Currier’s Music World Helps Bring Music Back to Western Kentucky
In December 2021, tornados devastated eight states, including parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. In the aftermath of the devastation, Kentucky music retailer, Currier’s Music World teamed up with national radio host, Michael Johnathon, to replace instruments lost in the disaster.
The 70-tornado outbreak started in the late-night hours of December 10 and lasted until the following day, making it the deadliest recorded tornado for December. Dubbed the “Quad-State tornado,” the storm took the lives of 90 people, injured over 120, and left a still unknown amount of damage.
In the weeks following the event, donations of all sorts started pouring into most devastated parts of western Kentucky, including the unlikely appearance of musical instruments. Johnathon, the founder of the popular radio program “Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour,” has been collecting instruments to help replace those lost in the storms. He says, “Music is the soundtrack of America’s front porch, and those front porches are gone. What every musician does during a time of crisis is turn to their music. Guitars, banjos, fiddles, mandolins, drums, harmonicas, whatever it is, we’re gonna get them to the people.”
With an overwhelming response from musicians seeking to help, Johnathon turned to NAMM Member and his own trusted luthier Cathy Currier of Currier’s Music World in Richmond, Kentucky for help. Currier’s Music World started in 1967 when Angela and Clifford Currier became overwhelmingly frustrated with traveling from Richmond to Lexington, Kentucky, to purchase musical instruments for their family. One of their daughters, Cathy, quickly became enamored with the shop, especially with instruments construction and repair, and went on to study band instrument repair at Western Iowa Tech. Today, the store remains owned by Angela and Clifford, but Cathy is at the helm of the ship, running the operation while still finding time to complete her beloved repairs.
Since being recruited by Johnathon to assist in replacing lost and destroyed instruments, Currier’s Music World has acted as a holding facility while also repairing and tuning any instrument headed for the devastated communities. Recently, the store held a “working party” to repair, restring, and tune donated instruments. Currier reflected on the importance of this step in the process saying, “It is vital that these instruments work properly in their new homes. There are eight of us who have been working on projects, sometimes for five hours at a time. We are amazed by the outpouring of support across the MI industry, sometimes receiving three to four instruments a day.”
"Why wouldn’t I do it? Music is the most important thing in my life and for many of my customers' lives."
To date, Johnathon and Currier estimate that over 800 donated instruments have rolled in and that these instruments will start arriving in the hands of musicians in late January through mid-February with the help of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky.
The collection phase of the project is complete and volunteers are getting ready to distribute hundreds of instruments collected to schools, clubs, churches, and musicians in the tornado region. There is still time to get involved. Interested parties are encouraged to visit https://www.woodsongs.com/tornado/ to find the most up-to-date information about the initiative or reach out to Currier’s Music World in Richmond or using their website at https://www.curriersmusicworld.net/.