Country music singer Melissa Bauer is trying to find her niche in Nashville, Tenn., but she returns to her hometown of St. Louis whenever possible.
Bauer booked a show at the Old Rock House near Busch Stadium for Saturday night, then she decided to add a second performance on Friday at American Legion Post 365 in Collinsville.
"Home is Where the Healing Begins" is a benefit for the Fisher House at Jefferson Barracks, a lodging facility for military families who have loved ones undergoing medical treatment at veterans hospitals.
"I come from a military family," said Bauer, 28. "Both of my grandfathers were in World War II. My father was in Vietnam. I had a cousin in Afghanistan. My best friend is an Army wife, and my boyfriend's brother did three tours in Iraq. It's a cause that's near and dear to my heart."
Local musicians -- including drummer Jeff Shanks, 45, of Swansea -- will join Bauer for the two shows.
Shanks helped Bauer make the decision to raise money for the Fisher House, which is similar to a Ronald McDonald House for military families.
"For me, watching (the organization's) video was a big selling point," Shanks said. "Actually seeing families sleeping in their cars because they couldn't afford hotel rooms ... that was a heart-puller for me."
On Friday night, Bauer will appear with special guest Billy Berry, a country singer from O'Fallon, Mo.
Bauer became involved in professional theater at 4, performing at The Muny and Fox Theatre.
She later studied business and songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston, moved to Nashville and became a member of the traveling singing Coyotes with the Coyote Ugly Saloon chain.
Today, Bauer has her own band in Nashville. She has opened for Brad Paisley, Josh Thompson, Terri Clark and LeAnn Rimes and released a three-song EP, "Back Here Under the Stars."
"We do country rock, but it's definitely rock- and blues-based," Bauer said. "We do a lot of Southern rock. We do a lot of 80s and 90s rock."
At a glance
What: Melissa Bauer benefit concert for Fisher House at Jefferson Barracks
Where: American Legion Post 365, Pine Room, 1022 Vandalia in Collinsville
When: 8 p.m. Friday; doors open at 7
Tickets: $12 at the door or $10 in advance at the American Legion, Two Guys Cooking in Mascoutah and Hometown Barber Shop in O'Fallon ($7 for active military with identification)
Information: Call 345-2508