Jackson Browne, Grace Potter, Sara Watkins, Dawes and more will pay tribute to Linda Ronstadt at a benefit concert Dec. 11 at Los Angeles' Ace Hotel. All proceeds from the show, "The Bluegrass Situation Presents: A Tribute to the Music of Linda Ronstadt," will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
Ronstadt, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, best known for such hits as "Blue Bayou," "You're No Good," "When Will I Be Loved," "That'll Be the Day" and "Hurt So Bad," announced her own battle with Parkinson's in August 2013 in an interview with AARP. She also sadly informed the world that she "could not sing a note" anymore.
But her music clearly remains an influence to both longtime friends like Browne and Maria Muldaur and fans such as Dawes and Potter. "I used to dig through my parents' record collection and gush over Linda Ronstadt records," Potter tells Billboard. "I remember listening to her and sensing she was not just a pretty gal singing great songs. I felt like she was speaking directly to me through the music, because it's not only her voice; it's her presence. She showed up at a time when the world needed a proper woman. She is forever woven into the fabric of rock 'n' roll history, and I can't think of a better cause or a more worthy human to be honored in such a special way. I am so proud to be a part of this meaningful tribute."
For Muldaur, who has been friends with Ronstadt for 50 years, the event is much more personal. "I've known Linda Ronstadt since 1966, and in these 50 years, we've shared so much as sisters in music," she says. "It is heart-wrenching to think that this mysterious ailment known as Parkinson's disease has robbed us of her gorgeous, enthralling voice, but I'm happy to report firsthand that it has done nothing to diminish her spirit and keen mind, and I marvel, deeply touched, by the incredible grace and courage with which she faces this challenge. I'm honored to participate in this celebration of Linda's music, which will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research to speed a cure for Parkinson's disease, which can't come a moment too soon."
The concert is being put on by the Bluegrass Situation, Redlight Management and Goldenvoice. Both Bluegrass Situation and Redlight spoke about why this is the right time to pay tribute to Ronstadt.
"In a time when fierce female artists rule the airwaves, and the blending and crossing of genres is now the norm, there's one woman who helped start it all. Linda Ronstadt is simply a legend, and we believe her music should be celebrated now, by the people who love and have been influenced by her most, while we can tell her directly," Amy Reitnouer, Bluegrass Situation executive director, says.
"Linda's widespread influence has touched artists and fans across the globe, and simply put she is in a class by herself," Jonathan Shank, Red Light Management, and the show's executive producer, adds. "Amy Reitnouer and Bluegrass Situation have always presented first-class events, and her vision for this is no different. Our goal is to raise funding and awareness for Parkinson's research via MJFF, while honoring Linda and her career spanning music with new friends and old. It's an absolute honor to be involved and help bring together such an amazing group of folks to celebrate Linda and her incredible, enduring legacy."
It is especially fitting that, as Reitnour says, they can honor Ronstadt while she is aware of the show. For longtime fans such as Sean and Sara Watkins, that is part of the reason to be part of the event.
"Linda Ronstadt's singing is monumental. Her work with the Stone Poneys, solo records, and her many collaborations spanning four decades has proven to be epically influential," they said in a statement. "On December 11th, we, along with a diverse lineup of very special guests, will come together to celebrate her musical career andthe affect her unique and powerful musicianship had andcontinues to have on all of us."
Tickets go on sale this Friday, Oct. 14, via AXS. There's a special presale starting Wednesday, Oct. 12, for all American Express card members. Gold Circle & VIP packages will also be available.