Most country-music lovers who attended the 2012 Ram Jam all-star concert event in Nashville Saturday were just there for a rockin' good time. However, when American Idol alum Kellie Pickler took the stage, the evening took a remarkably emotional turn, showcasing a touching and personal moment between the star and her fans.
Right after performing her rollicking 2008 hit "Best Days Of Your Life," Pickler was approached by a woman in the audience who came up to the edge of the stage. Pickler knelt down and spoke quietly to her for a few minutes, then held the teary-eyed fan in a long embrace.
photos: Andrew H. Walker / Russ HarringtonPickler, herself appearing moved, announced to the crowd, "Her sister-in-law Kelly is a breast cancer survivor." Pickler recently shaved her head in support of her best friend who was diagnosed with the same condition, and has been advocating for cancer awareness as a result.
As the audience burst into applause, she added, "I'm gonna cry up here, thank you for sharing your story with me."
A male fan then called "Can I show you a picture, Kellie?" The singer walked over to the side of the stage and examined a shot on his cellphone. She then explained to the audience: "The gentleman was showing me a picture of his mother that had passed away with lung cancer. My grandmother that raised me and that I called mom--she died with lung cancer. She was diagnosed and died the very next morning."
"It's hard stuff," Pickler noted, addressing the fan in a faltering voice. "But your mother and my grandmother are upstairs partying--they're having a good time, they're not hurting."
Pickler then related to the crowd that a big reason why she loves country music so much is how it calls up strong emotions such as the ones witnessed that night. "I think the thing that makes country music so special is that behind every country song, there's a story," she said. "A story about someone's life, and what they've been through--good or bad. Maybe what they're going through now."
The 2012 Ram Jam concert was the culmination of the yearlong Ram Jam project, which spotlighted exclusive content from five country artists and earmarked funds for a variety of charities. The Zac Brown Band, Billy Currington, Brantley Gilbert, and Easton Corbin also participated in the event.