August 7, 2010 8:57:00 PM
Trip Richmond has a soft spot for animals. Dogs, especially. The country music artist and his girlfriend, Kim, currently have five rescue dogs among their menagerie. But the memory of one very special shelter dog fuels Richmond''s inspiration for a major concert in Columbus Aug. 14, to benefit the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society.
Max''s Dog Days of Mississippi is named for "the most beautiful blue merle Chihuahua you ever laid your eyes on," Richmond said from his new home in Columbus Wednesday. He recently moved here from Nashville, Tenn.
He''s helped organize the benefit presented by K94.9 and Craven Ray Entertainment that will bring country charting artists Jeff Bates and Mark Collie, plus Crossin Dixon, Mulberry Road, the Trip Richmond Band and more to perform in an extravaganza on the East Bank of the John Stennis Lock and Dam.
"We lost Max in February this year, but he is totally my inspiration for this," said the singer and songwriter, who has been a strong supporter of animal shelters in areas he''s previously lived.
When the Amory native visited the local shelter soon after moving to Lowndes County, he was moved to do something to help the current campaign for a desperately-needed new shelter. Land has been donated, plans have been drawn, and the humane society is about halfway to the goal it must reach before breaking ground.
CLHS director Karen Johnwick said, "It we can sell 7,000 tickets, we could break ground on the new shelter the following week! We really appreciate Craven Ray and K94.9 for organizing this event to help aid us in building a shelter. And our heartfelt thanks to Trip Richmond for all his hard work putting it together."
Richmond said, "Karen''s attitude is just fabulous, but as far as the state of the (current) building ... well, it just tore at me and Kim."
Jeff Bates is known for RCA Records chart hits like "The Love Song," "Rainbow Man," "One Second Chance," and "Long, Slow Kisses."
The Mississippi native calls his most recent collection of recorded work, for the Black River Music Group, "the most honest and accurate representation of me and my music yet. Nobody told me what to sing or write, what direction to go with or how it had to be done."
Bates long ago bared his substance-abuse problems for his public and these days focuses on his wife and new daughter, born in April, and his religious beliefs. He''s performed to raise money for Toys and Tots and Hurricane Katrina relief in his home area near Bunker Hill.
Mark Collie -- the "Hillbilly Hitman" -- released eight albums, producing 16 chart singles on Billboard''s Hot Country Songs in the 1990s. Probably best-remembered for songs like "Even the Man in the Moon is Cryin''" and "Born to Love You," the Tennesseean has also written songs for George Jones, Tim McGraw, Aaron Tippin and Garth Brooks.
Collie even appeared in several films, once playing Johnny Cash in "I Still Miss Someone," and TV series, including "JAG," "Walker, Texas Ranger," and "The Strip." The Nashville-based musician has diabetes and is a frequent volunteer for the American Diabetes Association.
Add to these Broken Bow Records artists Crossin Dixon -- not only Mississippi-based, but featuring Sturgis native Jason Miller -- and Richmond''s own Nashville-influenced "rockin'' hard" set, plus several other artists, and Max''s Dog Days of Mississippi shapes up to be a rare opportunity for high caliber live entertainment.
Richmond said, "Our goal is to have a fun evening of great country music you just can''t get anywhere nearby. We have a real good team of volunteers, and security." He praised the Columbus Police Department for its assistance in planning for the event.
Food vendors and free jumper inflatables for the kids will add to the atmosphere organizers aim for. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
Johnwick said, "I''d like to encourage everyone who reads or hears about Max''s Dog Days of Mississippi to come out and support us, whether you''re a country music lover, or just love animals. This is going to be a wonderful evening of great music. Please come out with family and friends to benefit all the homeless animals."
How to go
Advance tickets to Max''s Dog Days are $25, available at the Humane Society at 13 Airline Rd. in Columbus Monday through Friday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Or buy advance tickets online at www.etix.com. Admission at the gate Aug. 14 will be $40 per person. The concert begins at 6 p.m.; gates will open at 5 p.m.
Concert-goers will watch the show from the sweeping hill leading to the upper parking level. Everyone is urged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.
For more information about the benefit, contact the Humane Society at 662-327-3107, or e-mail Richmond at email@example.com
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.