A secret is near-impossible to keep, especially a juicy one that includes a couple-hundred people and at least six bands at a well-known venue. But for the last few months, friends and family have been keeping from Jeff Walls the fact that a benefit has been planned in his honor at Jim Porter’s. The big surprise wasn’t revealed until less than two weeks ago.
“My heart is filled up with emotions,” Walls says. He still doesn’t know many technicalities; he’s just been told what time to show up. He’s happy to do that because many old friends will be there to give support.
Walls needs help to get moving around town. Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992, the longtime musician has endured the natural degradation that comes with the disease, and was recently moved to a wheelchair. Money raised will go toward financing a wheelchair-accessible van.
Walls has been playing since 1988 with bands such as One Night Stand, The Rob Allen Band, Blackhawk Expresse and Unbridled. He’s made it a point in his life to support the music scene in Louisville. “Any time someone was playing out there I tried to support the cause to keep the musicians working,” he says.
Sunday, the music scene will come to Walls. In addition, Walls will reunite with his band, Jeff Walls and Wichita Rose, as a headliner. He says he will try playing guitar for as long as he can, but he’ll focus on vocals when his hands get tired.
Bands coming out include The Rigbys, J.D Shelburne, David Ratterman and Lost Highway, The Clark and Joey Band, House of Cash and The Mac Daddys. There will also be appearances by local musicians such as Steve and Julia Hood (of Scarecrow) and Jenny Carr (of Pure South). By the end of the night (if all goes as planned), the benefit should morph into a jam session.
The community has been supportive of the efforts for Walls. Businesses such as Pro-Sound, Outback, Uncle Sam’s Jamms (Showcase Music), Joe’s Crab Shack, Harley Davidson and many others have shown their support through donations. In all, at least 40 businesses have gotten involved. “We are so thankful,” says Joy Walls, the coordinator of the event.
Joy is involved because the cause is dear to her: Jeff is not only her cousin, but also her close friend. “Jeff is my heart. … I would do anything I could (for him).”
Sunday’s event starts at 4:30 p.m. and promises to be family-friendly until 9. Festivities include an auction, raffles and games. Some musicians planning on attending are a surprise for Walls, so stay until 1 a.m. for the jam session.
Jeff Walls Benefit
Sunday, July 27
Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium
2345 Lexington Road
$5; 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m.