It was a night that any country fan would be in awe of. Family, friends and industry members gathered for A 90’s Country Night: Unplugged at 3rd and Lindsley Tuesday night (March 13) to raise money for country singer Anita Cochran
Anita was diagnosed with triple positive, invasive carcinoma breast cancer in August 2017 and has been going through aggressive chemotherapy treatments. The Michigan native has had to stop touring, making it difficult to make ends meet.
Enter Terri Clark, a good friend of Anita’s, who spearheaded Tuesday’s event, inviting country music friends to take the stage. One after the other, the country greats took the stage with their hits, bringing us all back to when country was country. Hosted by Suzanne Alexander, the night featured performances by Terri, Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss, Lorrie Morgan, Steve Wariner, Crystal Gayle, Clay Walker, Ty Herndon, Wade Hayes, Jamie O’Neal, The Lynns, Bryan White, Mandy Barnett and surprise guest Wynonna.
But it was when friend Steve Wariner invited Anita—still recovering from double mastectomy surgery—on stage to sing their 1997 No. 1 hit, “What If I Said,” that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“He’s one of my biggest heroes,” Anita said of Steve. “I wrote the song with him in mind to sing it with me. He could have said I don’t know that girl, forget it. It’s a dream come true for that to happen. Not many artists get to have that.”
The surprise of the night, to Anita and the fans in attendance, was the appearance of country music royalty, Wynonna Judd. Hitting the stage with her flaming red hair, Wy shared some words of love.
“What’s real is this love that we have for each other,” Wy said. “We stick together and that’s what country music does. Everybody shows up for one another. I don’t know if they do it in other genres unless they’re getting a lot of money, but we’re doing it for love. When you know somebody needs something, you just do it. You just show up.”
And show up she did. Wy took the crowd to church, as only she could, belting out The Judds hits including, “Love is Alive” and “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Ole Days).”
But the night didn’t end there. One of Anita’s heroes, Crystal Gayle, showed her support. Sounding as good as ever, Crystal treated fans to hits such as, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” and “Have You Left the One You Left Me For.”
To close out the show, Terri Clark, Suzy Bogguss and Pam Tillis, also known as Chicks With Hits, made themselves comfortable on stage seated in oversized chairs. Suzy’s set included “Outbound Plane,” Terri sang “Girls Lie Too,” and Pam performed “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial,” among others. In addition, the show ended with a country lovers dream, a medley of hits performed by all three ladies.
“I’ve never been a benefit before. It’s hard to accept, but I’ve never felt so much love in my entire life,” Anita said through tears. “I want to thank all my artist friends for being here and just supporting me and this event. You’ll never know how much it means to me.”
If you would like to help Anita, you can check out her gofundme page to donate.
Photos by Jamie Schramm