Wednesday, March 3 – Today, Nashville singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lydia Luce released a virtual benefit show commemorating the one year anniversary of the Tennessee tornado that ripped through Nashville last year. The show features Lydia Luce performing songs from her new album Dark River, alongside performances from Nashville rising stars Becca Mancari and Kyshona Armstrong, all accompanied by a string quartet and from The Basement East, East Nashville’s hallowed venue which has since been rebuilt, following its destruction during the tornado on March 3, 2020. The performance is free to watch but viewers are encouraged to donate what they can to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Luce was personally affected by last year’s tornado and it proved to be a nearly fatal encounter. Luce happened to vacate her second-floor bedroom on the timely advice of a local weatherman just before a piling came through the wall, landing on the spot where she was laying moments before. For weeks after, Luce suffered panic attacks as she did everything she could in Nashville to help others who were affected. With the one year anniversary coming up, Luce felt it was important to remind people that there is still a long road ahead of recovery from last year’s storm. Luce stated, “It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since the devastating tornado. Our city has been through a lot and yet we continue to show up for each other when the need presents itself. My home was affected by the tornado and I was overwhelmed with the love and support from my community. Right now a lot of people still need that support and that’s why we are encouraging donations to Middle Tennessee emergency relief. To be able to play music and watch my friends Becca and Kyshona play at the Basement East again is such an incredible gift. One day we’ll be back on stages like the Basement East singing our hearts out. l know we’re all looking forward to that day.”
Speaking about the importance of the event, The Basement East owner Mike Grimes stated, “I can’t believe it’s been a full year already. With the challenges we’ve had, the support has been incredible. We’re ready to swing the doors open and make stuff happen again and make people smile again and bring music to the masses.”
Becca Mancari said, “Being able to play these songs at The Basement East on the anniversary of the devastating 2020 tornado, is just such an honor. Our community has really struggled this year, and to be able to see the hard work and the perseverance of such a special place gives me even more hope. There is no place quite like Nashville, and I am thankful to call it home, and yet people are still really struggling to make ends meet, and my hope is that we will continue to come together and hold each other close, and that’s why I choose to sing my songs “Annie” and “Stay with Me”. I can’t wait to be in a crowded Basement East in the not to distant future”
Kyshona Armstrong stated, “Gathering underneath the roof of The Basement East was truly special. I had no idea how affected I would be when I walked inside those doors. It felt like the story and spirit of East Nashville; a lil’ old mixed with a lil’ new, but still the same heart and grit when you look real close. Singing our most gentle songs inside a space that is still mending one year after the devastation felt like that warm hug we’ve all been needing.”
The show will also feature a performance of a song written by Larissa Maestro and will feature string arrangements by Annaliese Kowert, Nicole Neely, Ben Plotnick, Kaitlyn Raitz, Jordan Lehning and Maestro herself, all musicians from local organization, Lockeland Strings, which was founded by Luce. Lockeland Strings, stated as a monthly house show from Lydia’s home and grew to venues including Nashvile’s Parthenon, its aim is to bring classical music to a younger audience and provide a spotlight on Nashville’s growing young string scene. Lockeland strings also aims to support the singer songwriter community, who don’t usually have access to string players and arrangements.
MORE ON MIDDLE TENNESSEE EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND
In the wake of destructive tornadoes, power outages, road closures and rescues throughout Davidson and surrounding counties, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has activated the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund to support the affected communities and nonprofits helping victims address their ongoing needs.
Grants from the Fund will be made to nonprofits providing vital services both immediate and long term. Our work helps free nonprofits to concentrate on delivering vital services while we “connect generosity with need” and our community sets out to rebuild lives.
“We know when disasters strike, there are no quick fixes,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “We need to support the affected communities and the nonprofits on the ground helping victims and addressing their needs.”
In the early morning of March 3, 2020, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee activated the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund in response to the devastating tornadoes that ripped through several of Nashville’s most iconic neighborhoods.
The generosity of neighbors, near and far, showcased the love and compassion residents and visitors alike have for our great community.
Immediately following the tornado, Nashville got to work on meeting the needs of those impacted by the deadly storms. Through the collaborative effort of nonprofits, city officials, neighborhood groups and faith-based organizations, the work towards pre-tornado wholeness continues daily. The road to recovery is long, and each tornado survivor’s journey is different.
Gifts to the Fund have helped area organizations provide counseling and mental health support; direct financial assistance; insurance mediation; food and nutrition; home furnishings; home repairs and rebuilds; household goods and clothing; insurance mediation; legal assistance; mortgage, rent, and utility payments; temporary and permanent housing; and primary healthcare services.
Survivors in need of help are encouraged to call the Tornado Recovery Connection helpline at 615-270-9255. Resources are still available.
Donations can be made at www.cfmt.org/basementeast. Every gift makes a difference.
To follow the impact of donations in tornado recovery, visit www.tornadoresponse.com.
MORE ON LYDIA LUCE
Lydia Luce recently released her acclaimed sophomore album Dark River. Luce was known as the go-to strings session player in Nashville working with everyone from Dolly Parton to Eminem but is now stepping into the spotlight with her album. For Luce, work on Dark River began in the summer of 2019 after the break up of a tumultuous relationship. She decided to take a solo trip to the Pacific Northwest, hoping that the space would inspire the creative process for her next album. Between attempting a risky summit hike on Mount Saint Helen and even falling ill in the Colorado mountains, Luce did not do much writing, but she was able to face her feelings. Luce believes this isolation helped create the space for her personal stories of growth, heartache, and hope to appear clear in her mind.
