Popular rock band Shinedown raising funds for Birmingham's Bell Center
by James Phillips
Sep 26, 2010 | 2600 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shinedown is made up of members Brent Smith, Zach Myers, Eric Bass and Barry Kerch. The band will play a benefit concert for The Bell Center Friday at WorkPlay in Birmingham. (Photo Special to the Eagle)
Shinedown is made up of members Brent Smith, Zach Myers, Eric Bass and Barry Kerch. The band will play a benefit concert for The Bell Center Friday at WorkPlay in Birmingham. (Photo Special to the Eagle)
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Plantinum-selling rock band Shinedown is raising funds and awareness to help children with genetic disorders with a special concert set for Friday night at WorkPlay in Birmingham.

The band's special acoustic performance is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Friday in the WorkPlay SoundStage, and ticket sales from the event will go directly to The Bell Center, which is a Birmingham-based treatment facility that works with children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and a variety of other genetic disorders.

Shinedown frontman Brent Smith said The Bell Center is special to the band, because a member of the group's touring crew has a daughter with Down syndrome and has been helped by The Bell Center.

"These are very dear friends of ours, and they live in Birmingham," Smith said. "The Bell Center has done so much for them, and it's such a wonderful place that we wanted to do whatever we could to help it out. We thought we could do a show and take all the ticket sales and give it to them."

The Bell Center offers treatment as soon as a child is diagnosed, often within a few days or weeks after birth. Programs at the center are designed to promote growth in gross and fine motor skills, as well as language, cognition, self-help and play skills. Each child is evaluated annually, and goals are tailored specifically to the child's needs.

"There is an amazing amount of love at The Bell Center," Smith said. "They help not only the child, but the entire family to work through the process of living with and caring for a child with a genetic disorder. I've seen how much it means to our friend, and I know thousands of other people are depending on The Bell Center as well."

Smith said Friday's show will be an acoustic set with the full band and several guest performers.

"People can expect to hear all the songs that they know of ours, and they are probably going to sound completely different," he said. "This is the first show of an acoustic tour that we are starting. We've torn down the songs and changed them around. I think people will love it."

Shinedown formed in 2001, and have had 10 consecutive top 5 rock radio hits from the group's three studio albums. The band was nominated for a 2009 American Music Award for "Favorite Alternative Rock Artist" alongside Kings of Leon and Green Day. Shinedown's song "Second Chance" was one of the biggest hits of 2009 with nearly 2 million singles sold and going to No. 1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart and the top 5 in Top 40 singles chart after topping several other charts. The band's current album, "The Sound of Madness," has been certified platinum.

"We have been so blessed to have the success we've had," Smith said. "Each of our five singles from this album have gone to No. 1 on different charts. We are about to release our sixth single from the album."

Despite the lack of a rock station in the Birmingham area, Smith said the band has always had a large following and much support here.

"We are always stoked to come to Birmingham," he said. "The last time we were here was at the Crawfish Boil, and that was a fun time. We're thankful to the people of this area for supporting us for years now. The Birmingham area has always been great to us."

Smith said the band has played more than 400 shows associated with its current album. He said in early 2011, the group plans to start the full process for its next release.

"We will start writing and putting things together beginning in January 2011," Smith said. "I can't promise the project will be finished in 2011, but at least by early 2012 we should have it done."

For more information on Friday's concert or for tickets, visit www.workplay.com.