After Michael Shannon died in 2012, his father, Lindsay Shannon, owner of the blues club and restaurant B.B.’s Lawnside Bar-B-Q, decided the best way to pay tribute to his son would be to start a charity golf tournament in his name.
“He was a very avid golfer,” Shannon said. “We were out in North Carolina once … and he got to play Pinehurst (golf course). He shot in the 80s. It was a real thrill for him.”
The inaugural Mike Shannon Golf Classic was at Hillcrest Golf and Country Club in July 2012 in Kansas City. Proceeds went to the HART Fund in Memphis, which, through the Blues Foundation, provides medical assistance to blues musicians.
This year’s Michael Shannon Golf Classic is Sept. 9 at Hillcrest, and all proceeds will stay in Kansas City.
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This year the tournament has a companion music component. Thursday night at Knuckleheads, the Kansas City Blues Society will sponsor the first benefit for the Michael Shannon Music Fund, which will assist musicians in the Kansas City blues scene. Proceeds from the golf tournament will go to the Shannon fund.
Danny Powell, president of the Kansas City Blues Society, said that last fall he started talking to the tournament organizers about keeping the money in Kansas City.
“We talked about doing something here and setting up the fund so it helped local musicians and music industry professionals,” he said. “We approached Lindsay, and he said yes.
“But we knew that a lot of people who would want to contribute to the fund don’t play golf. This is how the event at Knuckleheads got started.”
Three acts will perform at the music benefit: Tom Hall with Max Berry and Rick Yord; Katy Guillen & the Girls; and the Bon Ton Soul Accordion Band. Also, the Amanda Fish Band will host an open jam. Musicians who show up at Knuckleheads with an instrument will be admitted for free. Otherwise, tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
Bill Fish, a Blues Society member (and father of musicians Samantha Fish and Amanda Fish), said there is a story behind the lineup.
“The first person we asked was Tom Hall,” he said. “We had a benefit for Tom three years ago, but he was too sick to show up. He was overjoyed to be able to help us. They will be doing the stuff Tom and Rick used to do with (the late) Greg Camp — the ‘Out of the Can’ CD, that kind of stuff.
“They will open it up, and we got Katy & the Girls to close because we figure they can really bring some people. Then Lindsay and I kicked around some ideas about who would be the big band.”
This year the Kansas City Blues Society will celebrate its 35th anniversary, and Fish said organizers wanted the music benefit to draw people who remember the scene and its players from those years.
“We want this fund to help musicians in town, and so many of them are elderly musicians who have given so much,” Fish said. “We wanted to include them and let them know about it. Lindsay said the Bon Ton band had been inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2014 and were out playing again and had a really good following. So, I asked Richard Lucente, and they were all over it.”
The Knuckleheads benefit also will include auctions and raffles. Shannon has donated about eight dozen items.
“I’m a collector,” he said. “I have saved a lot of stuff over the years, like a poster of a show probably 30 years ago from the National Guard Armory with Albert King and Otis Rush performing. I’ve got posters form the earliest days of the Blues Fest, back to 1982 and 1983. Plus I’ve got posters from the Grand Emporium, not posters off the wall — posters that were never used.
“And I’ve got a lot of photos taken from places like the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. I’ve got one of Buddy Guy from 1977, just as he arrived at the festival. And photos of a lot of people who played (at B.B.’s)”
The society, which is a nonprofit, set up a committee that oversees applications for funds from musicians. The committee includes an attorney, a social worker and a clinical psychologist, Powell said. That committee forwards its recommendations to the society’s board, which writes the check.
“The fund has been up and running for about six weeks,” Fish said. “It already has money from sponsors, and is ready to go. We’re really hoping for a big turnout. We think there’s a really big need for this (fund) in Kansas City.”
Information is available on the Blues Society website.
The benefit for the Michael Shannon Musicians Fund starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester Ave. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. The lineup: the Bon Ton Soul Accordion Band, Katy Guillen & the Girls, and Tom Hall with Max Berry and Rick Yord. The Amanda Fish Band will lead a musicians’ jam throughout the night. Any musician who shows up with an instrument for the jam will be admitted free.
The Mike Shannon Golf Classic is still accepting registrants. The event starts at noon Wednesday at Hillcrest Golf and Country Club, 8200 Hillcrest Road. For information, visit BluesSocietyKC.com