By Tad Dickens | 777-6474
Gary “Lt. Dan” Sinise has some soul in his bones. He’s got some pop, rock and hillbilly in there, too.
Bass guitar-pumping Sinise and the rest of his Lt. Dan Band cooked up a little bit of it all Thursday night at the Blue Mountain Festival Grounds, near Martinsville. They rocked, rolled, funked and honky-tonked for a crowd estimated at 2,000, gathered to help their wounded Marine neighbor get a specially designed house by the Ararat River.
“Let’s give it up for Cpl. J.B. Kerns,” Sinise said in a shout-out to the Marine who lost parts of an arm and both legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. The crowd went nuts as Kerns soaked up the moment from offstage.
The audience had plenty of musical moments to shout for, too, as the Lt. Dan Band ran through about two hours, showing wide musical versatility. And Sinise, whose acting career continues with “CSI: NY,” was at the bottom of it all, pumping solid bass lines, never missing a note and bringing thick tone from his Fender bass.
Sinise, whose Lt. Dan Taylor role in the movie “Forrest Gump” gained him an Oscar nomination and the admiration of soldiers all over the nation, has used that character recognition for good with his band, a USO tour regular.
Since last year, the band has been working to build state-of-the-art “smart homes” for Kerns and other wounded American soldiers.
His Gary Sinise Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation are teaming with Martinsville-area businesses to build the house. They have purchased land and are in fundraising mode to build the house.
This party was a high-energy start to that campaign, in a beautiful spot. The 12-piece act kicked off the set with The Police’s “Synchronicity.” It jammed funky favorites such as Earth Wind and Fire’s “September” and Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” singer Jeff Vezain leading the way and horns blasting.
Fiddle man and vocalist Dan Meyers powered up Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Lt. Dan Band co-founder and rhythm guitarist Kimo Williams turned in a spooky vocal on Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”
Singers Molly Callahan and Julie Dutchak wailed on the Aretha Franklin classic “You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)”, hugging up on an overalls-clad fellow they brought onstage.
The crowd jumped and clapped for The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” — the opening theme for “CSI: NY.” Clips from the show played as the band bashed out the song.
The show, rescheduled from earlier this year after Sinise was involved as a passenger in a car crash in the Washington area, also served as a nice start for the Fourth Annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival, which runs through Saturday.
Before the show, a group called Hope For The Warriors presented the foundations with a $50,000 check. Painter Scott LoBiado painted a Twin Towers scene with American flag colors in the background, then it was auctioned off. Suzanne Lacy of Axton put in the winning bid of $5,000, then donated the painting to Kerns, for the house in which he hopes to live soon.