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Cortez American Legion to host benefit Jan. 21 for musician

American Legion Ute Mountain Post 75 is at 320 N. Harrison St. in Cortez. Proceeds from a Jan. 21 benefit will go to local musician Larry Easterling. (Kimberly Adams/The Journal)
Doors open at 2 p.m. for Larry Easterling benefit

American Legion Ute Mountain Post 75 in Cortez will host a benefit for local musician Larry Easterling on Saturday, Jan 21.

“Larry is like the nicest guy in town,” retired music teacher and event organizer Mark Allen said in an interview. “He’ll do anything for anybody.”

According to a news release emailed to The Journal, Easterling is a local musician and former Family Advocate employee for The Piñon Project Family Resource Center in Cortez.

Easterling, who is 82 years old and recently bought a house, can’t work for many weeks, Allen said. “He’s a handyman. He works 12 hours a day, and he had to have surgery on his neck and spine, so it’s going to be many weeks before he can work again.”

“Larry has always been very quick to volunteer to help people when they need it, and this is the community's chance to return the favor,” he added.

Larry Easterling plays harmonica and drums. In the past, he has been a magician and ventriloquist. (Courtesy photo)

Easterling plays harmonica and drums. In the past, he has been a magician and ventriloquist who has performed throughout the country, he said Friday during a phone interview.

Local musicians and bands that will perform at the American Legion during the benefit include Allen, Hagen McDonald, The OneStanBand, Chris Lindell, Genuine Cowhide, Tom Scott, The Blackwell Brothers, Ellis Miller, Horizon, Little Brother and Bill Reigel.

“We have such great musicians here,” Easterling said. “I’m hoping I can sit in with some of them and play some blues music.”

There will be a cash bar and food vendors at American Legion Hall during the Jan. 21 benefit.

A GoFundMe page set up on Easterling’s behalf raised $1,150 as of Dec. 30.

“Larry is an Army veteran, drummer, harmonica player, magician and ventriloquist plus one of the kindest people you could ever want to know here in the Four Corners area,” said Easterling’s friend and GoFundMe organizer, Mo Cooley.

Doors open at the American Legion Hall at 2 p.m., and the event runs until 8 p.m. There is a $5 suggested donation at the door, and all proceeds will go toward Easterling’s surgery and recovery expenses.

American Legion Ute Mountain Post No. 75 is at 320 N. Harrison St. in Cortez. Contact Mark Allen at (970) 565-9804 for more information.