Jimmy Landry celebrates another year of life with 'Birthday Bash'

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News
Black Mountain singer-songwriter Jimmy Landry will celebrate his 11th birthday since being diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2008 with his Annual Birthday Bash at the White Horse on Oct. 5.

Two things are particularly precious to Jimmy Landry — music and life itself. 

When he takes the stage at White Horse Black Mountain, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, he’ll celebrate one with the other.

Jimmy Landry’s 11th Annual Birthday Bash recognizes the Black Mountain artist’s latest birthday after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2008. The event features performances by Landry, who invites friends from the music scene to join him each year; the upcoming show will include Chris Rosser and Wes Collins. 

“I was told I had six months to live,” said Landry, who responded to the diagnosis with a dramatic lifestyle change that included a vegan diet and regular exercise. “And here I am today getting ready for another birthday bash.”

While continuing to defy the odds associated with the condition, Landry faced down another challenge in April of 2018, when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. 

The diagnosis not only removed him for the heart donor list, it forced him to undergo low-dose radiation treatment in Chapel Hill. While undergoing the treatment, Landry immersed himself in the local music scene and was reinvigorated as a songwriter. He was declared cancer-free by the end of the year. 

During that time he met Collins.

“I connected with him in the first week that I was in Chapel Hill last summer for cancer treatment,” Landry said. “He was a big part of my ‘medicine’ by encouraging and supporting my songwriting.”

Collins has won numerous songwriting awards, including a grant from the N.C. Arts Council. He co-wrote a song with Black Mountain singer-songwriter David LaMotte called "You May Do That," which appears on each of their most recent albums.  

Rosser produced both of Collins’ albums and Landry’s “Life Is Good” project. He’s a well-known singer-songwriter and a member of world fusion trio Free Planet Radio. 

“I’m guessing he’ll be playing a bunch on Oct. 5,” Landry said. 

Landry moved to Black Mountain in the early 1990s and was an instrumental figure in the emergence and growth of the Grey Eagle music venue, which moved to Asheville in 1998. He was a familiar face in the McDibbs Music Hall, which was once in the space currently occupied by the Veranda Cafe and Gifts. 

The White Horse has hosted his annual Birthday Bash since the celebration began. 

“I’m excited for this show,” Landry said. “I’m excited for each day and this event is a great way to share that with everyone.”

Tickets for Jimmy Landry’s 11th Annual Birthday Bash are available in advance at whitehorseblackmountain.com for $18, or on the day of the show for $20.