The opening act for Clint Black's August 4 appearance in Hempstead Hall will be a well-known familiar face as 1995 Spring Hill High school graduate Jason Helms will take the stage.

The opening act for Clint Black’s August 4 appearance in Hempstead Hall will be a well-known familiar face as 1995 Spring Hill High school graduate Jason Helms will take the stage.
For Helms, who was appeared with such stars as Merle Haggard and Lee Ann Womack, it will be another day at the office.  As he says, “It is always fun to be up on stage and performing your music. It doesn’t matter if it is a crowd of 20 or 20,000. It is always good.”
Black, who has reached legendary status as a singer-songwriter, is one of Helms’ defining influences among many. Helms, himself, is an accomplished singer-songwriter, and as he takes the stage in an acoustic performance on Friday, he will be in his comfort zone.
“Oh yes, I wrote the songs, so I am very comfortable in an acoustic setting; in fact, I’ve written much of my work with an acoustic guitar,” he said.
Helms also has his own bragging rights; his song “My Kind of Woman,” which was recorded by Donny Lee Stricken won a prestigious independent Country music award in Nashville recently, and has been nominated for another one in December.
The acoustic format, which will be a minimalist performance, will basically be Helms with a guitar and microphone and his music, but that approach is ok with him.
“It actually fits into a project I am working on, which is bringing back an MTV Unplugged approach to music. I think acoustic performances work well with intimate audiences, and it really lets the song speak for itself without the loud guitars and stage theatrics. I am excited about the concept,” he said.
Helms, now 40, has performed locally since he was 13, even going back to the days of Hope’s legendary Sundowner, which is now Boonies Restaurant, and over the years, his band has performed through the Ark-La-Tex region and many places nationally, like Oregon and Colorado.
Helms will perform set of 8-to-9 songs prior to Black taking the stage, and he is equally comfortable as a minimalist as he is with a full on band performing in a place like Indianapolis.
“For me, an acoustic performance is getting back to basics, stripping it down to the song itself. It is a different kind of performance that completely changes the approach to the song,” he said.
“And every song is different; I don’t really write about one thing or another. I simply write about life. I look to write music that is fresh and new, but most of all, music that is honest,” Helms said.
Similar sentiments have been expressed by other singer-songwriters over the years as they describe their own music, most recently, Clint Black, who Helms opens for next Friday night.