Dark River follows her debut solo album Azalea, released in 2018, an accomplished release, which drew praise from publications from Popmatters to American Songwriter, establishing her as a notable emerging talent in Nashville and beyond. Luce also leads Lockeland Strings, a community arts organization that puts on monthly showcases of local artists accompanied by string quartet arrangements, alongside performances of new contemporary classical pieces from local composers. It partners with a new nonprofit each month to give a platform to organizations including the ACLU of Tennessee, Girls Write Nashville and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. For more information, please visit: https://www.lydialuce.com/
MORE ON BECCA MINARI
Expanding beyond the homespun rootsiness of her critically acclaimed debut to incorporate a grittier, more experimental palette, Becca Mancari’s captivating new collection, ‘The Greatest Part,’ lives in a liminal space between grief and joy, pain and forgiveness, sorrow and liberation. The record, produced by Paramore drummer Zac Farro, marks a significant sonic and emotional evolution, balancing unflinching self-examination with intoxicating grooves and infectious instrumental hooks fueled by explosive percussion and fuzzed out guitars. The lyrics are raw and gutsy to match, peeling back old scars to explore the emotional and psychological turmoil Mancari weathered growing up gay in a fundamentalist Christian home, while at the same time examining the ties that continue to bind her to the family she loves. Though personal reflection is nothing new for the Nashville-based songwriter, ‘The Greatest Part’ finds Mancari digging deeper than ever before, excavating new layers of her psyche in an effort to make sense of where she’s been, where she’s headed, and most importantly, who she’s become.
“This record was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write,” she explains. “At the same time, it was also the most freeing.”
Born on Staten Island to an Italian/Puerto Rican family that held strict Christian fundamentalist religious beliefs, Mancari spent much of her childhood wrestling with issues of identity and belonging. After college, she set out on her own, following the wind from Appalachia to Arizona, from south Florida to India, drifting in search of purpose and community. Mancari eventually found both in East Nashville, where she garnered widespread acclaim for her strikingly honest songwriting and emotionally riveting performances. ‘Good Woman,’ her 2017 debut, was a critical smash, praised by NPR for its “exquisite self-awareness” and hailed as one of the year’s best by Rolling Stone, who lauded its “confident vocals [and] spacious, hazy production.” Songs from the record racked up millions of streams on Spotify and helped land Mancari dates with the likes of Margo Price, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Shovels & Rope, Natalie Prass, and Julien Baker among others. On top of her solo work, Mancari also teamed up with Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard and fellow songwriter Jesse Lafser to form the supergroup Bermuda Triangle, which earned similarly glowing reviews as they performed sold-out headline shows across the country and landed festival slots from Newport Folk to XPoNential.
MORE ON KYSHONA ARMSTRONG
Kyshona has always lent her voice and music to those that feel they have been silenced or forgotten. She began her career as a music therapist, writing her first songs with her patients–the students and inmates under her care. She soon found the need to write independently and find her own voice, an endeavor which led her to the fertile ground of the Nashville creative community and songwriting culture. Since then, she has learned how to balance her music career with her passion to heal the hurting. Audiences will find a common thread of empowerment, overcoming adversity, and finding hope in her work.
On February 28, 2020, Kyshona released her new LP Listen, co-produced with Andrija Tokic (St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Alabama Shakes, Hurray For The Riff Raff) and recorded mostly at his famed Nashville studio The Bomb Shelter. Within the grooves of its 10 tracks, Kyshona blends roots, rock, R&B, and folk with lyrical prowess to uplift the marginalized and bring awareness to the masses. It’s for every silent scream, every heavy load, every fearful thought, and the simmering sense of anger that the silenced, the lost, and the forgotten try to hide from the world.
Kyshona wrote her first songs with her patients as an exercise in self reflection. She’s a strong voice for the underdog. “Wherever she plants her feet she does so with righteous conviction and a strong sense of her own voice.”– NPR. When she’s home, Kyshona devotes her time to helping others write their story through song; working with those experiencing incarceration, homelessness and struggling with their mental health. Of her latest project, “Listen”, No Depression says,“This is protest music for a new generation, a musical treatment for social ills, a unique prescription that only works if you listen.”
MORE ON LARISSA MAESTRO
Larissa Maestro is a multi-instrumentalist, recording musician, arranger, producer, and composer based in Nashville, TN. Her compositions have been performed by Julian Schwarz (cello), Patrick Dailey (countertenor), ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Lockeland Strings, and La Vie Quartet. As a cellist, Larissa has performed and/or recorded with Margo Price, Cam, Mickey Guyton, Eminem, Allison Russell, Ms. Lauryn Hill, H.E.R., Kyshona Armstrong, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, and many others. She is the co-founder of the Nashville Concerto Orchestra, a volunteer-based community orchestra that explores the vast concerto repertoire and provides opportunities for soloists, conductors, composers, and musicians of all levels of experience. Before the pandemic, Larissa performed regularly with My So-Called Band, Jasmin Kaset, and her own acoustic trio, Poly. Passionate about volunteerism & social activism, Larissa has organized many ambitious fundraisers for local, national, and international nonprofit organizations, including Youth Empowerment through Arts and Humanities, The Oasis Center of Nashville, Hurricane Haiyan Relief, and ACLU. Larissa is also the co-host of the Star Trek podcast Into the Wormhole with Larissa and Lauren, along with illustrator and friend, Lauren Lowen.