Local band putting on hurricane relief concert
DARIEN — When Hurricane Harvey touched down in Texas, Nick DeMaio, founding member of local family band, Gunsmoke, begin to hear from a lot of his friends in places like San Antonio, Austin and Houston about how the storm was affecting them.
“We’ve been in touch with some of our friends down there and they’ve really been hit hard,” DeMaio said.
In addition to playing western swing and rockabilly music, DeMaio and the rest of Gunsmoke play a lot of classic and new country and know a lot of artists in Texas that were affected by the storm. As a result, the band decided to put together a concert to benefit the artists affected down there.
“When people think of country music, they always think of Nashville,” DeMaio said. “But a lot of western swing comes out of Texas, particularly in the San Antonio and Austin area. That’s a hotbed for music, especially western swing music.”
They were putting together the benefit when Florida got hit by Hurricane Irma and Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria. So the band decided to put on something for all hurricane victims. On Oct. 20 Gunsmoke, along with classic rock and soul band, “The Law” are playing at the Piedmont Club in Darien. All proceeds from the performance will go to the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse to assist with hurricane relief in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
The concert is sponsored by Music for Hope which DeMaio describes as the “charitable arm” of Gunsmoke. Founded in 2010, most Music for Hope concert proceeds have gone to benefit cancer patients. Through this, Gunsmoke has raised money for organizations like St. Jude’s and the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital.
“We’ve lost a lot of friends and family to cancer as almost everyone has,” DeMaio said. “This is the first time we’re doing something involving something that doesn’t go to cancer. These hurricanes have been off the chart there.”
DeMaio, along with his brother, Jeff, his daughter, Christina, his son, Nick and band member Van Mankas will perform as Gunsmoke from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Piedmont Club which they’ve partnered with many times in the past. There will be food and drink available and DeMaio said there may also be a raffle or auction to raise more money. Since the concert is being put together so quickly, DeMaio said he doesn’t have a fundraising goal in mind.
“Right now, the hurricanes on everybody’s mind,” DeMaio said. “We wanted to do this while it’s still big news.”
Tickets for the Music for Hope Hurricane Relief Concert are $15. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the show taking place from 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Food and drink will be available for purchase. The Piedmont Club is located at 152 Hecker Avenue in Darien. For tickets, call the Piedmont Club at 203-655-7884. To find out more about Gunsmoke, visit gunsmokeband.com.