CMA Music Festival

Do Good Country Spotlight: LHJ/Second Harvest Virtual Food Drive

June 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm , by

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In Middle Tennessee, folks are still suffering through the aftereffects of widespread flooding that occurred after May’s record-breaking rainfall devastated the area. In addition to close to two dozen deaths, there’s been an estimated $1.5 billion in damages and the recovery process is going to be a long one—expected to be one of the costliest in U.S. history. Many people didn’t have flood insurance and have lost most of everything they had.

Through it all, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee has shifted into high gear despite having its operations compromised for a few days itself. They’ve already distributed more than 500,000 pounds of food in the wake of the floods and, as they so eloquently put it, they “remain focused on doing what we do best: getting food, water and basic necessities to hungry people.” Of the 46 counties the Bank serves, 31 had been declared federal disaster areas so you can imagine their intensified need for food donations, monetary contributions and volunteers.

CWJ_H4-3_GP_300cmykWell, they’ve got my support. I’m heading down to Nashville next week for the CMA Music Festival and I was happy to schedule some time to volunteer. I’ve even invited sisters Brandon Jane and Leah Crutchfield—country music’s Coldwater Jane (left)—to roll up their sleeves and join me for an afternoon in the Second Harvest warehouse. (Good news: They’re in!) What we need to do now, though, is make sure there’s an ample amount of food to sort through and box up. That’s where you come in.

No matter where you live, we’ve made it easy for you to help us help Second Harvest. All you have to do is click here to donate to Ladies’ Home Journal’s virtual Middle Tennessee Food Drive. Any amount you can spare to give will be greatly appreciated. Got $6.25? With that small amount, you can help serve 24 meals!

Thanks in advance for your generosity. And if you live in Nashville or happen to be visiting anytime soon, check out the amazing Hands On Nashville website, which makes it easy to find other worthwhile volunteer projects that are helping to rebuild the area.

For a little inspiration in the meantime, crank up your computer volume and rock out to Coldwater Jane’s “Bring On the Love” video, after the jump. Read more


Country Spotlight: Jo Dee Messina

April 30, 2010 at 10:24 am , by

JoDeeheadshot.1I first became a grateful “Red Head”—that is, a Jo Dee Messina fan—back in the late 80s. It was during Nashville’s Fan Fair, the CMA Music Festival’s former incarnation. Jo Dee was a rising country music star and I was in the TNN booth as a guest of the now defunct music channel. After sneaking up behind an up-and-coming male artist (who shall remain nameless) Jo Dee playfully jabbed his backside with her pen, turned to me, caught my eye and let out her awesomely raspy, trademark laugh. Good times! I knew back then she was one to look out for—both literally and figuratively—and nearly 12 years later, she’s still turning heads.

This Tuesday marked the release of Unmistakable: Love, the first of three Jo Dee Trilogy EPs set to drop this year, with Drive and Inspiration to follow. Love offers seven new tracks and two live acoustic favorites (“Because You Love Me” and “Stand Beside Me”). It’s great to have Jo Dee’s distinctive vocals (and laugh) back on the scene after a frustratingly long six-year absence, and I’m particularly digging the slow-build on “Think About Us” and the buoyant and fresh-sounding waltz, “Unmistakable.”

I sat down to chat with Jo Dee before a recent show during a weeklong gig at New York’s Feinstein’s at Loews Regency club in March. We talked about her marriage, her baby boy Noah, her pregnancy ritual of watching Live! With Regis and Kelly and even her desire to run this year’s NYC marathon. But in the end, we kept coming back to the music. Now, Jo Dee isn’t shy about her struggles with the “business” side of the music business. And it’s a shame that a talent like hers has been lost in the shuffle for the better part of the past six years. When she hit the stage that night, though—man, did she sound good. Plus, she’s funny, able to laugh at herself and clearly dedicated to her music and her fans, both on and off the stage. (Check out her frequent Make Something of It call-in video podcasts.)

Let’s hope Trilogy puts the music industry on red (head) alert that Jo Dee is back and sounding as strong as ever. Highlights from our interview, after the jump.

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