I’m a typical musician – nothing inspires me more than something new, something I’ve never heard before. And that extends beyond the latest new riff to an area where all of us have seen the same old thing over and over – the benefit for a worthy cause.
Well, here in Petaluma, the “benefit” has been changed. And we’re going to all have a chance to participate in raising money, in this case for the people of Haiti, in a new way.

Ken O’Donnell, guiding force of McNears Restaurant and the Mystic Theater in downtown Petaluma had an idea that I’m certain will revolutionize community benefit responses across the country.

That idea is this: to mobilize the dining and entertainment establishment of an entire community in a concerted effort to raise funds – with everyone donating, everyone cooperating, everyone sharing in the vision, everyone contributing.

We’re going to see this new idea in action on the evening of Thursday February 18 — over 20 local restaurants are coming together and donating 10% of their sales to the cause. You can see more about this at http://www.restaurantshelpinghaiti.com/

At the Mystic, this is a “by donation” evening of music – which means that you are invited to come and donate what you can — everyone is welcome, and the evening show is all ages — so you can bring your family. There is also going to be a silent auction — so bring some extra cash! All proceeds are going to Doctors without Borders – which in my opinion is one of the best organizations on the scene in Haiti – doctors dealing with the very immediate health crisis that has continued as a result of the incomprehensible disaster there.

The doors will open at 6:30 and music will begin at 7:30.

Musicians performing include: Hot Buttered Rum Trio (Nat Keefe, Aaron Redner & Eric Yates), members of Poor Man’s Whiskey (Simon Kurth, George Smeltz), Tommy Castro, Sean Hayes, Jeff Miller (New Monsoon), Jeffrey Halford, Arann Harris & The Sonoma Winter Roots Band (members of Brothers Comatose, Mr. December, Toast Machine, The Easy Leaves, Green String Farm Band), Tim Eschlimen, Bonnie Hayes, Jesse De Natale, and The Incubators.

There is a definite collaborative effort going on with the musicians as well — you can expect to hear some “Hot Buttered Whiskey” or maybe some “Poor Man’s Rum.”

And come’on! Bonnie Hayes? She’s worth the price of admission just by herself. Mark your calendar — this is a must attend community event — and plan on eating dinner out!