bill were joined by Alex Gellman and Michael Belski from tonight’s title sponsor company, Vertical Bridge, who presented the group with a check as a donation to the charity. Also, joining the group on stage was race car driver, Parker Chase, who as one of the newest sponsors of the charity, provided a donation check as well.
Up next to perform was iHeart Radio Get Discovered winner, and Nashville Independent Artist of the Year, Billy Dawson doing an acoustic set. Billy is also credited with being Amazon’s Best-Selling Children Author, for his book, You Never Know. Full of lighthearted moments and lots of joking, Billy entertained the crowd with some fan-favorite covers like “Sweet Child of Mine“, and “Boys of Summer“, mixed between a set of his own material.
Performing songs from his self-titled album were fun upbeat tunes like “Hot With Your Hair Down“, with a good time summer feel, had the crowd tapping their feet while he engaged the crowd to sing along. Billy joked that there are too many songs about country guys with their trucks as he sang “4 Wheel Drive Me Crazy“, saying this was for the women and their trucks.
Billy’s music also touches on real life; things people can relate to. Songs like “Twenty Once (Too)“, and a new song, “Holy Bible, Holy Jeans“, hold a sense of honesty left out of most of today’s music. Also on the list of songs for tonight were Billy’s current single, “Church Without Jesus“, which he co-wrote with his wife Lacy, and another new song, “Feel Good Baby“, that will be a new single to be released later this year.
A standout moment for the set was when Billy called a special guest, Will Jennings, to join him on stage. Explaining how Music Movement works with others like Will to help in music therapy, the crowd was excited to see him join in on a couple of songs. Will had been eager to play since soundcheck earlier in the day, so he quickly took his spot behind the drums as he and Billy broke into Tom Petty‘s “I Won’t Back Down“, and “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban. It was all smiles on stage between the two as the crowd cheered on; Will never missing a beat.
Before leaving the stage Billy had a surprise for Will – he presented him with a year of free music lessons. Brooke Warren and Roger Hodges also joined in as they had heard that Will was a big fan of the Disney movie, Camp Rock, featuring Joe Jonas (Jonas Brothers) and Demi Lovato. Having worked closely with those artists they were able to provide Will with some autographed memorabilia as well.
After the presentation, Roger Hodges was given an unplanned moment to showcase a song of his as well titled “Lucky Me” With co-writing credits to Nashville artist Randall Clay and Danny Warsnop, of the band, Asking Alexandria, the song had an easily catchy hook and upbeat feel. The crowd took to the song well and could be heard singing the chorus lines before the songs end.
Before Lee Brice took to the stage as tonight’s headliner, Jeni Dominelli spoke about the organization she founded, The Beat of Life, which provides “therapeutic songwriting and music programs to Nashville’s most vulnerable, challenged and hurting populations“. Jeni spoke of a partnership with Music Movement as Stacie Woolf presented her with a donation towards her efforts of humanitarian work.
With Brice’s hit song, “Hard 2 Love“, he and the band, The Love Cannons, featuring Reggie Bradley (keys), Travis Bettis (guitar), Donnie Milsap (drums), and Paul Rippee (bass), took to satisfying the crowd who had been waiting in anticipation for his show. From the first song, it was evident that the two-time CMA/ACM/Grammy Song of The Year-nominated artist was out to make sure this evening ended on the same high energy as the rest of the evening had been.
Following up with “That Don’t Sound Like You“, and “Woman Like You“, fans fed off the energy coming from the stage. Lee filled the night with a set list of songs from each of his albums, Lee Brice, Hard 2 Love, and Love Like Crazy, much to the crowds liking. From one song to the next you could feel the positiveness spread across the rooftop venue. Songs like “Beer“, and “Drinking Class” were fun songs that were balanced by Lee’s hits, “I Drive Your Truck“, and “Love Like Crazy“, that showcased a softer side with deep meaningful lyric content. The song, “Boy” is one that hit home with me, a song about the reality of raising a son.
Throughout the night Lee took moments to express gratitude for being a part of the evening’s charity event. Mid-set the band surprisingly broke into a blues jam that everyone seemed to enjoy; with Travis throwing in some slick guitar licks and some smooth organ work from Reggie. Later in the set Donnie did a drum solo to the crowd’s delight. An evening of excitement was accompanied with Lee’s closing hit, “Parking Lot Party“, where he changed the words to “rooftop party” at one point in the song. With fans calling for more music, Lee returned to the stage for an intimate acoustic performance of “I Don’t Dance“, closing out the night.
Having never been to a charity event of this magnitude I can say it was truly a humbling experience. To see all the hard work throughout the day from so many people offering their volunteered time just wanting to help out was a great thing. It was really great to see artists participate – using their talent to give back to those in need is a great thing. The support from those in attendance was phenomenal as well. A huge thanks go to Billy Dawson and his wife, Lacy, for including me in all of the today’s happenings.