Coldwater Jane

Country Spotlight: Coldwater Jane

August 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm , by

MarionetteWhen I first met Coldwater Jane (sisters Brandon Jane and Leah Crutchfield) in June 2010, we were headed to a volunteer afternoon at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. We all emerged a few pounds lighter (it was very hot in there) and I left very impressed at how how much fun they managed to have that day while also getting a lot of hard work done. Today’s release of their long-awaited debut CD Marionette proves to be another testament to this duo’s ability to put their heads down and get the job done, all while having some fun along the way.

One listen to the quietly defiant opening lines of “Tough As Nails” lets you know what these sisters from Lucedale, Mississippi, are made of: “They can tell me they don’t want me / They can tell me I’m not what they’re looking for / Believe me, honey, it ain’t the first time / It’ll mess with your head, but it ain’t broke me yet.” Don’t be fooled by the pretty music that those lyrics waltz across, sung in a palpably dogged vocal: These two ain’t messing around.

… Unless, of course, they’re answering a few questions for me for the Ladies’ Lounge. Brandon was my willing victim today, gamely matching my Monday silliness and even throwing down a dance challenge of her own to me. Read on after the video of Brandon and Leah’s LHJ performance to find out what the challenge is and how you can be a part of it as well!

So give us the Marionette CD elevator pitch: If you had to convince someone to buy the album in just the time it’d take to ride an elevator with them, what would you say?
It’s a heartfelt record from front to back, written by two honest girls about their lives. Joy, pain, heartbreak. It’s all there. We held nothing back.

I love the fact you two have written or cowritten every single song on the album. Was that a goal you had from the beginning or just the way the album shaped up?
I don’t know if it was a goal as much as we are two women with a lot to say! We could’ve written two albums’ worth between the two of us!

Which track was the most challenging one on the CD for you to write?
“Tough as Nails.” It took about five days for us to finish that song. It’s such an honest depiction of how we both have felt about our careers. It was like an open wound. Lots of choking back tears on that one.

Do you do any covers when you perform live and, if so, which ones are your favorites and would you consider putting them on a follow-up CD?
Oh, yes! We do “If I Needed You,” by Emmylou Harris—and “Red Dirt Girl”. I would love to record those. That is a great idea!! Maybe album #2—thanks, Ron! I also want to do a bluegrass version of Beyoncé‘s “Single Ladies”. Haven’t gotten Leah on board with that one yet.

In my head I’m hearing a killer cover of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” from you two. Should I give up on that dream now, or what do I need to do to bribe you to do it?
OMG! That is so freaking weird. We used to cover that song with our old band! Come to a show and we will whip it out just for you! I love that Carly uses the rhyme of apricot and gavotte in that song. What does gavotte mean? And how do you spell it?! [Editor's note: Gavotte is spelled as such, and you can listen to Carly herself explain what it is here.]

Interview continued after the jump

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LHJ / CMT Do Good Volunteer Day at Second Harvest

June 16, 2011 at 9:15 am , by

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Crystal Bowersox and Brian Walker at Second Harvest.

For the second year in a row, Ladies’ Home Journal kicked off CMA Music Festival week by hosting a volunteer afternoon at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. This year, though, the afternoon also served as a kickoff for our brand spankin’ new partnership with CMT One Country. Click here to read about how our partnership’s Do Good Rewards program can lead to you winning a trip to the CMT Music Awards in Nashville next year!)

We had some amazing musical talent lending us their muscles and elbow grease for the afternoon, including Steel Magnolia, Jimmy Wayne, Crystal Bowersox, Carter’s Chord, Margaret Durante and Coldwater Jane. Along with reps from both LHJ and CMT, these artists donated some of the very little free time they had during their frenetic week to sweat alongside us prepping supplies for Feeding America‘s BackPack program, which was designed to meet the needs of hungry kids at times when other resources aren’t available (such as weekends and school vacations). By the afternoon’s end, our volunteers had prepped 2,107 bags of food for the program! At the CMT Awards the next night, other musical acts signed some symbolic bags to be auctioned off to raise more funds for the program, to which CMT makes a generous donation in lieu of those pricey artist gift bags other awards shows usually give out.

To keep the spirit of our volunteer afternoon alive, LHJ and CMT are now partnering up for a Do Good Summer Virtual Food Drive. If you’re able, we’d love it if you could contribute to it, which will then in turn provide much needed food to programs such as the BackPack effort. Any amount is greatly appreciated. Of course, if you’d like to volunteer at a Feeding America food bank, that’s another great way to do good and make a difference. As you can see from the slideshow below (with Carter’s Chord’s “Love a Little Bigger” as a musical background), our volunteer afternoon was a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun. Click here to find the nearest food bank in your area. Be sure to let us know how it goes!

For more pictures from our volunteer event, additional info on the BackPack program and stats from Second Harvest, read on after the jump.

All photos by John Russell.

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Do Good Country Spotlight: Help Feed Middle Tennessee

June 23, 2010 at 10:46 am , by

Earlier this month, I wrote about my pending trip to Nashville to soak up the CMA Fest and to volunteer with hot country duo Coldwater Jane at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Despite the stifling temperatures outside, Coldwater’s Brandon Jane, Leah Crutchfield and I all had a blast sorting through and boxing up close to 12,000 pounds of food with the rest of our top-notch volunteer group. The three of us left incredibly inspired by the Second Harvest team and amazed at the never-ending great work they do. (Special shout-outs to our group leaders Ben and Toni!) Check out this video to get more details on what we humbly did that afternoon and how rewarding an experience it was. You also get to hear Coldwater Jane’s addictive track “Bring On the Love” and see ’em in action.

And just in case you haven’t donated yet to our online food drive for Second Harvest, please consider doing so. (It’s up and running through July 30.) Though the floods were in early May, the area will be in recovery mode for quite some time. Middle Tennessee’s Davidson county is battling $2 billion in damages alone. Across the state, more than 11,000 homes and business have suffered extensive damages and many families have been displaced.

Second Harvest itself was partially flooded and had no electricity for several days, which resulted in the loss of $200,000 worth of perishable food. Their Kids Café and BackPack Program, which provides low-income kids with nutritious meals and snacks, were both temporarily interrupted. According to Second Harvest, the number of people seeking emergency food has increased by 50 percent after the floods and those numbers sadly don’t seem to be waning.

Here’s the good news, though: Just $6.25 helps to serve 24 meals, so it’s easy to help make a big difference. Please do, if you can, by clicking here and donating.

My thanks to Coldwater Jane for their hard work (and laughs), and to everyone at Second Harvest for all of their help in setting up our volunteer session and food drive, especially Meghan, Heidi, Heather, Ben and Toni. Keep up the great work!


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