It's been six months since the city of Joplin, Missouri was shattered by a devastating EF-5 tornado. Though rebuilding has begun, there is plenty more that needs to be done. With that in mind, rising country group LiveWire is reaching out to help the effort with the release of "Miracle Of The Human Spirit." According to member Danny Bell, the event is one that affected the members first-hand.
"Several of our band members live in Joplin and it has always been our home base," he tells Billboard.com. "It made me really proud when so many people were coming from all over the country to help our community after the tornado. As a band, we wanted to help our friends there and music is the way that we can do that."
Bell said that he wrote the song in part because of how people pulled together in Joplin during and after the tornado.
"The night that the tornado struck, I was watching the storm coverage on the news while I was talking on the phone with Cory, our fiddle player," he recalls. "He was in his home basement in Joplin and the tornado was over him. He sounded real scared. Then the line just went dead and I thought the worst. Then I got another phone call from someone who told me that our drummer's wife was missing (she had been in a collapsed building near St. John's Hospital). For a split second, I realized that I could lose my best friends and they could lose their families. Thankfully, they both survived the storm, but hundreds of people were not so lucky. It made me realize how precious life is. I wanted to write something to express the feelings that were in my heart, but there were just so many emotions it took me several weeks to get started. It struck me that the human spirit is always going to rise up to help those in need when times are tough. Then the song just flowed out of me."
Adam Hagerman, drummer for LiveWire, also remembers that day. "My wife called me screaming saying that she had been blown out of a building and was buried under debris and didn't know where she was. I ran out the door and went to look for her where she worked near St. John's Hospital in the most-hard hit area of the city. I was driving around in a sheer panic. The wind was blowing like crazy. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There were people walking around like zombies and dead people in cars. There were power lines down, and gas lines were blowing. There was a truck with dead bodies in the back. It looked like a bomb went off. In the meantime, my wife had dug herself out from where she was and I found her walking down a street. She lost her purse and our car had been destroyed - but she was alive. She is a true survivor. I will never forget that day."
"Miracle Of The Human Spirit" is available on iTunes and other digital retailers. All proceeds from the sale of the single will go to the "Joplin Tornado First Response Fund" c/o Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri www.cfswmo.org (the same charity recently received donations from recording artist Sheryl Crow and actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie).
The music video for "Miracle Of The Human Spirit" includes archival film footage shot by FEMA within hours of the tornado, news coverage of the disaster provided by local ABC affiliate KODE-TV 12, and archival photos from several local photographers. Intertwined into this document of the event, members of LiveWire are shown performing the song in the ruins of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Joplin, near St. John's Hospital in one the most-devastated areas of the city. They were joined on vocals by special guests, the College Heights Christian Church choir, under the direction of Lynn Conover. The video closes with a call to action for individuals to donate to help with the city's rebuilding efforts.
- Country