Rolling Stone has reported a new musical humanitarian event… and no, it doesn’t involve Bono.

Folk legend Woody Guthrie, who died of Huntingdon’s disease 40 years ago, will be honored at a concert benefitting those who suffer from the illness, a hereditary degenerative brain disorder that diminishes the ability to walk, think, talk and reason. There is currently no effective treatment or cure.

The concert, which will be held on Wednesday, October 17 in New York City, will be hosted by Tim Robbins and feature Steve Earle, Billy Bragg and Brad, the band formed in 1992 by Stone Gossard (guitarist for Pearl Jam) and vocalist Shawn Smith.

Gossard’s mother-in-law suffers from HD. “We have money and can hire a nurse to help my mother-in-law,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that can’t. My wife and I really wanted to be involved in something that raises money for people that need specific care and also helps out with research.”

Earle and Bragg, who recorded two albums of Guthrie covers, are still unsure about playing Woody covers at the benefit.

“I gotta go through Woody’s library a little more to see if there’s anything we can do. Right now I’m just desperately trying to learn Brad songs,” Gossard said. “We haven’t played together in three years.” Brad has just finished recording their fourth album and plan on touring after the benefit.

There will also be “surprise” guests at the concert, but their identities are to remain unknown until the night of the show.

“I can’t tell you who or else I’ll be in trouble,” Gossard added. “They just can’t commit publicly at this point.”

It seems odd to me to play a benefit concert in the name of Woody Guthrie and not know whether or not there will be Guthrie covers. I mean, is it really in the name of Guthrie and HD or is it just a Brad reunion concert? Really, fellas, let’s make up our minds here. If you don’t, I’m sure Susan Sarandon will show up alongside Robbins and give you an angry earful about what it means to be a true philanthropist. In all seriousness, though, kudos for doing something you love to stand up for a cause, boys.

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