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Concert pays tribute to late Tri-State DJ Chuck Black

Jul. 14, 2013 @ 11:28 PM

ASHLAND -- Just a kid with a band out of high school, Bobby Cyrus remembers how Chuck Black years ago took notice of his talent and made him feel special at a little concert in Louisa, Ky.

"He was always there to lend a helping hand to musicians and listeners, and he made me feel like a somebody even when I was a nobody," said Cyrus, who has two movies in the works and a new album out.

It was that personal touch and genuine heart-felt love of people and the music that caused a Sunday afternoon parade of great Tri-State pickers to come out and play the packed patio of Callihan's American Pub and Grill for a special memorial concert for the late great Tri-State DJ Chuck Black.

Called Black Sunday, the event -- organized by music men Eddie Riffe and Tal Callihan -- was emceed by Riffe and WTCR-FM's Cameron Blevins and featured a slew of artists including Cyrus, Dana Romanello, Eddie and The Cougars, Against the Grain, Tom and Brenden Wintz, Larry Pancake with guitar ace Phil Osborne, Luna and David Prince, Dustin Burchett, Tim Preston and others.

Riffe said he was thrilled with the turnout.

"I've to thank Chuck Black, the good Lord and Mother Nature," Riffe said of the beautiful weather. "The only reason we have the umbrellas up is for a little shade."

Veteran guitarist David Prince said Chuck Black was truly a one-of-a-kind.

"For your money in rock 'n' roll radio, you had Jack O'Shea, and in country, you had Chuck Black," Prince said before taking the stage with his wife, Luna. "Whenever we were doing gigs, it was the biggest thrill to get Chuck to introduce you. You knew you had made it."

With many musicians, radio and music fans in the audience, many Chuck Black stories were swirling the tables occupied by such music lovers as Gregg Davidson, James Juett, Rodney Crisp, Sue Dowdy, and a bunch of folks from WTCR, including general manager Judy Eaton, who was Black's partner for years in the morning at WTCR.

Judy Jennings, Clear Channel's regional market manager for Huntington, Parkersburg and Wheeling, said Black, who chalked up some 37 years in local radio, put his full heart and soul into the Tri-State.

"A lot of stuff has been said about Chuck, and I think the biggest thing about him was his heart," Jennings said. "He cared deeply about people and about his causes."

Speaking of which, money raised at the Black Sunday event went to St. Jude Children's Hospital, a cause he championed deeply during his years at WTCR.

Blevins, a young WTCR DJ who emceed the event, said that Black, who was a disc jockey for other stations including WLGC and WDGG, The Dawg, was always helpful and encouraging to Blevins.

"While there's a healthy competition among stations, Chuck also believed in that sense of camaraderie among DJs," Blevins said. "As I look back, he really taught me that lesson because he barely knew me but he would be there to help me even if I was from another station."

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