CORNVILLE - A benefit will gather friends Sunday afternoon at the Old Corral in Cornville to raise funds for a musician who has been an anchor in a couple of music scenes.
Bill Bassett, the man behind that rich voice and pedal steel guitar, has played over a decade with the Blazin' M Cowboys for the dinner shows by the river. Bill has also been part of the Retros.
Recently, Bassett had been complaining about a lump in his throat. Friend Clay Harper urged him to get it checked. The lump was benign, but blood work showed that Bill was positive for leukemia.
His wife Crystal said she thought something was wrong, since he seemed to be slowing down, but the sudden diagnosis was a surprise.
Initially, Bill had problems getting attention because of the lengthy red tape and insurance issues that musicians always deal with. Crystal says he couldn't get help right away. But, the treatments started last week.
It's been a tough year for the family. Crystal suffered a debilitating seizure during a Retros show last year and another benefit helped them get back on their feet then.
Originally from Seattle, Bill was the Blazin' M emcee and he has been performing throughout the West since 1971. His talent even led him to Nashville, where he played backup for many of country music's greatest artists and at Opryland. He served a stint in Turkey in the service. In 1999 Bill was inducted into the Swing Hall of Fame.
The benefit lineup starts at 2 p.m. with a set by the Blazin' M Cowboys. They will be followed by the Neon Allstars, the Retros and the Dave Rice Hart Prairie Band and then an Open Jam for the balance of the afternoon.
There will be a potluck, 50/50 raffle, and plenty of items to invest your pocketful of cash. Lots of fun, lots of music and an important benefit for a long time Verde Valley musician.
For more information, call the Old Corral at 649-9405.