The Mack, Jack, and McConaughey fundraiser wrapped its second night of festivities this past Friday night with the “Jack Ingram & Friends” concert at ACL Live at Moody’s Theatre. The fundraising trio of Mack Brown, Jack Ingram and Matthew McConaughey was joined by special guest emcee (and part-time Austinite, seemingly), Jimmy Kimmel, for a night of intimate performances by some of country music’s biggest singer-songwriters. Now in its third year, MJ&M is proving to be a solid force for charitable good in the Austin community, with early estimates showing a grand total of about $1.5 million raised!
Jimmy Kimmel opened the night with his typical cool and humorous style, taking lighthearted jabs at the hosts and then listing off what seemed like every place he ate while in town for SXSW. It’s good to see I’m not alone in having my healthy eating challenged – nay, ridiculed – by Austin’s epicurean delights.
When Mack, Jack and Matthew hit the stage, the bond between them is evident. This is a group of guys that seem to really enjoy being around each other and have a genuine passion for the causes they support. The three joined forces to auction off a word carving and a guitar signed by all of the evening’s performers, raising an additional $25,000 in about 10 minutes. All funds raised this year will benefit CureDuchenne, Dell Children’s Hospital, HeartGift, just keep livin Foundation and The Rise School of Austin.
Jack kicked off the musical performances and set the tone for the night with his voice and his guitar; this would be an evening about singer-songwriters and their music. The official list of performers to take the stage included Willis Alan Ramsey, Jon Randall, Jessi Alexander, Keith Gattis, Will Hoge, Bobby Pinson, Allen Shamblin, Bruce Robison, Holly Williams, Christopher Coleman and Butch Walker.
Personal highlights for the evening included Allen Shamblin performing his song “If I Can’t Make You Love Me,” made famous by Bonnie Raitt; Jon Randall and wife Jessi Alexander performing “Whiskey Lullaby,” a song Randall co-wrote and which was then performed by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss; and Holly Williams (as in the first family of country music Williams) performing her own song, “Waiting on June.”
As fans, we don’t always appreciate that the songs we’re hearing are, more times than not, written by someone other than the person that’s performing. This night was special because we got a chance to see the vessels from which these songs were poured perform them in their own styles, and with their own voices. Hearing the stories that inspired the songs also gave them new dimension; like hearing each song again with fresh ears and for the first time.
A night of incredible performances closed in the same special fashion that it had carried on. Jack grabbed his guitar and played “Goodnight Moon,” unplugging and stepping in front of the microphone for the last, gentle chorus, as if to wish the crowd “sweet dreams.”
By Mike Kordell
Feature image courtesy MJ&M