Living Word Ministries will present a free concert with one of country music's top songwriters, Ed Bruce, who wrote the song Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys on Sunday, June 12 at 6 p.m.
Bruce will play his Christian music favorites.
In the last few months, North Fort Myers Living Word Ministries has endured several hardships.
First, their electronics equipment was stolen, and then, just a few weeks later, the air conditioning unit that helps with their school there was stolen.
But those events have not dampened the positive spirits of Pastor John and Phyllis Allison who run the ministry and school.
“We are all very excited about the upcoming concert. We can’t wait,” said Living Words’ Mary Diaz. "For 15 years we have been here for the homeless and our school serves many in need.”
Some students have handicaps and financial issues. There is also an outreach ministry there which feeds hundreds of needy families (hot meals, bagged groceries), provides free haircuts, clothing, Bible study, counseling and other assistance, with Pastor Lucy Bonsanto-Wilson of Love and Light Ministries.
Bruce said he is also looking forward to the event.
He recorded his own Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys on his 1976 self-titled album for United Artists Records. In late 1975 Bruce's rendition of the song went to Number 15 on the Hot Country Singles charts.
Then just a few years later, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson covered the song on their 1978 duet album Waylon & Willie. This rendition peaked at Number1 in March 1978, spending four weeks on top of the country music charts. It also won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Bruce said he knew "Mamas" was special. "I felt almost sure I had a hit song, with all the things that move a songwriter there. I've been writing since I was 13.
After his success with the song, Bruce said he called Jennings to see if Jennings would like to cover the hit.
"I called Waylon a couple of few years later, and said, are you going to record soon?"
He knew both performers. "We're a community, I knew Waylon because we were living in the same town, in the same business with the same label."
He said he thought the late Jennings was top notch, along with Nelson. "Willie has a quick wit, and he is a wonderful songwriter himself. I performed with him at an outdoor concert, was watching from wings, and he waved me out when doing Mamas."
How did Bruce feel about hearing his work again be immortalized on the air?
"As a songwriter when I was driving around in a truck or what, if I had a current release out I wore the buttons out trying to find someone singing the song, that to me was more fun."
How did he come to schedule a concert in North Fort Myers?
"We have a friend down there talking about scheduling church concerts. I do a lot of that now." He said he and wife Judith have recently been traveling extensively playing, including church services in Branson.
He said he will probably perform some of his favorite original Christian sons, like "Changed" "The Family is Growing" and "Jesus Loved the Hell Out of Me."
He may also do some old traditional favorites like "In The Garden." "I know that really touches people."
He may also do "Mamas" depending on requests.
Living Word is located at 2900 N. Tamiami Trail, just north of the Shell Factory & Nature Park. Admission is free and an offering will be received. For more information call 997-7701.