Area fans rally in support of veteran musicians Grace Griffith and John Jennings

Nobody pursues a career in music for the fantastic health care.

That’s why area fans and friends are rallying around two veteran musicians currently struggling to pay their medical bills — folk singer Grace Griffith and producer-guitarist John Jennings.

Coincidentally, both musicians are being celebrated with separate benefit concerts on Sunday night.

Griffith, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 17 years ago, will appear at the Birchmere in Alexandria on Sunday, performing alongside her musical partner Marcy Marxer, area folk legend Tom Paxton, singer Cathy Fink and a sprawling cast of others.

The concert will celebrate the release of “Passing Through,” a new album which Griffith recorded intermittently over the past two years, when her condition permitted. Proceeds from the event will go toward paying for speech and physical therapy treatments not covered by the singer’s health insurance.

Also on Sunday, at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, an all-star group of musicians will assemble to perform from Jennings’s songbook. The lineup includes local musicians Eddie From Ohio, Margot MacDonald, Luke Brindley and others.

Jennings, who made his name as Mary Chapin Carpenter’s producer and guitarist in the mid-’80s, was diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer earlier this year and was forced to cancel all of his touring.

Fans who can’t attend these events can still show their support online. Friends of Jennings are raising money on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. Organizers of the Griffith tribute are encouraging fans to buy tickets online and inform the Birchmere that those tickets should be resold.

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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