As part of its countdown to the Highway To Hope virtual benefit concert event on May 16, the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF) has released an extensive podcast interview with Wynonna Judd, who will be headlining the upcoming show.
Recorded on May 6, the interview with Judd is part of a special podcast series from SCF featuring all of the artists who will be appearing in the benefit concert. In addition to Wynonna, this SCF podcast series offers expanded conversations with John Schneider, Billy Dean, Lindsay Lawler and Heath Sanders.
“The Highway to Hope Benefit is a new event for SCF, and we have been blown away at the response we received from all of the artists who will be performing on Sunday, May 16. Each one of them expressed a connection to the trucking industry, and they all understand and value the vital role that trucking has in our country,” said Shannon Currier, the director of philanthropy and development for SCF, who also serves as host of the podcast series. “SCF launched our podcast series last February. We thought our podcast would be the perfect platform for artists to share their thoughts about the trucking industry, and why each of them decided to join us for the Highway to Hope Benefit Concert.”
The SCF podcast episode with Judd was one of the first interviews given by the Country Music legend since the global pandemic, and it was an extended conversation that covered a number of interesting topics. While discussing her respect for professional drivers through the interview, Judd offered her perspective on being out on the road and away from home, which shares many of the same emotions experienced by truckers behind the wheel. For the interview with Judd, Currier was joined on the podcast by Donna Horton, a member of the Radio Nemo Team. Horton is a long-time friend of Judd, and she helped to connect SCF and Currier to Judd’s team as SCF began to plan for the Highway to Hope Benefit.
“We can’t say enough about what Donna and the Radio Nemo Team have done throughout this process of putting together the Highway to Hope Benefit, and I wanted Donna to be right there with me when we talked to Wynonna on the podcast,” said Currier. “I also want to thank Wynonna and her entire team. They were very generous with their time, and I believe everyone who listens to everything that Wynonna shared through this interview will be very impressed with the passion and depth of her answers. It was an honor to be part of what became a very real and intimate conversation with someone who is a legend in the entertainment industry. It was a wonderful way to cap off our interview series with the Highway to Hope artists.”
The interview with Wynonna and the entire SCF podcast series is available here. The podcast series, which is produced in collaboration with the PodWheels Network, is also available on most mainstream podcast platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and TuneIn.
Currier is joined throughout the podcast series by Greg Thompson, the executive producer and founder of the PodWheels Network. Over the past year, SCF has partnered with the PodWheels Network to produce podcasts highlighting the mission and programs of the nonprofit organization.
SCF introduced the Highway To Hope artists interview series in mid-April by highlighting Sanders, a rising country star who recalled his beginnings as a natural gas worker in the fields in Arkansas and how those blue-collar roots influence his music. The series followed with Lawler talking about her early days in the music industry, her move to Nashville and the strong relationship she has built with the trucking industry over the years, including serving as an ambassador for the Truckload Carriers Association’s Highway Angel Program.
In the episode featuring Dean, listeners of the series can hear his journey from what began as being a part of an area talent search competition to earning a place in the national spotlight, ultimately launching a career that now spans more than 30 memorable years in Country Music. Listeners will also hear how Dean’s friendship with Averitt Express CEO Gary Sasser inspired him to look deeper into the lives of professional drivers and release an album of trucking-inspired cover songs, including Eddie Rabbit’s “Driving My Life Away.”
The SCF podcast caught up with Schneider while he was aboard his Freightliner RV, and part of the discussion focused on his new “Truck On” album, and what inspired him to set aside a portion of the sales from that album to be donated to SCF and its driver assistance programs. Schneider also talked about his career in the entertainment industry that now spans more than 40 years, with a portion of the discussion revisiting his beginnings when won the iconic role of Bo Duke in the “Dukes of Hazzard” at age 18.
One of the unique features to this podcast series from SCF is that the artists allowed the production to include songs from their respective catalogs. Each podcast includes at least two songs from each of the artists.
“We’ve gotten a great response to the first four podcast interviews that we have released with the artists. Now, as we are now in the final days before the event and as we release our interview with Wynonna, we hope that everyone who is interested will take the opportunity to check out the entire series,” added Currier. “I believe listeners to this series are going to be amazed at depth of the perspectives that each of the performers on Highway to Hope Benefit went when sharing thoughts about their careers and their admiration for the trucking industry.”
Tickets to Highway to Hope Benefit, which is a live virtual event, are still on sale from SCF. Click here to purchase tickets. The one-time, live show will begin at 6:00 p.m. CDT on May 16. The ticket price is $20 with proceeds going to fund the mission and programs of SCF.
The presenting sponsors for the Highway to Hope Benefit Concert are the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) and Averitt Express. Other companies and organizations sponsoring the Highway to Hope include Echo Global Logistics, Allen Lund, Volvo, Shell Rotella, GlobalTranz, Progressive Insurance, Acuity Insurance, Red Kap, Brenny Transportation, Total Quality Logistics, CH Robinson, Cocoon and TA Express Coffee Cup Travel Plazas.