Zak Saltz Band

Bristol’s Zak Saltz Band will headline a fundraiser for Speedway Children’s Charities on Friday, starting at 3 p.m. at The Cascade Draft House.

BRISTOL, Va. — Scents of coffee and sights of doughnut crumbs abounded when Zak Saltz and Johnny Cox settled into their seats in back of Blackbird Bakery.

Guitars tuned for a night’s performance at the Bristol casino, they paused to speak about a forthcoming show that’s more than just another concert.

Bristol’s Zak Saltz Band headlines Rhythm & Racing on Friday, Sept. 16. Set to begin at 3 p.m. at The Cascade Draft House in Bristol, Tennessee, the daylong event benefits Speedway Children’s Charities.

Saltz leads a lineup that includes Blountville’s Marques Puckett & 8 Second Ride, as well as East Tennessee’s Holly Ann & Dirt Road Rising.

“I want to help kids,” said Zak Saltz, a longtime member of the Bristol music scene. “I wanted to help a local charity. It all goes back to my being an addict.”

As reflected in some of the songs he’s written, Saltz readily speaks of the darkened times of his drug addiction. He eventually did time in jail as a result of his drug addiction.

“Once I got out of jail, (Bristol musician) J.P. Parsons and the community in Bristol were really supportive,” Saltz said. “Well, I want to give back. Spence Flagg (who owns The Cascade Draft House) wanted me to do an event on race weekend.”

NASCAR’s Cup series wheels to Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night, Sept. 17, for the 500-lap Bass Pro Shops Night Race. Consequently, Saltz decided to field a benefit for Speedway Children’s Charities, whose mission statement in part says: “Our mission is that every child has the same opportunities no matter what obstacle they are facing.”

“Donations are accepted at the show and appreciated,” said Johnny Cox, lead guitarist in the Zak Saltz Band. “Three or four grand would be great. If a dollar goes to a kid, then it’s a success. If $10,000 goes to a kid, then that’s a great success.”

Three or perhaps four race cars and their drivers will be on hand during Rhythm & Racing.

“We’ll have super-street, vintage and open-wheel modified cars,” Saltz said. “The cars and drivers will be there on display.”

Late model driver Brian Smith and Sportsman pilot Alex Keith number among the drivers slated to appear. The cars will be parked in Cascade’s lot, which will also feature a large stage made for the event.

Marques Puckett & 8 Second Ride, established about a year ago as a band based on 1990s-era country music, will open the show.

“Talented band,” Saltz said. “Marques is a great front man. Highly entertaining.”

Also based in country, Holly Ann leads Dirt Road Rising. With a nod to tradition, the band widely encompasses contemporary slants in country music.

“She has an angel’s voice,” Cox said.

The Zak Saltz Band headline. In addition to Saltz as the lead singer and songwriter, Cox plays lead guitar, Will Dowell mans bass, and Waylon Lewis keeps time on drums.

“Playing music means everything,” Cox said.

They’re steeped in blends of guitar-soaring Southern rock and deeply rich outlaw-styled country. As reflected in their EP “Tired of Waiting,” the Zak Saltz Band evokes atmospheres of emotive beauty and points made for considerable contemplation.

“We are releasing a new single,” Saltz said. “It’s called ‘Virginia.’ It will be available on all streaming and download sites on Sept. 20.”

Hear it first on Friday during Rhythm & Racing. A volume still wet from the ink applied, Saltz’ ever-unfolding story spreads wide for public consumption in his songs. Odes to his previous life include “The Man I Used to Be.” It’s a freeing thing, such revelations.

“You have no idea,” Saltz said. “Like when you play a gig, you’re pumped up. You can’t sleep that night. Music will give you so many different feelings. You can be happy. You can be sad. We’re talking about making this an annual event.”

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