Country Spotlight: Margaret Durante’s Nashville Diaries

July 15, 2011 at 9:36 am , by

Who hasn’t dreamed of rolling the dice and taking a shot at becoming a music superstar? It’s a fantasy most of us have probably entertained at one time or another—even if (like me) you couldn’t carry a tune if somebody wrapped it up and put it in a shopping bag with reinforced handles. That’s why we’ve talked singer-songwriter Margaret Durante into being LHJ’s lady on the inside. Margaret is one of Nashville’s freshest new talents and she’s currently living the dream. She’s also getting a taste of the heady highs and lonely lows that come along with living far away from home while she tries to get a high-profile music career off the ground. In a series of guest blogs exclusively for our Ladies’ Lounge readers, Margaret will allow us all to live vicariously through her whirlwind experiences, both onstage and off. Get to know Margaret in her introduction, below, then welcome her to the LHJ family, post a show of support and be sure to check back for further installments of her wild ride.

Hey, readers! My name is Margaret Durante and I’m thrilled that Ladies’ Home Journal is giving me the opportunity to offer you all a behind-the-scenes peek into my adventures down in Nashville. I’m just your average 23-year-old daughter/sister/granddaughter/niece/best friend who also happens to be chasing down my dream of living in Music City and making a name for myself in the crazy music industry. I currently have a single on the radio called “Maybe Tonight” and I’m finishing my first album after living here for four years.


Margaret at the LHJ/CMT event at the Second Harvest Food Bank.

There are four women in my family of five, so an issue of LHJ was never hard to come by in my house as I was growing up. Having the chance now to take you all along on the ups and downs of my musical journey is surreal, and it all started when I teamed up with the folks at LHJ this past June. I joined them at an event they cohosted with CMT One Country on the eve of the 40th Annual CMA Festival, during which 10,000 country music fans descend upon Nashville to attend concerts, meet-and-greets, fan luncheons and a ton of other crazy events that celebrate everything country. That week was a huge deal to me as I’m still fairly new to the scene. It was so great to kick off the week working alongside other artists at this incredible LHJ/CMT event, preparing backpacks of food at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee for hungry children who might not have the means to eat over the weekend or summer vacation. It was a wonderful way for us artists to remind ourselves that we are part of a community that can use our collective voices to call attention to helpful programs like this. (Click here if you want to help!)

Continue reading Margaret’s first installment after the jump …

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Do Good: Helping Middle Tennessee

May 5, 2010 at 11:56 pm , by

OpryStageDoor_fullsizeOur thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Nashville and middle Tennessee, who are still living in some pretty dicey conditions following this past weekend’s horrific flooding and tornadoes.

Due to damaged water plants, residents today were still being advised to use water for drinking, food prep and hand washing only. Amidst rumors that water will be cut off (it won’t be), there’s fear that people will start filling their tubs with water, only making the situation worse. In Davidson county, 450 roads have been damaged. About 8,000 bridges need to be inspected to be sure they’re safe to drive on. Tennessee’s governor has declared 52 counties disaster areas. People in Hickman County had no electricity, phone, cell or internet service) for four days, so they didn’t get warnings about needing to boil their water. Officials are now hoping there’s not a mass outbreak of illness there due to contaminated water consumption. In the end, it’s possible the cost of damage from the flooding could top $1 billion.

Even famed tourist locations like the Grand Ole Opry have been affected, and the sight of its famed stage door half covered by flooding (taken by Opry photographer Chris Hollo) has served as an iconic image of the disaster. But it’s more than the high-profile locations that need help. I checked back in with singer Jimmy Wayne, who was just outside Fort Sumner, Arizona, on his Meet Me Halfway walk, about the odds stacked against those already suffering before the storms. “What happened to Nashville and the surrounding communities this past weekend is tragic,” he says. “The city has been devastated. Some of those hardest hit are the homeless, many of whom lived by the river. They had nothing to begin with, and now even the soup kitchens that feed them are running low on food. So many communities are still under water and the people are suffering. Please do what you can to help those affected by the flood.”

Luckily, there’s been a lot of reports about the Nashville community and those around it rallying in very grassroots ways. A colleague of mine from the area tells me her neighborhood receives multiple alerts a day telling them where to go to help and what supplies to bring. I’ve been on email chains of friends down there who are rounding up others to come help them help their neighbors rip out damaged carpets and drywall. It’s all very inspiring, but middle Tennessee shouldn’t have to go it alone.

It would be great to get some more widespread help for the area. Read on after the jump to find out how you can donate your money, time or materials to help middle Tennessee on its long road to recovery.

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