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Mark your calendar: Bay Street benefit
Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will play the Jekyll Island Bluegrass Festival

Hitman Blues Band drummer Marc Cordray is in desperate need of a kidney transplant, and they don’t come cheap.

A bunch of Cordray’s fellow musicians, including the Hitman group, Jan Spillane, Eric Culberson, Todd Murray (Sincerely, Iris), GE Perry and others are banding together this Thursday night (Dec. 15) at Bay Street Blues to play for Marc and, hopefully, drum up some donations for the cause.

“Keep the Beat” starts at 9 p.m.; there’s an event Facebook page with details on how you can contribute.

Jekyll Island bluegrass

Each year at this time, the announcement's made of the Jekyll Island Bluegrass Festival, which always takes place on New Years' Eve - and the days immediately preceding - inside the Convention Center on the island.

This is rather outside the norm for bluegrass festivals, because they're famous for that good old outdoor ambiance, conducive to RVs, cookouts and hot pickin' into the warm night. That's part of the charm of such events.

Clearly, they're doing something right on Jekyll Island, because this year's festival is the 36th annual, and it's always the best-attended musical gathering between here and the Florida border.

There's no reason to expect any different Dec. 29, 30 and 31, and the headliner - for the second year in a row - is the exceptional Dailey & Vincent, the International Bluegrass Music Association's Entertainers of the Year for three years running.

Next month, Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent will release a new album, The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent, their second one to be made available only at Cracker Barrel restaurants (the first, Dailey & Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers, entered Billboard's bluegrass chart at No. 1, and came it at No. 9 on the country chart).

It's music business marketing, new millennium-style: The breakfast restaurant knows its target market, and created its own record label to distribute new product by everyone from Kenny Rogers to the Oak Ridge Boys to George Jones.

The Jekyll Island bill also features Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, one of America's most beloved high-energy bluegrass groups. Rhonda (her brother is Darrin Vincent, of the above-named Dailey & Vincent) is also a white-hot mandolin player. She was named Female Vocalist of the Year for seven straight years by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

The lineup also includes Randy Wood Guitars perennials Little Roy Lewis & Lizzie Long, Cedar Hill, the Marksmen, Gary Waldrep, James King, David Parmley & Continental Divide and a whole bunch of others.

Get all the info you need at