YUKON — Becoming a club owner has given Grady Cross a chance to bring live music to his hometown and a way to stay rooted in the vibrant red dirt music scene.
As a bonus, his new role as proprietor of Grady's 66 Pub has provided the former Cross Canadian Ragweed guitarist with an ideal outlet for giving back to his community.
“When you can give back, that's No. 1, that's the key to life to me,” Cross said. “If you can put on a concert, something that's easy to do — and really, it's easy for me to do because they're all my friends and they want to do it and ... all you gotta do is get on the phone — that's the part that's good. That's good about the red dirt scene, you know, people are willing to help as much as they can.”
After organizing two fundraising concerts last year for Piedmont tornado relief, he and his brother Nathan Cross, who manages the pub, are planning a benefit Sunday for the widow of their friend Rudy Inselman, who died in January of cancer.
“Rudy's Benefit” will include an acoustic song swap featuring red dirt stars Mike McClure and Stoney LaRue, live music from Dead Man's Bluff and Taylor Atkinson Band, a fish fry and barbecue, a live auction and a special edition of the pub's usual Sunday Night Revival.
“Grady and I go way back, so if I can help, I will,” McClure said.
Shortly after Cross Canadian Ragweed split up in fall 2010, Cross, 36, bought the former 50 Yard Line Club, the first venue where the influential red dirt band performed in 1991.
“It felt like home to me,” said Cross, who opened his namesake saloon Jan. 1, 2011. “I got up and I played bass with the Red Dirt Rangers the other night at the pub, so I still play quite a bit. ... It's just that now when I jam, I get to come home. I'm not too far away.”
He also wasn't too far away when an EF5 tornado tore through Piedmont on May 24. The Cross brothers soon booked McClure and LaRue for a benefit song swap and planned live and silent auctions that raised thousands of dollars for the local Red Cross.
But they still had more help to give. When Piedmont resident Mary Smith wanted to plan a charity concert for her devastated town, she called Grady's 66 Pub even though she and the Crosses weren't acquainted.
• What: Acoustic song swap with Mike McClure and Stoney LaRue, live music from Dead Man's Bluff and Taylor Atkinson Band, fish fry and barbecue, live auction and special edition of the pub's Sunday Night
• Benefiting: The widow of Rudy
• When: 1 p.m.
• Where: Grady's 66 Pub, 444 W Main St.