An Americans dream come true

An Americans dream come true
The Americans will perform a benefit show for a fan with cancer on Saturday at Don the Beachcomber. (Cody Edison)

Mission possible.

That was the thought when rock 'n' roll band the Americans was approached to play a benefit concert for one of their devoted fans.


For four years, Gayle Krufal, 47, of Capistrano Beach has attended as many Americans shows as she could with her friends and family. She danced and sang along to the band's rockabilly and blues whenever it played in Long Beach or Huntington Beach. And she promoted the concerts by telling as many people as she could about them.

But in November, Krufal was diagnosed with colon cancer. The mother of three, who has undergone almost 30 chemotherapy treatments, will need to be evaluated to determine whether she will face more treatment or surgery.


That's when her friends rallied and got Krufal a surprise of a lifetime.


Best rockabilly band?

The Americans have attracted a wide audience and received accolades for their mix of bluegrass and rock.


The group, featuring Patrick Ferris, Zac Sokolow, Jake Faulkner and Tim Carr, formed five years ago in Los Angeles and has since garnered positive reviews.

The four won Orange County's Best Rockabilly Band contest at the Orange County fairgrounds in 2014, and they have toured the United States twice with Grammy- and Oscar-winning Ryan Bingham and released two albums.

They've performed on the "Late Show with David Letterman," at the AFI Film Festival and at the wedding of actress Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth.

They've also helped Johnny Depp on the actor's executive-produced "Son of Rogues Gallery," a two-disc collection of pirate ballads and sea chanties produced by Hal Willner. The Americans song "Sweet and Low" is featured on the album along with performances by Keith Richards, Tom Waits, Macy Gray and others.

But the immersion of the four musicians in the world of celebrity has not removed them from their fan base.

When they learned that one of their biggest fans was diagnosed with cancer, they decided to give her a unique night out.

"Gayle is a friend of ours," said Ferris, the band's vocalist and guitarist. "When we found out she had cancer, we wanted to help her out. She's always been so supportive of us."

To help raise funds for Krufal's treatments and show their appreciation for her support, the Americans will play a benefit show Saturday at Huntington Beach's Don the Beachcomber, where they have played shows in the past. Joining the lineup are blues musicians Nathan James and Greg Carroll. All proceeds will support Krufal's medical bills and related expenses.


Ferris said he and his bandmates plan to play a number of their new songs as well as any favorites that Krufal would like to hear.

Joy Gray, who has known Krufal for more than 20 years and become a close friend, recently contacted concert booker Ed Boswell of B&B's Musical Thrills to see if it was possible to coordinate a benefit concert. Once Boswell shared the idea with the Americans, he said, the band was quick to say yes.

"They're not just good, they're great," Boswell said. "Gayle is a really nice and sweet lady, so this is more of a celebration for her."

Gray echoed Boswell's words.

"She's their biggest fan," Gray said. "Every chance she gets to see them perform, she's there.

"She is probably one of the most giving persons I know, and she's always thinking of others. She has a tough time accepting this benefit is for her, because she is always the giver."


'Like a proud parent'

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday night, the Americans expect to be playing a standing-room-only concert where Krufal can bask in her favorite songs. Though her college-age children are away at school, Krufal said she will be joined by her closest friends and fellow admirers of the band.

It's a moment, she said, that will be special for her to enjoy since she has listened to the musicians since their beginnings.

"I feel like a proud parent celebrating their accomplishments and watching them grow as musicians," she said in an email.

Krufal, who works as a brand representative for an eyeglasses company, recalled the first time she heard the band perform, in Long Beach.

"Patrick's voice and range gave me goosebumps," Krufal said. "I knew these young men were special, and they have truly proven to be just that.

"I was overwhelmed with emotion and feel honored that they are playing. They are absolutely the nicest young men."

If You Go

What: The Americans benefit in support of Gayle Krufal

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Don the Beachcomber, 16278 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach

Cost: $10 to $150

Information: (562) 592-1321 or