Legendary musician and producer Mac McAnally to play benefit concert

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is an article written by WDAM intern Pete Porter

Legendary Nashville producer, songwriter, singer and guitarist Mac McAnally will be in Hattiesburg to play a benefit concert at the Saenger Theater Saturday.

This is part of the Festival South, a two-week arts festival, and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. All of the proceeds will go to the Extra Table charity, an organization founded by local chef, author, and restaurateur Robert St. John. The charity is dedicated to fighting hunger in Mississippi with new and innovative approaches. McAnally, a Mississippi native, is excited to be a part of an event dedicated to helping his fellow Mississippians.

"I'm a Mississippian. Being a Mississippian and getting the chance to come home to play with an orchestra and play songs that I've written, I've never done this before playing a full show of my own music with an orchestra. I feel like I won some kind of lottery. Doing this in my home state in front of my home crowd and with most of these songs being about Mississippi, it just feels right in every way."

According to St. John, 640,000 Mississippians suffer from hunger each year, something he says is unacceptable. Extra Table helps keep soup kitchens and pantries, which often run out of food to give those in need, stocked with branch new nutritional food from Sysco. The charity puts on two or three events a year, but St. John says this is the main event.

McAnally and the orchestra will be joined by members of the Coral Reefer Band, who plays with Jimmy Buffett. After playing the concert at the Saenger Theatre, McAnally and the Coral Reefer Band will sit in with the Southbound Crescent Band as well as other local musicians on an after-party jam to be held at the Train Depot at 9:30. Tickets for the after-party are $20, but those who attend the benefit concert may present their ticket and pay only $15. Landshark Beer, margaritas from Mahogany Bar, and barbecue from Strick's will be provided. St. John encourages everyone to attend.

"I promise there's nothing going on in South Mississippi tomorrow night better than this show, so be there."

McAnally believes the help this event will give to fight hunger in Mississippi is important not only to the state, but also they reflect some of the problems the nation as a whole must tackle.

"The problems that Mississippi faces are just a slightly magnified version of the problems America faces, but Mississippi is my home state and it's close to my heart. I'm a guy sympathetic to the cause that has the opportunity to come and do what I do, and I hope it will help in some way."