The Silver Dollar Saloon in downtown Nashville will host the official “Alabama Line” Tribute Benefit on December 19 in honor of Wayne Mills, co-founding member of The Alabama Line, frontman of The Wayne Mills Band and beloved member of the Nashville community. Wayne was fatally shot on November 23 after an altercation with a Nashville bar owner.
Musicians and friends of The Alabama Line will perform, sharing stories about Wayne while raising funds for his family. Drake White, Jon Pardi, Brent Cobb, Britt Stokes, members of The Wayne Mills Band, Bobby Johnson, Timothy Chance and more will perform. While there is a “no cover” policy at The Silver Dollar Saloon, attendees are encouraged to bring a Christmas gift for Wayne’s seven-year-old son, Jack. The venue will donate 100% of all bar sales for the evening to the Mills family.
Wayne was raised in Arab, Alabama where he went on to play baseball at Wallace State Junior College in Hanceville, Alabama and then football at the University of Alabama. After college, he picked up his guitar and hit the road with The Wayne Mills Band, becoming one of the hottest college bands on the circuit. Jamey Johnson and Blake Shelton were among the artists who once opened for Wayne. He had most recently been touring with Jamey Johnson and Blackberry Smoke.
Last month, he received the Guardian Award by the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame for his hard work and “unwavering commitment to their music and their fans and by exemplifying the tradition of the movement.” He was putting the final touches on his highly-anticipated studio album, Long Hard Road, at the time of his death.
Wayne was remembered as “a true gift of love” during his memorial service in the auditorium of Arab High School in his hometown. His black boots and acoustic guitar, decorated with numerous signatures of the friends he made during two decades on the road, were displayed in front of his casket, which was adorned with a small University of Alabama sticker, his studded guitar strap draped over it. His trademark white cowboy hat was encased in a glass box on one side, his Alabama football helmet on the other.
Before the service, Wayne’s widow Carol greeted a long line of family and friends, handed each of them a black guitar pick embossed with “WMB” and his band logo on one side and “Wayne Mills, 1969-2013” on the other. The memorial was full of music and memories, shared by Wayne’s many friends.
“I always thought I was sharing Wayne with all of you,” Carol wrote in the service’s program. “However, through this senseless tragedy I have learned that Wayne’s last gift to me and Jack was not a song but sharing all of you with us.”
For more information on the benefit concert, visit www.silverdollarsaloon.com. For those who cannot attend but would like to assist the family, donations are being accepted online. FirstBank has also set up a Wayne Mills Family Fund. Anyone can donate at FirstBank branches located throughout the state of Tennessee.