Artists from all genres are raising awareness and support for kids with cancer and other catastrophic diseases being cared for at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital this holiday season. The campaign, part of fundraising program #MusicGives to St. Jude Kids, supports the Memphis hospital, where families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food. At St. Jude, music therapy can help reduce pain and anxiety to support kids during physical therapy. Learn more here.
Country music is a community. Behind the headliners of every album and tour are the bands, the guitar techs, the session players, the repair shops, and other vital talents whose work you hear but don't necessarily see — until you take a closer look. For this year's CMA Awards, I wanted to spotlight the inner workings of the Country Music industry and also celebrate a return to touring. This year's portrait studio is designed entirely out of upcycled guitar strings — more than 3,000 sets — that have been plucked and strummed by the industry's finest musicians. Over the past six months, I've collected approximately 16,500 individual strings from the bands of Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Ashley McBryde, Darius Rucker, Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Old Dominion, Brothers Osborne, Jimmie Allen, Dan + Shay, Little Big Town, Luke Combs, Zac Brown Band and Carly Pearce, as well as Grand Ole Opry players. Local guitar shops in Nashville like Gruhn Guitars, Carter Vintage Guitars, Corner Music and Artisan Guitars also graciously contributed used strings. These individual strings were soldered into 10-foot-long strands and arranged into a visually compelling backdrop for artists and other CMA attendees on the red carpet. The resulting portraits echo the experience of listening to your favorite country songs: You'll notice the star right away — but take a closer look and you'll find their hardworking community shining brightly right behind them.