Top Kentucky/Appalachian Songwriters Raise Funds for Tornado Relief

Cole Chaney / Kelsey Waldon / John R. Miller / Logan Halstead

It seems these days that life pinballs back and forth from one disaster to another. You almost have to be reminded that on December 10th, a cluster of tornadoes ravaged Western Kentucky and the surrounding areas and states, leaving a large swath of destruction and many fatalities in its wake.

On New Year’s Day, a curiously excellent selection of independent and up-and-coming songwriters from Kentucky and surrounding areas assembled at The Burl in Lexington to do their part to help make Kentucky whole. Since not everyone could be there in person, the event was also streamed online through the help of John Prine’s Oh Boy Records, with proceeds going to relief efforts.

John Prine’s family is originally from Kentucky, and one of his signature songs called “Paradise” is about a now ghost town in Muhlenberg County. Muhlenberg County and the town of Bremen were especially hard hit in the tornado outbreak, with two twisters touching down, including one that was on the ground for 17 miles, and tore through Bremen, killing 11 of the town’s 350 residents.

On January 1st, John R. Miller, Senora May, Kelsey Waldon, Logan Halstead, Cole Chaney, Scott T. Smith, Brother Smith, Eric Bolander, Abby Hamilton, Magnolia Boulevard, Grayson Jenkins, Justin Wells, Nicholas Jamerson, and more lent their talents to help restore Kentucky communities, and raised over $31,000 thanks to contributing fans both online, and in person.

Seriously, if you want to know where to start in discovering some of the best songwriting talent coming up in country music at the moment, just start by picking through these names. Even better that they’re stepping up to help their communities, and all are performers who can slay with just an acoustic guitar. After they each took their turns on The Burl stage, they all got together to sing John Prine’s, “My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight” as a grand finale (see below).

“Look what we were able to do when we came together for one night!” said Senora May. “Over $31k raised for our brothers and sisters in Western Kentucky effected by the recent tornado. Our bond is strong and I’m honored to be a part of this family.”

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