Locals will have their chance to hear the music behind country legends like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash when Kenny Hess and his award-winning band bring The Songs That Wrote Country Music to 100 Mile House.
The event takes place on Saturday, June 1 at 100 Mile’s Community Hall, 240 3rd St., starting at 7 p.m.
Country Music Hall-of-Famer Hess will perform in the community with his special guest and daughter, Becca. Hess was born in Saskatchewan but has established an award-winning career performing as an opening act for renowned country artists like Willie Nelson.
Hess will offer his audience an entertaining showcase of country music along with stories that help to elucidate the longstanding impact of the industry’s most iconic songwriters.
Ken Mills provides security services to Hess, but is also the organizer behind the event in 100 Mile, where he is a resident. Mills thinks the younger generation is starting to listen to older country music and appreciate the era.
He says that if locals miss The Songs That Wrote Country Music, “They’re gonna be missing one of the best shows that’s ever come to this town. ”
Hess was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015. Mills calls him one of the best entertainers you’ll find.
“Really, he is. He’s great with people. He can sing anything you want, but he really does a hell of a good job with the old music.”
Becca is the CEO of the Rocking River Music Festival, owned by the Hess family.
“She’s a hell of a singer,” said Mills. “Unbelievable voice, and him and her do a couple of songs together.”
Mills said that the town of 100 Mile House is unlikely to see better entertainers.
“Becca will come on first and she’ll probably do close to an hour, then there will be a break and Kenny will come on and will do a two-hour show.”
The event is adults only and will be “soda pop-friendly”, which means alcoholic beverages are available for a nominal fee.
“Kenny’s a personal friend of mine,” said Mills, who hopes to bring Hess back for a bigger show next year: “We might even look at having something in the park next year.”
A portion of the show’s profits will be donated to B.C. Children’s Hospital. Hess performed last year in 100 Mile to support the Women’s Centre.
Mills promises another good show this year.
“The folks will be entertained. This is top star quality right out of Nashville. In Mission a few weeks ago he was actually so overwhelmed with people that he actually did two shows back to back.”
Mills has even performed himself in the past and said, “That’s the beauty of the Cariboo, there is so much entertainment here. By bringing a class act like [Hess] to town, I hope it inspires the younger crowd to get involved. I’m the president of the Legion here and we’re always looking for new talent to come up and play there.”
Mills hopes to see the Community Hall jammed on Saturday, but says Kenny will perform for one person, if need be.
“There will be an area at the side and people can dance,” says Mills. “He’ll get you going in five minutes. Kenny will sit there and tell a little story. He does a couple songs with his daughter Becca and there’s a story behind it. It will almost make you cry.”
Hess worked as a staff writer in Nashville for years.
“Country’s very much in my veins,” he said.
“I’ve had the great pleasure of sharing the stage with George Jones, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard… all these wonderful artists. We decided we should do a tribute and tell them about the great songs,” explained Hess.
Hess explained that he has been blessed to hear the stories behind many iconic country songs and these stories inspired him to create the tour: “People sometimes don’t remember the artist, but they always remember the song.”
“I don’t care if they’re ninety, in fact, if you’re ninety, you need to come and see this show.”
“I’m glad we’re coming back,” says Hess, who explains that all shows on the tour are donating a portion of the proceeds to charity. “It’s kind of our give back and gets the community’s involved. It’s a great way of doing it. We’ve been very blessed to do what we do so if we can share a little bit with the less fortunate, then perfect.”
Tickets for The Songs That Wrote Country Music are available for purchase at Donex, GBR, and Red Rock Grill in 100 Mile House. Alternatively, individuals can purchase their $30 tickets by contacting Ken at 250-706-9874.