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I've done this job a long time and written far too many stories about benefits. I wish we didn't need to have them, but they do show how giving and loving people can be.

If you've been around the Chattanooga restaurant/bar/music scene for any length of time, you likely know Amy and Eric Nelson. Amy has been dealing with some health issues of late, and a bunch of people are getting together on Saturday, March 7, at Exile Off Main Street (great name, by the way) to play a little music, imbibe in some food and drink and sell a little art on her behalf.

"It means the world to me because it means I get to heal without worrying about going right back to work, which I would. I did the last time I was sick. I had to jump back into life," Amy said.

She lost her health insurance after her last battle with sickness, so she has to pay out of pocket for the medicines she needs, and this event will help, she said.

"But it means more to me knowing I have this kind of support. I'm the luckiest person in the world."

The event, called Straight From the Heart, will take place from noon to 7 p.m. and will feature a dozen or so bands. Scheduled to play are Tourist Trap, Changers, Lillian, Possible Side Effects, Sammy David, One Times, Ghetto Blasters, Pleezure Management, Dalahast, Mixed Signals, Rosey Grier and Matt Bohannon.

The event is being put together by Justin Savage, who, like a lot of people, has known Amy for many years.

"Amy is just an awesome person, so everybody wanted to do this. Plus, we all get to hang out and play music," Savage said.

Amy said she is feeling well enough to attend part of the event on Saturday, and is looking forward to saying 'Thank you' and "gently hugging some necks."

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Tickets are now on sale for The Drifters shows at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre on April 26. The band, known for such all-time classic hits as "Under the Boardwalk," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "This Magic Moment" and "Up on the Roof," will do two shows at 4 and 7:30 p.m.

Toni Williams will open the shows, which are being produced by Come Clean Entertainment.

Two years ago, Darryl Wheeler of Come Clean brought Martha Reeves and the Vandellas to the CTC, and he said that event was well- received so he wanted to bring in another classic R&B act.

Tickets are $40 and available through the theater. Moss's Place will provide dinner for an extra $15 if you want to go early.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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