Call it a group effort Sunday when musicians, friends, family and fans gather for the Red Shoes for Rock and Roll Concert honoring musician the late Jack Nims at VFW Post 2889 in Rock Hill.
This coming together of the area’s music community is a tribute to the passing of a fellow musician. A solemn purpose certainly, but the goal is to celebrate a life, have a little jammin’ musical fun, and raise money to pay it forward for future needs while they’re at it.
Nims, who died in October at age 61, was a Rock Hill resident and originally from Fort Mill.
A graduate of Fort Mill High School, he served in the U.S. Army, and majored in music at Winthrop University.
Nims was a regular player in community bands, particularly bluegrass groups. His skills also included carpentry, and he made many of his own instruments.
The Red Shoes for Rock and Roll concerts originated with the Danny-Thon in 2005 to raise money for the medical expenses of musician Danny Guyton.
Two years after his death, the first Red Shoes memorial was held.
Guyton requested the fundraiser to give back to those who had helped him, plus establish the Red Shoes Fund to assist local musicians with medical bills.
Many will step up to honor Nims, including family, friends as well as staff members at Woody’s Music in Rock Hill, who were also part of the original Red Shoes concerts.
“We knew Jack was pretty sick. I went to see him and asked if he needed anything,” said Glen Jones, a friend and fellow musician and Woody’s staff member.
While Nims declined assistance for medical bills, Glen Jones said, “he did mention the Red Shoes Concerts as being ‘pretty cool’ – that ‘it would be great if you guys did the same thing for me.’
“We were planning the event hoping he could be involved, but he passed before we could do it. Now, we’re just following through, especially since Jack brought it up.”
Woody’s store owner Tim Jones, echoed that sentiment. “We’ve done this several times. It’s just the coming together of the music community and the camaraderie. It’s a very special time. Not many communities can come together like this.
“Jack was a very accomplished musician and loved to play. It’s appropriate that we’re doing this in his memory not only because he requested it but he had played in countless such events for others,” Tim Jones, said. “Jack was very generous and giving of his talent, so it’s right that we honor him in return.”
Geary MacAlister agreed. “Jack was a simple man with a big heart, a really intelligent, gifted guy who lived life on his terms.”
MacAlister will be among Sunday’s performers. “He had a lot of friends,” he added, “it’ll be a homecoming for a lot of us musicians who’ve not seen each other in a long time.”
There’s also Nim’s family. Sister Mott Hutchinson described her brother as “kind of a loner until his got sick then all of his friends congregated around him. Music was his life,” she said. “Whatever he did, music was involved. Jack’s main passion was music, being in a bluegrass band, going camping with friends, sitting around a campfire and picking tunes. They had so much respect for him and his musical talent.”
As for Sunday’s benefit, she said: “I’m looking forward to see how they bring it all together.”
Hutchinson is in charge of a visual display for the concert from scrapbooks proudly kept by their mother with newspaper clippings, photos and information about his bands including Borderline, WCBW, and other groups.
In addition to the music, there will be a silent auction and raffle.
Donations can be mailed, marked attention Red Shoes For Rock and Roll Musician’s Fund, c/o Woody’s Music, 946 Charlotte Ave., Rock Hill, SC 29730.