John Bullard has been in love with music ever since he could remember. As a child, he grew up listening to such staples as Cat Stevens and James Taylor, music his father would play for him, nurturing his fledgling music appreciation. "I can't play an instrument or anything, but music has always been my place of peace, really," says Bullard. "I really think people underestimate the power of music and [its ability] to bring people together and make a difference."
Today Bullard is an avid music supporter and frequent concert attendee. And this Saturday at Trees, the local music community, along with some pretty impressive national acts, will offer an opportunity to reciprocate their love and support for Bullard, through the Have a Heart benefit show.
This show is more festival than concert, featuring such noteworthy acts as headliners Beach Fossils, Indian Jewelry, Leon Bridges, Matthew and the Arrogant Sea, and one local band of whom Bullard is anxiously awaiting to see.
"I'm excited to see what the Dead Mockingbirds are gonna play," says Bullard. "They have a new album on the way that's released under the new local label, Moon Sounds Records, and they're supposed to play some new stuff off that album."
Bullard has struggled with cerebral palsy his entire life, but it has not impacted his infectiously positive spirit. He maintains a healthy and affirming outlook on life, one that entails living one day at time, and each day a little better than the one before.
He spends his time on some of his own writing, as well as reading an abundance of literature, particularly anything related to history. "I'm reading 1776 from David McCullough right now, about the Revolutionary War. I really like that kind of history."
But Bullard is also a local music aficionado, and demonstrates remarkable knowledge as he rattles off a list of shows he's seen just within the last few months.
"New Year's Eve we went to a show at Three Links that was pretty great. I think it was Virgin Wolves and the Quaker City Nighthawks," he says. "That was pretty great. The first small benefit that we had was International Bitterness Unit. I'm a huge Dallas fan, and I love those guys."
While his passion for music is nearly immeasurable, his mobility is extremely limited, and due to recent family matters, his brother has taken over as his primary caretaker. And although certain medical expenses are covered, there are necessities that are essential to Bullard's day-to-day life that has yet to be financially unburdened.
"You know my van that I ride in, that I have to go to therapy or to the doctor to, is pretty much not street legal," says Bullard. 'It doesn't have lockdowns or a proper lift, or anything like that. So I pretty much shouldn't be driving it."
Aside from the necessary van upgrades, there are other items vital for daily living that Bullard requires as well.
"Really, accessories for wheelchairs, things I need, has come out of my own pocket," says Bullard. "Lately, it's been my family that's having to pay for the stuff I need for daily living."
It was these medical expenses that lead longtime family friend, Jeffrey Brown of King Camel Productions, to step in and help put together this Saturday's Have a Heart benefit show, which they hope will be the first of many to come. Upon first learning of this Have a Heart in his honor, Bullard felt overwhelmingly touched.
"It's amazing. I can't believe what I'm seeing," says Bullard. "All the support and all the local bands coming together to help out and make a difference."
Bullard also initially had high hopes for a continual series of Have a Heart benefits for others in need of support and assistance.
"I hope it goes beyond me," Bullard explains. "I asked (Brown) if he was gonna do more because I wanna be a part of the others to make a difference. This concept of Have a Heart is just something that I really believe in, and really want to push and help spread and be a part of."
To Bullard, Brown possesses a big heart, and his respect and love for him and all of his hard work is evident.
"I've known Jeff Brown since we were kids, we've known each other forever. He knows some of the circumstances I go through, and he wanted to help," explains Bullard. "He always said he wanted to help in some way, and then when he started this new music thing, we all kind of got behind him. So he just wanted to do this to get back at me, and I was incredibly touched to be a part of it."
"I'm excited to see where he goes with it, what the next Have a Heart thing is gonna be and the next one after that, you know. I'm honored to help with it and to be a part of it."
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