When Rebecca Folsom began working on fundraisers with Blue Sky Bridge, an advocacy group for abused children, the event she played was called Acoustic Harvest. “That was probably about ten years ago,” Folsom notes. “I came in as a musician and ended up being pretty blown away by what these guys were doing and the difference they were making.”
Four years ago, when Acoustic Harvest organizers decided the event was taking up too many of Blue Sky Bridge’s resources, Folsom stepped in and offered to head up her own fundraiser: Wild Women of the West. And today, she’s penning a song in advance of the project’s September 9 installment with Mary Huckins of Dakota Blonde and the inimitable Hazel Miller.
“It is really kind of a journey,” Folsom notes. “I’d never really done benefits before; I just cared about what these guys were up to. It’s certainly changed from what Acoustic Harvest was, mostly because the lineup is all women. It’s female-fronted bands, although we are going to have Jon Chandler, a wonderful cowboy poet, sing at the VIP party, and he’ll probably get up and play with us, too.
“I think how it has evolved this time around is, I just really wanted local women,” she adds. “When I really look at what it took for us to fly people in from Nashville and get the hotel rooms and deal with it on all that level, I just thought, ‘This is crazy. This would be so much fun to do with women I know well.”
And while Folsom was sitting down with Miller and Huckins, talking about Blue Sky Bridge, they decided to write a song. “After being out in Nashville for five years now, I do a lot of co-writing,” Folsom explains. “Mary says she writes, but she doesn’t do that much co-writing, and Hazel was laughing and saying this might be her second song that she’s written, because she doesn’t write that much. When you’re as fantastic a singer and performer as her, you don’t need to. I just think there’s going to be a freshness to it that’ll be really great.
“Since I’ve played the Blue Sky Bridge benefit, I always felt there should be a song that is about this,” Folsom adds, “so when we’re up there, we can link directly to it in the song.”
There are some basic ideas: “We all have agreed that darkness and light is what we’re really going to be talking about,” Folsom discloses, “because of the whole idea of sexual abuse being hidden and shining light on it, and the evil of it and what it does to someone’s life, and the light of people who help. I think we all talked about that as the general idea.
“There are always so many different doors that you can begin writing a song around,” she continues. “What I find is best is to not think about it too much before we get there, so there’s a freshness that happens, because I find if I come in with an already conceived idea and I’m co-writing with somebody, it’s a little harder to make it cohesive, to work together on it.”
It shouldn’t be hard with three such like-minded women. “I just love Mary and Hazel,” Folsom confides. “When I was thinking about who would be great for the show, I just thought, they’re both such generous women, and open-hearted and fun, that to have the depth of that open-heartedness, and then have the wildness, the party of it — I just think that combination, we’ll have a blast. I think the lineup itself — the sum is greater than the parts, and each part is strong. I think the potential for us is really great.”
Look for the as-yet-unnamed song on an upcoming compilation album to benefit Blue Sky Bridge — and, of course, at the annual Wild Women of the West concert.