Steel Magnolia

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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Country Spotlight: Steel Magnolia

January 11, 2011 at 11:11 am , by

SM_WP02_800x600You know it’s a good day at the office when multiple staffers report getting the chills and having the hair on their arms stand up during a guest musical performance. So far the count is up to three thanks to Steel Magnolia’s Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones, who stopped by the LHJ offices yesterday on the eve of the release of their self-titled debut CD. The album is a fun, fresh-sounding collection of addicting tunes featuring their trademark powerhouse vocals, which have just garnered them a second ACM Top New Vocal Duo or Group nomination. (Fan voting begins on Thursday, January 27, at VoteACM.com.)

“We wanted to make a record that people would leave in their player for six months. To have on repeat,” Jones says of the debut record (in stores today), which is the result of a multifaceted relationship formed years ago with Linsey when they were both solo artists in Nashville. The duo penned the song “Edge of Goodbye” with a mutual friend and had started performing it together at writers nights when Steel Magnolia began to blossom. “People had to tell us, ‘You guys are great together. You should be a duo,’ ” Linsey remembers. “We were just, like, huh? I don’t think you ever think about that as a solo artist. You really have to push your ego aside and [think about] what’s the best thing for the music and the sound.”

The switch in career focus from me to us was admittedly tricky for Jones as well. “I had to check my ego, man,” he says. “I had my own band and I had to kind of swallow a dose of, okay, she makes things sound a lot better. She makes things better for me. In a duo or in a relationship, if you’re really going to make things work you have to start putting the other person first. When two people can come together, agree to do that and start working toward the same goal, that’s when the magic starts. It’s a real blessing that we found a sound—our sound—together.”

“It’s funny,” Linsey adds, “now I can’t even imagine being on stage without him. I’d feel naked. It’s a weird thing.” Weird, maybe. Entertaining, definitely. Their nabbing the second season title of CMT’s Can You Duet is a testament to that. And you can also watch their performance at LHJ and judge for yourself.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LKAI6Rsj7M

Continue on after the jump to read about everything from the surprises you can expect from their live shows to their dream musical collaborations, the one thing that really drives Jones crazy and what he says you should never underestimate about Linsey.

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