Country music star Ty Herndon is making music and giving a helping hand in the Augusta area this week.
Mr. Herndon will perform at 7 p.m. today at the Washington-Wilkes Parks and Recreation Gym Complex in Tignall, Ga., just north of Washington, in a benefit for 14-year-old Calli Nickels, of Tignall, who has been battling an aggressive form of bone cancer.
The Augusta Chronicle's sports columnist, Scott Michaux, in September wrote a touching article about Calli and her brother, Casey, who plays offensive tackle for the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
Mr. Herndon will perform a concert of holiday music at 7 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way Extension, to benefit the Georgia-Alabama chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
"I do a lot of work for Make-A-Wish," he said in a call. "The Augusta shows especially are going to be awesome evenings of Christmas music and songs from my new gospel record as well."
Mr. Herndon is in the holiday mood: His voice mail recording has him singing the first verse of Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow .
And in talking with him, he said, "All this holiday stuff has got everyone a little off track," and then he started singing "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"
Mr. Herndon in recent years has been performing in Augusta with his band, but he said the two shows this week will be performed to music soundtracks.
"I was talking to a friend of mine in Augusta and told her, 'I guess I'm doing a Christmas karaoke show.' I've never performed my own hits to soundtracks," he added, "and don't even have any soundtracks of my hits.
''Maybe I need to go online and find some of those karaoke soundtracks of my songs."
At 17, he moved from Alabama to Nashville, Tenn., where he was hired for a stage show at the Opryland theme park. That led to joining the Tennessee River Boys gospel group (which evolved into the trio Diamond Rio), and eventually a contract with Epic Records.
His first single, What Mattered Most , went to No. 1 on the country charts. It was followed by hits including Hands of a Working Man, (Show Me) No Mercy, Living in a Moment, Loved Too Much, It Must Be Love, A Man Holdin' On (To a Woman Lettin' Go) and Steam .
Mr. Herndon's new project, being released Dec. 18, is a Christian CD called Journey On .
"This album is really my life," he said. "It's a labor of love, and it's my first work that I wrote or co-wrote every song on it.
''It's a mixture of positive life, contemporary Christian and basic gospel, and, of course, sounds country with my voice."
Don Rhodes has written about country music for 39 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.