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John Lamb, Published July 04 2012

In Conner's honor: Downtown venues holding benefit for local musician who died last month

FARGO – When Cody Conner died last month, the local music community was stunned.

In an odd way, it was a fitting response. When people saw the guitarist play in Moody River Band, Bad Mojo or just solo, that’s how they watched – stunned by his quiet presence, yet eloquent playing. If they weren’t sucking down a beer at the time, their mouth was likely hanging open in slack-jawed wonder as Conner’s fingers glided up and down the fret board, effortlessly playing blues-based jams.

Conner didn’t say much, he just let his fingers do the talking.

It was only a few days after his death, however, before the scene started making some noise to honor their departed friend with an open jam at Dempsey’s – a feature Conner often hosted.

This weekend the music and love for the late artist spills out up and down the streets of Fargo in a downtown-wide benefit. Dempsey’s, The Aquarium, The VFW, The HoDo, Sidestreet Grille and Pub and the Pickled Parrot all host a variety of bands to play in Conner’s honor.

From electro DJs to solo folk acts, hippie jams and blues shuffles, Conner’s contemporaries will play tribute to their friend. Don’t be surprised to hear songs by his favorite artist, Otis Redding, more than a couple of times throughout the night.

Things get rolling at 5 p.m. and don’t stop until around 11. The lineups, from openers to closers, are:

A silent auction at the VFW includes concert ticket packages to WE Fest, Moondance Jam, Fargo Blues Fest, and Jade Presents shows, a vintage 1966 guitar, a night at the Hotel Donaldson and works by area artists and gift certificates to local salons, restaurants, bars.

A $5 donation is suggested, with proceeds going to help cover funeral expenses and establish a non-profit in Conner’s memory to benefit area youth through music scholarship funds and access to instruments and training. The fund has been started at Gate City Bank.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533