Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, and More Surprise At Bobby Bones’ 6th Annual Million Dollar Show
The star-studded event raised $200,000 and counting for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Dierks Bentley, Bobby Bones, Jake Owen; Photos by Reid Yarberry
Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots hosted their 6th annual Million Dollar Show at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on Tuesday, February 21 with performances by Parker McCollum, Michelle Branch, Deana Carter and Randy Houser, as well as surprise appearances by Dierks Bentley, Madeleine Edwards, Scott Stapp of Creed, The Wreckers, Dave’s Highway, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady A, Morgan Evans, and Jake Owen. The show was recorded and will air as a fundraising special on Circle TV later this spring.
Proceeds from the star-studded night benefitted St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. This month also marks 20 years of The Bobby Bones Show and 10 years since its relocation to Nashville and launch into the biggest nationally syndicated country radio show. Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots kicked off the night by performing songs from their musical comedy repertoire, including “Hobby Lobby Bobby” and “Fanny Pack.”
The first special guest of the evening was Randy Houser, who delivered a goosebump-inducing performance of “Like a Cowboy,” which felt like a western revival inside the mother church of country music. He followed it up with his latest single “Note to Self,” which earned a standing ovation.
Tracy Lawrence was scheduled to appear but lost his voice ahead of the show, so Bones called in a favor from Dierks Bentley. Bentley performed Lawrence’s “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” and his own “Gold.” Bentley joked that he’d thought about shaving down to a mustache and hiking his jeans up to recreate Lawrence’s classic look, but decided against it with his upcoming television appearances this week for his album release.
Newcomer Madeleine Edwards delivered a powerful performance of her song “The Wolves,” followed by a rousing medley of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “Tennessee Whiskey,” made famous by Chris Stapleton and George Jones. Edwards received a standing ovation for her first performance on the Ryman stage. She shared that she had shared a dressing room with a former St. Jude patient and told the crowd, ”If that is what St. Jude is doing for that community, please give all of your money.”
One of the biggest surprises of the night was an appearance by Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed. Stapp rocked the stage with performances of Creed’s hits “Higher” and “My Sacrifice.” Stapp said, “St. Jude, God bless your work and what you’re doing to save young children’s lives.”
Bobby Bones and Producer Eddie returned to the stage for an intermission of sorts, performing their “Grandmother Song” before bringing out the next set of special guests.
Deana Carter brought the 90s country nostalgia with her singalong hits “And the Band Played” and “Strawberry Wine.”
The Wreckers Reunite
One of the performers who had a direct connection to the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was Michelle Branch. “My cousin had childhood leukemia and St. Jude was a huge resource for my family,” she told the crowd before performing her hits “Everywhere” and “All You Wanted.” In a surprise move, Branch welcomed her former bandmate Jessica Harp of The Wreckers for a special reunion. The duo performed their song “Tennessee” and their hit “Leave the Pieces,” which Branch joked was likely being performed on the stages of Broadway behind them.
Newcomers Dave’s Highway began their performance of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” a capella, showcasing their familial harmonies. The trio of siblings (two sisters and a brother) also performed their song “Why Do We Need Em.”
Surprise guests Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady A took the stage to perform Kelley’s powerful song about his journey to sobriety, “As Far As You Could” and Lady A’s first hit “Love Don’t Live Here.”
Former St. Jude Patient Performs
One of the most poignant moments of the Million Dollar Show was a full circle moment. Former St. Jude patient Addie Pratt joined Kelley and Haywood on stage to perform her original song “The Woman That I Am.” Pratt wrote the song with Haywood, Kelley, and Nathan Chapman, which is available now. She was a freshman in high school when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and spent 6 months in treatment at St. Jude.
Pratt is now cancer-free and a senior at Ole Miss, spreading the message of hope that St. Jude offer. “St. Jude did not charge my family a single penny for my life-saving treatment. They have become like a second family to me now. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be here and share my story with you all and inspire others to support the kids that are still there today.”
Bones then turned the spotlight to his band, the Raging Idiots, for a high-energy performance of Prince’s “Purple Rain” by background vocalist Ahmad Watson and Runaway June member Natalie Stovall, who has recently recovered from surgery and an unexpected lengthy hospital stay last month.
Reigning ACM New Male Artist of the Year Parker McCollum performed his hits “To Be Loved By You” and “Handle on You” to an enthusiastic crowd.
Surprise guest Morgan Evans sat down at a piano to deliver a mournful performance of his latest single, “Over For You,” which tells his side of the story about the demise of his marriage to Kelsea Ballerini. Evans told the crowd, “At the time I wrote it, this felt like the saddest song in the world and sometimes it still does.”
To close out the night, Bobby Bones introduced his final surprise guest, longtime friend Jake Owen, who performed “Down to the Honkytonk” before turning the tables on Bones. Owen surprised the host with an award from St. Jude commemorating the charitable milestone of raising more than $20 million for the organization since 2014.
Bones accepted the award, telling the audience, “I get the credit, but you guys do all the work, so thank you guys so much.” The crowd erupted into chants of “Bobby” before Owen returned to finish out his set with his new single “Up There Down Here” and his summertime smash hit, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital leads the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. When St. Jude opened in 1962, childhood cancer was considered incurable. Since then, St. Jude has helped increase the overall survival rate from 20% to more than 80% – with no plans to stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. St. Jude treats children from all 50 states and around the world. Since a majority of St. Jude funding comes from generous donors, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most—saving kids regardless of their financial situation.
Nicole Palsa is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 2012, she has written about the newcomers, superstars, and legends of country music for publications including Music Mayhem, Country Now, and Country Music Tattle Tale. Palsa has served as a volunteer guide with Musicians On Call since 2016 and is a Troubadour member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications and her Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In addition to being a devoted country music fan, Nicole is a family historian and genealogist who can often be found in stacks of research. She is also an avid traveler with a passion for wildlife and nature photography.