Burr Bows American Idol Song for Cystic Fibrosis Kickoff

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced details of its second annual All Star Music Bash at a party held Thursday (Sept. 5) at the Nashville offices of ASCAP, the performance rights association. The announcement was highlighted with performances by singer-songwriters Richard Marx, Victoria Shaw, Gary Burr and Gary Harrison. Burr used the occasion to introduce “Before Your Love,” the new song he co-wrote for Kelly Clarkson, the winner of the TV talent search series, American Idol.

Officially labeled the Gibson/Baldwin All Star Music Bash, the fundraiser takes place Oct. 1 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville and will feature Marx, Clint Black , Steve Cropper, Emerson Drive, Keith Urban and Nick Lachey (of 98 Degrees), among others. The evening will begin at 5:30 with a cocktail reception and continue with a dinner, silent auction and concert. Last year’s festivities raised around $90,000.

Marx and his wife Cynthia are co-chairmen of the fundraiser’s planning committee. “This is a disease we’re going to see cured in our lifetime,” Marx vowed. He applauded Shaw as a forerunner in the fight against cystic fibrosis, noting that she had written the song “One Heart at a Time” [in 1998], rounded up the cast of stars to record and do a video for it and then donated her royalties to the cause.

Seated on stools, the four performers took turns singing some of their best-known songs to the crowd. “Since we’re in the house that Garth built,” Shaw began, referring to the building that was constructed on the heels of member Garth Brooks’ enormous commercial successes, “I thought maybe we should sing a song he recorded.” She sang “The River,” with Burr providing the vocal harmony.

“Gary’s going to do this song that I heard 9 million times the other night,” Marx kidded, introducing Burr and his winning composition for American Idol. “Tell me, Gary,” he continued, “is [runner-up] Justin [Gaurini] just as cute in person? There’s an Eddie Haskell thing going on there. There’s nobody that nice.”

“They’re just little puppies and puppettes,” Burr reported serenely. “I’m going to try to channel Kelly [Clarkson],” he continued, as he launched into “Before Your Love.” The song, which he co-wrote with Desmond Child and Cathy Dennis, will go on sale as a single Sept. 17. Marx then took his turn, singing his 1988 pop hit, “Endless Summer Nights.”

“This is one I wrote for my ex-wife,” Harrison intoned, as he picked the familiar opening notes to “Wild Angels.” “I’m serious. She got every penny of it.” Following Harrison’s rendering of his Martina McBride hit, Shaw sang “I Love the Way You Love Me,” her hit for John Michael Montgomery .

Before Burr could decide on his own next offering, Shaw pleaded for him to “sing a song we wrote.” He complied with “Nobody Wants to Be Lonely,” their tune that Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera recorded. (Child was also a co-writer.)

Marx followed Shaw’s example by asking Burr to sing with him one of their new compositions, a power ballad not yet recorded called “Every Second Counts.” “That was nothing if not loud,” said Marx at the conclusion of their duet. “It did have an enthusiasm that can’t be denied,” Burr agreed.

Harrison wrapped up the session with his “Wrong Side Of Memphis,” an early chart triumph for Trisha Yearwood .

“Is that it?” Marx asked, looking around the room. “Let’s sing ‘Kumbaya.’”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.