Musical pals team up to help sidelined Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Chris Buhalis
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com file photo
In April, Buhalis, a carpenter by day, seriously injured his left hand in an altercation with a table saw and has been unable to work. In order to help him with his medical and other bills, several of his musical friends will offer a benefit concert appropriately titled “With a Little Help from My Friends“ at The Ark Sunday night. All proceeds from the show will go to Buhalis and his family.
Performers include Mark “Mr. B” Braun, David Barrett, Annie and Rod Capps, Jason Dennie, Gemini, Shari Kane and Dave Steele, Dave Keeney, Jan Krist and Jim Bizer, Peter Madcat Ruth, Kevin Meisel, Mustard's Retreat, Jay Stielstra and Judy Banker, and Paul Tinkerhess. Johnny Williams will MC.
“I am amazingly fortunate, actually,” an upbeat Buhalis said a few days ago. ““I hit the nerve, the tendon and the bone, but didn’t destroy any of them. I got my thumb and three of my fingers in the blade, not my hand.”
He said he cut his middle finger (the one he uses for fret work) right down the middle from the tip to almost to the second knuckle. “Honestly, when I was waiting for the ambulance, I was convinced that finger was gone. I thought I would just have to deal with it. I still can’t believe it’s there.”
Buhalis said he is currently in occupational therapy, and the prognosis is good, although it will be a while before he can perform again.“I wouldn’t even want to speculate,” he said. “It’ going to be months. It’s been two and a half months now and it will be at least that before I can even think about picking up a guitar and pressing on the strings. I don’t have fingertips yet.”
He said he is grateful for the support his fellow musicians and others have shown, not only for the upcoming Ark show, but for other benefits that have already taken place.
“Man, the musical community in this town and the community in general—it’s kind of what we do,” he said. “The support here has just been amazing. It’s easy to get jaded on humanity if you only watch the news. It’s easy to remember all the bad things in the world.
"This whole thing has kind put things in perspective about what’s really important. I’m really fortunate—I have great family and great friends. I am genuinely feeling gratitude, even when it hurts. I know the middle finger is there and it feels good.”
Blues guitarist Shari Kane, who will play at the benefit with her partner, guitarist Dave Steele, said that they are delighted to be able to help out a friend in need.
“(Chris) stands up for the good, for the true. He makes us remember how much better this world can be, just by being him. When his hand heals, and he gets out to play his next show, we'll be there,” Kane said.