Cowboy Take Me Away
What: Mack, Jack & McConaughey
The lowdown: On April 12, something remarkable happened at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. (And in a venue that’s seen its share of the remarkable, that’s really saying something.) The concert was part of an annual multiday event put on by Mack Brown, Jack Ingram, and Matthew McConaughey that includes a golf tournament, a fashion show, and star-studded concert. This year included performances by Patty Griffin, Ingram, and (in a musical coup) the currently off-tour Dixie Chicks.
At the beginning of the evening, VIP patrons — in a mix of boots and sequins — were treated to dinner and a live auction with “cowboy” auctioneers who taunted, teased, and thrilled the crowd into opening their wallets. Attendees bid on high-dollar items including a Maserati convertible and a private event at Austin’s Trail of Lights with Aaron Franklin, Radney Foster, and a bottle of Champagne for each of the hundred guests.
Before the main show, co-host Ingram quieted the crowd with his powerful rendition of “Tin Man,” a Grammy-nominated song he wrote with Miranda Lambert in 2015. McConaughey then took the stage to introduce the Dixie Chicks, enumerating their many awards and referring to them as the “biggest female band ever.” The trio kicked off their performance with "Taking the Long Way," which won the 2007 Grammy for Song of the Year, and proceeded to rock hit after hit, including "Wide Open Spaces," "Cowboy Take Me Away," and "Goodbye Earl," along with their cover of Stevie Nicks' "Landslide" and Bob Dylan's "Mississippi."
In an earlier interview, Brown hinted at a surprise special guest performance that would come later in the evening. Much to the crowd’s delight, McConaughey joined the Chicks for their final song, a rendition of Ben Harper’s "Better Way." Naturally, Matt played the bongos. The song and its sentiment were the perfect conclusion to a night that was not only incredibly entertaining but also a quintessential example of how stars can use their platform for good.
“The evening was a celebration, a toast to the heart behind MJ&M — the beneficiaries," said McConaughey in a release. "These organizations work tirelessly to empower kids and change lives, and we are honored to work with them. We are making a difference and the proof is in the numbers — kids’ lives are being saved."
Over the past six years, MJ&M has raised more than $8 million for charities including Dell Children’s Medical Center, HeartGift, CureDuchenne, just keep livin Foundation, and The Rise School of Austin. On April 17, the fundraiser announced that 2018 was its biggest fundraiser yet, with $2.25 million raised.
Who: Matthew McConaughey, Camilla Alves McConaughey, Jack Ingram, Mack Brown, Colt McCoy, Danneel Ackles, Amy Ingram, Tamera Mowry, Adam Housely, Turk Pipkin, and Rachel McCoy.