Bands play benefit for bluegrass musician

Area bluegrass musicians will come to the aid of one of their own with a benefit concert Saturday at Austintown Township Park.

Jim Metz, who’s played with a variety of area bluegrass bands over the last 50 years, is battling ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a neurodegenerative disease that causes paralysis.

Bill Gore, organizer of the event, described Metz as a multi-talented musician.

“He had a love for the banjo,” Gore said. “After he was in bluegrass music for years, he started to get involved in the fiddle, dobro, guitar, mandolin — he could play all of them. He could play anything you’d want to play.”

Metz grew up playing music with Grammy winner and Leavittsburg native Jerry Douglas, Gore said. With the bluegrass quartet Clear Fork, he appeared on ”Garrison Keillor’s American Radio Company” and National Public Radio’s ”Mountain Stage” as well as performing with such acts as Bill Monroe, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Peter Rowan, Ralph Stanley, Del McCoury, New Grass Revival, Chet Atkins and the Seldom Scene.

Gore said Jerry Douglas won’t be able to attend on Saturday, but his father, John Douglas, who played locally in the West Virginia Travelers, will be there. Local bands scheduled to perform include Echo Valley, Rural Free Delivery, Family Pride, Caney Creek, Border Ride, Limited Edition, Beaver Creek and Wildwood Express.

The music will run from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at the park, 6000 Kirk Road. There will be a 50/50 raffle, Chinese auction and bake sale with all proceeds being used to help cover Metz’s medical expenses.

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