© 2012 Idaho Press-Tribune
NAMPA — Friday evening marked the first of what organizers hope will be an annual event at the Snake River Stampede: A domestic violence awareness night.
Canyon County Sheriff’s Office detective Kieran Donahue and his wife Jeanie operated a booth to promote their Man Up Crusade program. Rodeo goers throughout the Idaho Center wore purple to show their solidarity with victims of domestic violence. Little Rock, Ark.-based country band Riverbilly performed a free concert featuring their song “Like Father, Like Son,” which tells the story of a boy who grew up in an abusive home but vowed to never become like his father.
The song is a bit of a downer, but as they prepared to go on stage, the Riverbilly guys weren’t worried about killing the evening’s festive spirit.
“It’s going to be a rocking party all night,” band member Brad Rickett said before the show. “And that song just happens to be one of our slow ballads, just like when you go see someone else in concert. They have that slow time. It’s not going to hinder anything, it’s going to deliver a message.”
Aleshea Lind-Boals of the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office and Jackie Smith of the Prosecutor’s Office used Riverbilly’s song in a video showcasing crime scene photos from local domestic violence cases. The video so impressed the bands members that they came to Nampa to express their thanks.
“I think it was an honor for Aleshea and the Canyon County people just to pick our song,” Rickett said. “And once we saw the DVD that we put to it, there was no question that we needed to go to Idaho.”
It’s an issue they feel strongly about, Riverbilly member Travis Caudell said, and their conviction increases every time they perform it. They can see how people react to the song in the audience, and occasionally hear victims’ stories about how it changed their lives.
Rickett told the tale of an email the band received, in which a woman told them “Like Father, Like Son” gave her the courage to leave her abusive relationship. She’d never heard of Riverbilly before she saw them perform the song on TV, Rickett recalled, but she packed up and left that very night. Two days later, she got to a computer and sent the message.
And, Caudell said, the victims aren’t the only ones whose lives they hope they’re touching.
“I think there’s those guys out there that are actually doing the abusing,” he said. “And I’m thinking, I bet that’s the longest song of their life. They’re sitting there thinking, ‘That’s me. I do that. I get mad and I beat my wife.’ I hope it might get one of them to wake up and be like, ‘Baby, I’m sorry.’”