They don't sing or play guitar, but Joe and Ann Parsons are two of the most familiar faces on the Texas country music scene. Joe hosts open mike shows each Tuesday at the Firehouse Saloon and every Wednesday at Blanco's. He also ramrods the River Oaks Music Festival. Whether writing his straight-talkin' e-mail bulletins or organizing live shows or just two-steppin' across the state's numerous honky-tonks, the Old Fud with Mustache and the Cute Little Wire-Haired Lady -- Joe's colorful language, not ours -- are leaders in promoting a Texas alternative to mainstream country music. Unfortunately there's been a hitch in their git-along lately: Ann has been diagnosed with lung cancer and has started chemotherapy. It naturally has curtailed their clubhopping, not to mention the time they spend promoting the music they love.

So now the local community is giving back some love to Ann and Joe, in the form of a daylong benefit. For a $10 cover, you'll be able to hear Davin James, Clay Farmer, the Tequila Cowboys, Mark Zeus and the Thunderboltz, the Stringbenders, the Earl Sanders Jr. Band, the Romeo Dogs, Tommy Alverson, Ed Burleson, Adam Carroll, Two Tons of Steel, John Evans, River West, Kenefick, Nathan Daniel, Jennifer Fitts and some out-of-town surprise guests. There's a growing alternative country scene in Houston. This is your chance to hear many of its top musicians and do a good deed at the same time. Everyone, after all, benefits when Joe and Ann Parsons are on the scene.

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Aaron Howard