Musician staging benefit concert

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Musician Jared Young said he is from a small town and adores small towns, though he never wrote a song about small towns.

“I think John Cougar (Mellencamp) did it best,” he laughed. But that does not bar Young from putting small towns on the list of stops during his tour.

The Arkansas native will be in Tucumcari on Friday for a benefit concert to raise money for area artists. The acoustic gig is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the courtyard at Mesaland’s Community College where a $5 suggested donation will be asked to benefit sculptors in the Hot Metals Association.

“I love that,” said Young of the fund-raiser aspect of his concert. “Any time I can be of help to another group of creative people I’m willing.”

Small towns aside, Young said he has found plenty to warble about during his guitar strumming career.

“I write about classic things like love and loss,” Young said, adding he has some quirky themes, like a happy breakup song. He said he also has an entire ditty written about minimum wage.

“In my music I try to reflect everybody’s individuality and their basic sense of hope — hope and love,” he said. “I have a very strong belief that every single person is probably better than they think they are.”

Young said his optimistic viewpoint, especially in a music scene laden with sex, drugs and rock and roll, can be traced back to his roots — “just growing up in a small southern town where my grandparents live on 80 acres of farmland.”

So why is he coming to Tucumcari?

Young said he first discovered the town when he moved from Conway, Ark., to his current home in Los Angeles.

“Tucumcari sits right in the middle of Conway and L.A.,” Young said. “On any trip back and forth, I was constantly staying in Tucumcari.”

Already friends with the Cranes, who now manage the Pony Soldier Motel, Young said they contacted him when they heard he was touring and asked him to play in town.

“We just wanted to do something fun,” said Michael Crane, who said he and his wife first met Young when they lived in Little Rock, Ark.

“I got a call from Michael and Charlotte and said ‘I’m on the way,’” Young said.

He said other stops on this tour include Phoenix; Little Rock, Ark.; New York and Washington.

He also said he looks forward to the tour’s finale in Tucumcari before he heads back home to Los Angeles.

“I love small towns,” Young said. “Somebody should sponsor a Route 66 music tour where we only play stops on Route 66. There is so much character. Everybody’s so nice.”

What: Benefit concert by Jared Young
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Courtyard at Mesalands Community College
Tickets: Suggested donation of $5 at the door
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