Wine, Women & Song performed a benefit for the charity Music & Memory featuring rare Nashville performances by Gretchen Peters, Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg on Thurs., July 23. Music & Memory’s efforts enhance the often-overlooked quality of life for elders through music, primarily in nursing homes, hospices and home care programs.
Universal Music Publishing Group VP Cyndi Forman, who was instrumental in organizing the event, greeted the packed house at The Listening Room by boldly admitting “it pissed me off” when she realized there was not a single nursing home in Music City that qualified for the much needed efforts of Music & Memory. Her efforts, along with others, are changing that. The night raised $5,500 for the cause and The Blakeford at Green Hills is now the first certified non-profit nursing home in Nashville.
Lori McKenna, the night’s featured performer, took the stage first, entertaining the crowd during dinner with a string of songs including “Humble And Kind” and “Buy This Town,” as well as her chart-topper recorded by Little Big Town and MusicRow‘s 2015 Song of the Year, “Girl Crush.” The enthusiastic crowd quickly developed a girl crush of their own on the songwriter.
Peters, Bogguss and Berg took the stage following a brief video called Henry’s Story, which beautifully demonstrated the power of music and how it can move someone from an almost unresponsive state to one full of life and song.
The show started strong out of the gate with Berg’s rendition of her Kenny Chesney hit, “You And Tequila,” followed by Peters honoring Throwback Thursday with “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am,” recorded by Patty Loveless. With Berg on harmonica and Peters on mandolin, Bogguss took her turn with “Hammer And Nail.”
The performances took an emotional turn as Berg shared she had lost her grandmother a week before at age 100. Berg then performed “Back When We Were Beautiful,” a song she wrote about her grandmother. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell recorded the song on their 2013 album, Old Yellow Moon.
The tunesmiths continued taking turns. Peters’ demonstrated her flawless vocals on “Pretty Things” from her new album Blackbirds. Berg gave a captivating performance of 1997 CMA Song of the Year “Strawberry Wine.” And the forever-young Bogguss (who at 58 looks more like 38), shined on performances of “Letting Go,” “Aces,” and “Outbound Plane.”
The women ended with Tom Waits’ “Hold On,” a perfect way to close the night for this worthwhile cause.