With a little help from their friends
Kelly McCracken got a call on Feb. 27 that no one wants to receive.
McCracken, a Warren native who is lead singer of the band The Kellys, was at work at Bouquet, a wine bar in Covington, Ky., a couple of blocks from her home when, “My neighbor called the restaurant and told me the house was on fire and the fire trucks were already there,” she said. “I got home as fast as I could in a panic, only to be able to stand there in tears watching the place go up in flames. Thankfully, the firemen got our dogs out in time. They were crated and only a few feet from the door. My cat, on the other hand, was not so lucky. She was on the second floor sleeping and I’ve convinced myself she did not suffer at all.”
McCracken shared the home with her spouse, Kelly Noe, who is pregnant with their first child.
“The fire ripped through our living room and kitchen and up through the walls to the second floor,” McCracken said. “We walked through after they concluded that the area was secure, and it looked like a war zone. What wasn’t torched by flames was either melted from the heat or covered in thick black soot that could never be removed. It was heartbreaking. Baby things that Kelly and I have acquired over the last few months were gone. Our furniture, clothes, jewelry, and pictures were all gone. It happened so quickly.”
On Saturday their friends and McCracken’s fellow musicians will help out Saturday at Cedars West End in Youngstown for a benefit called “The Concert For The (2) Kellys.”
The event will feature performances by Courtney Waskin, Shiloh Hawkins and Paul Hill of Blue Through Branches, The Silver Larks (featuring Chris Rutushin of Radio Lark, Rick Deak of The Barflies, Dylan Kollat of J.D. Eicher & The Goodnights and Daniel Drummond) and performances by Nick Rossi and Matt Holko of The Kellys.
During this time of loss, McCracken is happy that their friends have come to their aid. In addition to Saturday’s event, benefits were held earlier this month at Club 441 in Warren and in Cincinnati.
“Both were loaded with positive energy and good vibes from everyone, while raising money for our cause,” McCracken said. “Also, a good friend, Michele Hobbs, created a website on youcare.com, so that people may donate to a site, and it goes directly to us. The money they raised will be used to furnish our new home and provide for our baby on the way. Words cannot express the level of gratitude that we have for everyone involved. Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough. With everyone’s help, we will slowly, but surely, be able to pick up the pieces and rebuild. We’re so thankful for these people.”
McCracken said that she is amazed at the amount of support from her friends in Youngstown in planning this upcoming event at Cedars West End.
“Chris Rutushin and the guys from my band The Kellys have stepped up to put it all together and the response is overwhelming,” she said. “I’ve known (Cedars West End owners) Mara Simon and Billy Danielson from years ago when The Kellys were just starting to play out. The fact that they are opening their doors for us is so comforting. I know Shiloh Hawkins, Kristen McLennan and Courtney Waskin are putting in some hours to make this happen as well. It’s astounding that such a tragedy can bring people together with love and support. I’m still in awe over it all.”
Rutushin said he heard about McCracken’s and Noe’s tragedy and right away he felt the need to put a concert together for them.
“I have a lot of musician friends to put an event together,” he said. “I felt compelled to do something. I wanted to do something selflessly. Friends look out for one another and I know they would do something like this for me. I’ve been in low spots in my life and I had a lot of friends help me out.”