Reba McEntire, Jason Isbell and John Prine are among the artists set for the upcoming “Love Letters” concert in Nashville. The show is part of the 20th anniversary celebration for Thistle Farms, the Nashville-based organization whose mission is to heal, empower and employ women who have survived trafficking, prostitution and addiction.
The concert event, also featuring fiddle-playing songwriter Amanda Shires and blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland, takes place at the Ryman Auditorium on May 3rd. Thistle Farms founder Becca Stevens, named a CNN Hero in 2016, will join several of the women of Thistle Farms during the concert to share stories of hope and inspiration.
The organization currently employs 50 local survivors and supports more than 1,500 women through global partners and a national network of sister organizations. In addition to their Body & Home line of handmade products, Thistle Farms is investing $3 million in a new manufacturing facility as well as an expanded cafe and event space, with plans for an early summer opening.
Last month, McEntire headlined her first-ever solo concert at the Ryman in support of her latest musical project, the gospel LP, Sing It Now, telling Rolling Stone Country of her personal faith, “You ebb and flow [in] your relationship with God. Sometimes in your life, in your years, you’re real close, and then you kind of get away from him. He’s there but not that daily communication, and here you come back.”
With plans this year to release his first album of new songs since 2005, Prine admits to Rolling Stone Country that the process has been challenging, saying, “I don’t wanna just sit down and write a little couplet that’s kind of witty, or something. I’ve done that.”
Meanwhile, Isbell teased his upcoming Dave Cobb-produced album The Nashville Sound last month, saying, “Lyrics and melody are still the driving force behind what we’re doing, but this time around, there’s more of a rock and roll influence. You might shed some tears, but for once there’s a chance you might also dance a little.”