This article is a contribution from Gil Evans, bass player with Ohio’s Fossil Creek Band, and a regular guest on the Ol’ Hippie Bluegrass Show. He is also the brother of Florida bluegrass artist and promoter Ernie Evans. The two Evans boys have known Ernie Thacker since their youth. We know there has been a great deal of Thacker coverage of late, but sadly, there may not be much more. Please support this week’s fundraiser if you are able.
Ten years ago the bluegrass world had an uprising star, Ernie Thacker. Ernie was in the final stages of his album, The Hangman, for Pinecastle Records. This CD has some of the most powerful music featuring Ernie’s voice and amazing guitar playing.
Ernie was preparing to go on tour, which took a halt through an auto accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Recently, Ernie had a scheduled procedure that would hopefully stop this infection he had and help prolong his life, Osteomyelitis, an acute bone infection. Through all the traumatic experiences Ernie went through, he stayed true to his family and his music.
Ernie’s hopes of ridding his body of this infection was cut short when his doctors found that is was now in his spine. So the outcome was not good. The doctors told Ernie he needed get his affairs in order.
Ernie’s concerns, aren’t about himself, but how his wife Karen would pay for his funeral, and he didn’t want to burden her with this responsibility. Ernie reached out to his good friend, Ernie Evans of Evans Media Source and ask him if he could help him put together a fundraiser in hopes of generating enough money to help with his funeral bills.
Mr. Evans took this and ran with it. There have been several benefits which raised over $17,000, with one more upcoming at The Capital Theater in Greenville, TN on Friday, February 23rd. It’s being put on by Melanie Wilson of Wilson Pickins Promotions, with the help of Robert Hals and Mike Bentley, and Rhonda Humbert the Director of the Capital Theatre who donated the facility and so much more… oh and Ernie’s favorite BBQ, Hit The Pit BBQ. Award winning BBQ Chef Jeff McLeod of North Carolina, and MC Annette Grady of Bluegrass Jamboree will be there. Tickets are available at www.eventbrite.com
This past Thursday, Jerry Eicher of the Ol’ Hippie Bluegrass Show wanted to have an interview with Ernie about all the benefits, and give him a chance to thank everybody personally. After talking with Ernie, the Ol’ Hippies decided it would be great to invite him on a FaceBook live video feed, and do the show over the internet at worldwidebluegrass.com. Ernie was so excited about this. The live feed was to be a split screen of the Ol’ Hippies and Ernie while they did the show. This would let people see Ernie while he talked about his journey, and thank everyone for all they have done.
The evening prior to the show, I talked with Karen Thacker and she was worried Ernie’s about health, as he had taken a turn for the worse. But Ernie was determined to make this interview happen.
Thursday, the day of the show was so nerve-racking for the Ol’ Hippies because they were concerned about Ernie’s health, and wanted this to push Ernie’s Tennessee benefit over the top. The show aired at 7:00 p.m., and they started the show live around the world online. Things were initially rocky as they couldn’t immediately make the connection for the FaceBook live. But Karen figured out what was wrong, and we had Ernie on! Ernie’s words were so powerful talking about his journey, the past and future benefits, and his commitment to be the best person he could be. The hippies as well as so many others were watching and listening intensely. There were laughs, and sometimes it was tough holding back the tears. Ernie had talked about his singing career and his determination to head home, and his plans to do a new Gospel CD.
Ernie Thacker taught all of us an amazing lesson: We allow the tiny things in life to bother us so much, it keeps us from enjoying life and being happy. Here is a man that has gone through so much and still has hope to see himself doing so much in life. Watching this video is powerful.
The FaceBook show feed and the people who commented and watched were amazing. Shared by hundreds and watched by thousands, this show was a success in that it gave everyone in the music lovers world the opportunity to get to know an amazing person, Ernie Thacker.
Ernie Thacker, you have inspired so many with your huge heart and music. We are all here for you, and hope to see you compete that next song. All you DJs out there, we are asking to pull up the song, The Hangman, on AirPlay Direct and show your support for Ernie’s dream.