Charlotte's music community took a huge hit Friday when local musician Rodney Lanier died suddenly after a short battle with cancer. Lanier was a member of Jolene, Sea of Cortez, and played with numerous other bands over the years including Hard Times Family, gogo Pilot, Lodestar, Eleventeen, and Virginia Reel. He worked at Evening Muse in NoDa. News of his illness was met with an outpouring of support from the community. A show Sea of Cortez booked at Chop Shop in October quickly exploded into an all-star benefit that included a Jolene reunion and drew over 600 people throughout a very cold, rainy Halloween weekend night. The footage above is from that event and although the sound's not the best, you can see Rodney (in the trucker hat) on stage. That event alone raised $12,000.
I didn't know Rodney well, but he was one of those people you instantly liked and enjoyed seeing out. He always smiled and said hello and sometimes chatted a bit. In my mind I thought of him as Rodneybear - one of the many nicknames friends bestowed on him - because he was so sweet and likeable. I honestly don't know anyone that didn't like him - as evidenced by his Oso Grande benefit in October looking like a reunion of almost everyone I've ever met in the music scene in Charlotte.
Facebook and Twitter have been abuzz with his passing since yesterday. I've received texts and calls from friends sharing their concern and devastation. "Shuffle Magazine's" John Schacht posted a personal piece about Rodney this morning with some lovely photos by Daniel Coston. You can read it here.