TVD Live from the
Blue Carpet: Light Up The Blues Benefit at the Greek Theatre, 4/22

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Autism, a largely misunderstood developmental disorder affecting a range of issues from social skills to speech, affects 1 in 36 children in the US today. After a pandemic hiatus, Stephen and Kristin Stills annual Light Up The Blues charity concert finally returned to The Greek Theater in Los Angeles for its 6th year. All proceeds of the show went to Autism Speaks.

The Stills created Light Up The Blues to support other parents in need, as their own child Henry was born autistic. Hosted by comedian Jeff Garlin and actress Camryn Manheim, this year’s lineup featured veteran Light Up The Blues performers Neil Young, who also has children on the Autism spectrum, Joe Walsh, Willie Nelson, and Stephen Stills.

Always a generational family affair, Lukas Nelson + his band Promise of the Real and Chris Stills shared the bill with their legendary fathers. This year’s performers with autism were rapper Soulshocka, opera singer Amanda Anderson, and singer/guitarist Will Breman with indie-folk star Sharon Van Etten making a guest appearance.

We caught up with a few Light Up The Blues folks on the “Blue Carpet” before the show. Even famed ‘60s/’70s photographer, Henry Diltz, stopped by for The Stills’ family photo shot.

Stephen and Kristen Stills | Stephen Stills told us that when thinking of autistic people he started to realize that some of the best people are on the spectrum. “There’s something going on with everybody. We need more tolerance and inclusion,” he said. “Inclusion, kindness, and celebrating people’s differences,” are the themes of the night’s show Kristen told us.

With the recent passing of CYSN member/co-founder of The Byrds, David Crosby’s, son and fellow musician James Raymond stopped with his daughter Gracie Ray to talk with us. “She lets me produce once in a while and we co-write a lot of stuff together,” Raymond said of her emerging music career.

Chris Stills | “It’s a pleasure to have Willie and everybody—James, Lukas, and Micha. Hopefully next year we will get some of the other Stills out here, but I think they have us outnumbered. It’s really cool to see the music passed down and being able to share it with everyone on stage tonight,” Chris Stills said, holding the hand of his young son in a satin jacket, who he mentioned was his manager.

As Light Up The Blues fell on Record Store Day, I asked Stills what his favorite records were. “I love a good Nick Drake on vinyl. Pet Sounds is a great one, Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall, Bob Marley and the Wailers, CSN—there’s so many.” Stills will be joining Ryan Adams & the Cardinals on tour this summer as a Cardinal he told us.

Will Breman | We asked autistic performer and semifinalist on The Voice, Will Breman, how he thought autism has impacted his music. “Growing up it was hard to really socialize and connect with people my age, and so I didn’t have a lot of friends. Music became my limited interest. It’s a place to really be able to express a lot of feelings and emotions that otherwise wouldn’t come naturally to me through words. I wouldn’t be who I am without it,” he shared. Breman has a new single “Craters and Canyons” out now and a new album releasing on June 16th.

Camryn Manheim | Co-host and Law & Order: SVU actress Camryn Manheim took sign language just to get into college and it spurred a lifelong journey as a deaf advocate and interpreter. “When I became a well-known actor, I always requested storylines with deaf people. I keep advocating not just for deaf people, but for all kinds of people,” she told us.

But what about her vinyl collection? “I was just looking through my vinyl collection yesterday with my son and amongst the Paul Robeson, the Pete Seeger, and Arlo Guthrie, I’m like—take a Donovan record…you are going to like this!”

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