Brothers and Sisters of the Dirt: The Tulsa Brandon Jenkins Benefit
Last Sunday, March 18th, a special benefit was held in Tulsa at The Shrine in honor of the Red Dirt Legend Brandon Jenkins after he passed away from complications of heart surgery.
"This benefit was originally put together before Brandon went into the hospital, then when he passed, it progressed to a memorial benefit. To be honest, that was tough. I can only speak for myself in that the event itself was very healing for me; so much love and music in that room. The highlight was that so many of Brandon's family was in attendance," said Jean Wiles, who helped coordinate the silent auction for the benefit
"There was in excess of $10,000 raised. I thought the entire event went great. There was such an outpouring of love. The Red Dirt Community is very close and tight. We had so many people that wanted to help and donate items, I was a bit overwhelmed," said Wiles.
"This event became bitter sweet after losing Brandon and it took all I could do to keep working on it but then we would get a donation and the love from this red dirt family would lift me up," said Leatha Pierce, who also helped coordinate the silent auction. "Listening to Brandon’s fellow musicians sing his songs and spending time with his sweet mom got me through."
'Wilma, aka Momma Jenkins, said she was not sure she would be able to come to the event emotionally. She said once she got there, she was surrounded by all of Brandon's Red Dirt Family, and felt all the love and support. She stayed until the very end of the event. She is amazing," said Wiles.
The ladies, along with everyone else involved would like to thank Brad James for putting this together and Donnie Rich for providing Venue sound engineer and doorman for the day. Guitar house of Tulsa for guitar to raffle and Janie Harris from hideaway Pizza for feeding all musicians and donations to both raffle and silent auction along with hours of working the event! Also Becky and Lambrusco’s for donation and helping feed all musicians and event staff. Thanks to Mr. Nice' Guys food truck who stayed at the event all day and donated all the money they made to the benefit, including tips, which was over $500. Thanks to everyone who donated items to the silent auction, there are way too many donors to list!
It was a very emotional day for many of us there, but I believe that this is the area where the Red Dirt Family really shines. During any kind of crises or loss, this scene pulls together and gives everything they got, heart and soul, for each other. We are one big family, and when we lose a member of that family, we call feel it.
The place was definitely jam packed with people, so many came out to show the Jenkins' family some love. There were also so many different kinds of Brandon Jenkins t-shirts filling the room, it was heartwarming to see.
I asked Rick Owens to write up the official review of the event, and this is what he had to say:
Sunday, March 18th was both a sad and joyous day at the Venue Shrine in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Brothers and Sisters of the Dirt show was organized for Brandon Jenkins about the same time he went in to the hospital for heart surgery. The Red Dirt community always rallies around one another in times of need. Our music family is always there for it's brothers and sisters. The organizers worked very hard gathering donations for raffles and silent auctions, musicians set aside time to bring their craft to life, and fans bought tickets for the show. It was not known at the time this event was born, that it would also serve as a memorial service as well.
I am proud to have attending this event, it was organized, constructed, and executed exactly how Brandon would have wanted. Friends and fans, gathered together to enjoy the music, the drinks, and the funny odor lingering in the air. So many smiles helped elevate the heavy hearts that come with the territory of losing a friend. Everyone from newly founded fans of the music, to people who've followed Brandon for years were in attendance. I am most proud of getting to tell and hear stories from Wilma Jenkins, Brandon's mother. I had not met her before this event, and our meeting was so special, I now have another Jenkins story to tell.
During the event, I was approached by a sweet lady who told me that she loved my shirt and asked where I got it. I replied that I was given the artwork, and had them printed up to raise money for the Jenkins family, and would she like to buy one? She responded "well, I'm Brandon's mother..." and frankly I was a bit taken aback. She was so sweet and funny, and it was clear right away where Brandon had learned much of his demeanor. The tee shirt featured a headshot of Brandon, surrounded by the letters WW D, as in "What Would Jenkins Do?" Wilma laughed and said "you wouldn't always want to know what Brandon would do!" as she let out a knowing laugh. It both filled and melted my heart.
So that's about all I can say about it right now, as I'm typing through the emotions. The show at the Venue Shrine was our way to say goodbye to the Red Dirt Legend. But because of his music, his spirit, and his legacy, we will always have a part of him at hand.
Godspeed and God bless, my friends. When it comes to life and love, you've got to get down in the mud.
ps... you can still order Brandon's merchandise through his website to help show your support www.brandonjenkins.com or you can make donations through the Red Dirt Relief Fund at www.reddirtrelieffund.org