WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — When Hurricane Ida made landfall and decimated South Louisiana, the state was hurting and in need of relief. Fortunately help began to pour in from all over the state, including in Northeast Louisiana.
For local musician Jordan Sheppard, the choice to use his music to help raise money to help the state he calls home was obvious. When he began reaching out to friends about setting up a fundraiser, the community took notice and Rock & Relief was born.
“I woke up the next morning to an email from Adrienne LaFrance-Wells letting me know that the City of West Monroe wanted to get involved and it just blew up from there,” Sheppard explained. “The city donated all the resources we needed. The venue, the stage, the lights, the trash cans.”
With everything for the event firmly in place, Sheppard began reaching out to possible sponsors and received a huge response. “Our sponsors stepped up in a huge way. Both The Jim Taylor Auto Group and Raising Canes donated $1,000. River City Nutrition, GraceNote Music Academy, and Hot Rod BBQ, all donated and Hot Rod even offered to feed the musicians. Finding Solace is letting us borrow tents for the United Way people and for the musicians backstage.”
Though the task of setting up such an event in short notice is tough, Sheppard knew that it had to be done. “I’ve seen our community, restaurants, and musicians come together for a good cause before. There are Louisianians hurting and we can help. To steal from Uncle Ben from Spider Man, those with the ability have the responsibility.”
While the Rock & Relief festival’s main goal is to help those that are hurting and in need, it’s also a remarkable assembling of some of the best talent the area has to offer. “It is sad that it takes a disaster to bring us together, but with every passing catastrophe we grow stronger, and we add people to the list of folks you can count on when things get rough.” Sheppard noted. “That makes the next time things get rough a little easier. I hate to think of any more heartbreak like this happening to Louisiana, but if it does, I know these men and women will do it again.”
In addition to playing private parties and live events several nights a week around Northeast Louisiana, Sheppard is currently working on breaking out nationally as well. “Right now my band is cutting our self-titled record Jordan Sheppard and The Cypress Knees. I have also recently gotten the opportunity to have an EP produced by Kent Wells, guitarist and producer for Dolly Parton, so I’m doing all that I can to work here and travel to Nashville to get that record cut!”
Check out Jordan Sheppard and the Cypress Knees on Facebook, and join Jordan on Wednesdays at Brass Monkey in Monroe for Open Mic Night.