Airdrie’s Flaysher – a local country band comprising the Flaysher brothers – is hoping to provide a light in the darkness of midwinter for those suffering with depression or suicidal thoughts.
The country music duo will be holding their annual concert to raise awareness and money for suicide prevention at the King Eddy in downtown Calgary on Jan. 28.
This year, the brothers, (Ryan and Brad), will also be welcoming special guest David Boyd James for his first ever live concert in Alberta, and will be raising money for the Airdrie-based Thumbs Up Foundation.
The “One More Light” concert is deeply personal for the brothers, said Brad, who lost his best friend Dakota to suicide in 2021.
“Ryan and I began putting this together only months after he passed,” Brad explained. “He was my best friend of 13 years, and he took his own life Jan. 21, 2021.”
Brad said Flaysher decided to work on the event this year with the Thumbs Up Foundation, which is a local non-profit that raises awareness of mental health issues and works to help those having suicidal thoughts, over their mutual Airdrie connection and the fact the Thumbs Up Foundation founders, the Titus family, lost their son Braden to suicide.
“It is a very deep connection, and it is a cause we are very passionate about,” Brad said, referring not only to Dakota but also the duo’s cousin Tyler, who similarly took his own life in 2014. “We are also particularly excited to kind of have a bunch of like-minded individuals in the same room. Last year was a really beautiful experience, and we are looking forward to building onto it even more this year.”
Among the beliefs they share with the Titus family, said Ryan, is that music can help banish the darkness of depression and act as a form of therapy for those feeling wrung out by their mental struggles.
“They really believe the same as we do – that music can bring people together and it is kind of a magical thing,” he confirmed. “We both share the belief music can be one of those cures to assist someone who’s going through a dark time.”
Last year, “One More Light” raised $4,000. But according to Brad, while the concert came together because of a tragedy, it is intended to be a celebration – a light in the gloom and depression of midwinter.
“(Dakota and Tyler’s) light shone so bright,” he said. “They were a light in the room. They liked having a couple of drinks … Music was very strong in their lives, and the event is actually a very bright celebration of the people in the room, and the people we lost early.”
Kim Titus, co-founder of the Thumbs Up Foundation, said it is wonderful to be coming together with Flaysher this year for the “One More Light” concert fundraiser.
“Our family and Thumbs Up are beyond grateful for the support we receive from people like the Flayshers and others,” she stated. “Not just financially but all the other levels as well – trust, emotionally, etc. It epitomizes ‘grassroots’ at its finest.
“It is symbolic of the connectedness we have in our community on so many levels. One of our hashtags is #inittogether and that support means we all get the importance of that.”
For more information on the Thumbs Up Foundation, visit thethumbsupfoundation.com.