It’ll take more than a global pandemic to postpone Hot Stove Cool Music, the charitable concert series whose proceeds this year will benefit kids and families in Chicago and Boston neighborhoods that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
The first-ever virtual Hot Stove show — kicking off Thursday at 8 p.m. on YouTube — certainly isn’t lacking for talent, with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, James Taylor, Common, the Dropkick Murphys, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Nick Lowe, Kay Hanley, Bill Janovitz, Tanya Donelly, and Nada Surf all joining the fun.
Tickets are on sale at ftbnl.org, starting with a $5 donation. VIP tickets ($350) will get you into a virtual preshow reception with writer/actor Mike O’Malley, Hot Stove cofounder and former Globe sportswriter Peter Gammons, and assorted other Hot Stove stars. (An auction of sports and music memorabilia is live now at ftbnl.org.)
It’s hard to believe, but Hot Stove Cool Music is celebrating its 20th year. Begun in 2000 by Gammons and former Boston Herald sportswriter Jeff Horrigan, Hot Stove Cool Music now benefits Theo and Paul Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later, which funds programs for kids and families in underserved neighborhoods in Boston and Chicago.
“This all started when Jeff suggested we do some kind of charity event and said ‘How about a golf tournament?’” says Gammons. “I don’t like golf, but I do like music, so we started the concerts.
“I’ll tell you, it’s really nice, especially at my age, to do things that are worthwhile,” says Gammons, who turned 75 in April.
The need to stage the event virtually posed significant technical challenges, but organizers were able to figure it out.
While JT, Tedeschi and Trucks, and the Dropkicks have performed at Hot Stove before, this will be a first for Tyler and Common.
“Someone reached out to Tyler and asked if he’d be interested and, yes, indeed, he was interested,” says Gammons. “It was a huge surprise.”
Thursday’s impressive lineup also includes The Nielsen Trust (featuring Rick and Daxx Nielsen of Cheap Trick), Will Dailey, Band of Their Own (featuring Hanley, Donelly, and Gail Greenwood), former Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo, former Yankee Bernie Williams, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and Jason Narducy.