Friday, November 23, 2007

A Family that Understands Giving

Hillbreed has been playing music for longer than I've lived in West Virginia. I remember the first time I heard them--they were playing at the Ripley 4th of July celebration, and the kids were pretty young back then--I think the youngest son was less than 9 years old.

Today they're still playing, and they're still giving. Each year the family sponsors a program that collects toys and donations for needy children. The concert features other local musicians too, and it's a load of fun. Good music, lots of laughter, and best of all knowing the kids will benefit.

James Harrison, the patriarch of the family, has a great sense of humor that shines onstage, and even in print. Take this quote from today's Charleston Gazette article by Bill Lynch:

They’ve played everything from truck “hill climbs” to weddings and even one funeral.

“Just the one,” Harrison said. “We’d never do that again.”

Hillbreed was hired to play the funeral years ago. The deceased was a fan of the family’s music and wanted them at part of the services. Harrison said he wished they hadn’t agreed to do it and they’ve never wanted to do another.

“If you have to look across a casket while you’re playing,” he said, “and you have to look at a hardened criminal who has tears coming out his eyes, you know it’s pretty grim.” Now there's a story!

The Harrisons know the meaning of family, and understand the the giver often gains much more than they give. All that, and music too.

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