Last we heard from Suzi Kory, the mother of two teenaged boys had lost her airline job and turned her attention to furthering a musical career. She's a fiercely determined DIY artist who has organized two mini music festivals in the past year, and recording several new songs. What follows in her own words is an accounting of what's gone on through to today, and the release of a new single that is included with this self-portrait.
Say what you will about 2020, but it definitely taught us many lessons about what is truly important in life. We learned it was okay to slow down, to exercise patience and focus on our relationships with friends and family…. And the importance of music in our lives.
Ironically, in the summer of 2019 I had co-written and recorded a song called Love Revolution with my producer, Brent Woods. The song was inspired by feeling that a big change was coming in the world. A change that would have humanity returning to the simply things in life and what mattered most… A love for each other. Although the song was completed by fall of 2019, I had decided to hold onto it until I felt the time was right for the message to be put out into the world.
Over the past three years I had been working as a manager with a commercial airline, while building a career as a musician, however halfway through the year I found myself becoming a full-time musician as a result of the economic downturn of the airline industry. If I am to be completely honest, it was the happiest day of my life when I got the call that I was being let go. It wasn’t because I didn’t love my job, but I knew you could never reach your true potential in any pursuit until you were all in, and now I finally was.
As luck would have it, I had recorded three singles and shot music videos for two of the singles in LA only weeks before the complete shutdown in March. This would provide me with an abundance of material to release throughout the year. By June, I knew the time was right to release the third and final single, Love Revolution.
When the time came to promote the single I knew something different had to be done that would have people experience what the ‘Love Revolution’ was all about. Weeks earlier I had read about the concept of drive-in concerts and the idea of creating a ‘Woodstock’ type of festival intrigued me. As I began putting word out that I was looking for a land where we could potentially hold the festival, within days a good friend, JP Jones introduced me to Brent Clements (Clements' Autobody Shop) who had talked about holding a music festival one day on his land in Cavan, Ontario. The moment I saw the land I knew we had our festival location and immediately set a date for three weeks later on July 18th, 2020.
As soon as the ‘Love Revolution’ Drive-in Country Music Festival was announced, a flood of people began offering to volunteer their services. Another close friend, Judd Smoke was able to secure sleeping cabins and a rehearsal area the night before the festival, while Joe Switzer provided hotel rooms at the Comfort In & Suites in nearby Peterborough. By the second week, two of the largest country radio stations in Ontario (KX96 and Pure Country 105) were on board with ticket giveaways, while Global News provided coverage beforehand ,as well as reporting live from the festival grounds.
The half-day event, hosted by Dave Woods and Linda Heldman featured local country artists Alessia Cohle, Bree Taylor, Brian John Harwood, Mackenzie Leigh Meyer, Nicole Rayy and The House Call with special guest appearances by Dylan Bird and Kelsi Mayne. The show kicked off with acoustic sets from Joe McCauley and Colin Amey, while the rest of the artist performance times were determined by picking names randomly out of a box after soundcheck.
One important point we had all agreed on is that there would be no headliner and that our order performing on stage would be chosen at random (it should be noted however that Brian John Harwood’s name was pulled as the last to perform after which a friendly yet slightly forceful discussion ensued between myself and the other artists after which I was politely forced into trading spots with Brian, thus being the last to perform).
There are two major things that stood out for me during the festival day. One was the camaraderie between artists and the other was the sheer joy of the audience who was finally able to experience live music again. I made it a point to go to each and every vehicle in order to personally thank everyone for having come to support the festival in its first year. Despite the scorching heat that day, there were people dancing, singing, and smiles all around. My heart had never felt more full.
Two months later the ‘Love Revolution’ festival would be held in Columbia, Tennessee. With the help of Phil Valdez and Sean Carson a line-up of artists, a house band and a venue would all be secured. Once again, the festival featured local country performers James Gee, Dirt Road Daisies, Tim Thurman, Steve Oliver with special guest Ashten Akins as well as myself and an acoustic set from Sean Carson.
The festival enjoyed a weeklong promotion on Columbia’s WKRM, which included interviews and live performances at the station by artists from the festival lineup. The station was even gracious enough to have their DJs George Hamilton V and Tom Blizzard come out to host the festival, which attracted people from as far as Alabama.
While the short term plan is to have ‘Love Revolution’ take place again this summer in North American cities, the long term goal is to take this festival worldwide, providing independent artists with an opportunity to showcase their talent, while learning the importance of working as a collective.
The'‘Love Revolution’ Festival may have been the idea of one person, but it was realized through the dedication of numerous people. There is no limit to what humanity can achieve when people come together in the name of peace, love and music.
Suzi Kory’s latest single, Time, released (today) March 8th, was inspired by the true story of a friend whose son passed in an accident a few years ago.
‘The loss of anyone in our lives is never easy, but if anything it makes us realize how precious 'Time' is, and the only 'Time' we truly have is this present moment.’ - Suzi Kory