Ryan Abel. Photo courtesy Ryan Abel
Ryan Abel. Photo courtesy Ryan Abel

Laurel Canyon favorites benefit the Junior League on April 27

With the wealth of music produced in California’s Laurel Canyon, Ryan Abel doesn’t worry much about running out of songs for his annual benefit concert for the Junior League of Augusta.

In its third year, the April 27 show is stronger than ever, and Abel said he’s excited to see it come together.

“This is a completely different show. Brooke Lundy and her band, including Keith Jenkins who played for James Brown, are covering nothing but Linda Ronstadt,” said Abel.

After Lundy’s 30-40 minutes of Ronstadt favorites, Abel, backed by some musicians who formerly played with the No. 9 band, will bring the Laurel Canyon III set that he said is “all over the map” and will include songs by the Eagles, The Doors, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and James Taylor. While these artists have been featured in previous benefits, the songs are different.

Another way Abel seeks to keep the fundraiser fresh is by shaking up the line-up of singers.

Abel welcomes a new group of voices to the tribute including Ashley Rivera, Anissa Cordova, Michael Bailey and Katie Reagan — all well-known around Augusta for their talent.  Luke Amerson will be featured as well.

“It’s a stellar group. I’m excited about it,” he said.

 The concert line-up gives a taste of another performance Abel is looking forward to – the Augusta Players’ 80th season opener of “Jesus Christ Superstar” Oct. 4-6.

Brooke Lundy sings with All Things Music. She will bring Linda Ronstadt favorites during the April 27 Laurel Canyon benefit. Photo courtesy All Things Music Instagram page.

 Not only is Abel cast that production in the role of Judas, but Amerson will play Jesus and Rivera will be Mary Magdalene.

In 2023, Abel hosted several concert fundraisers. He’s pared down those appearances, but he kept the Laurel Canyon one in the mix for several reasons. Yes, the show helps raise money for an organization Abel believes in, but the music is dear to his heart.

“It’s a love language for me for my mom who passed away. She loved Joni Mitchell; she loved James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Carole King. For me, it’s a way to connect with her and sing some of the songs I know she loved,” he said.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Junior League of Augusta, which distributes the funds in the form of grants to area organizations.

 The performance will begin at 8 p.m., April 27 at the Miller Theater. Tickets are $35-$80. Get them at the Miller website or at https://www.ryanabelmusic.com/

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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