A compilation CD aimed at aiding the rebuilding effort of Enterprise High School is now in stores and area residents are urged to purchase their copy of the historic album as soon as possible.
“We Are Enterprise,” a project by Country Crossing Records with Ronnie Gilley Entertainment, hit stores across the nation yesterday.
A release party scheduled to occur at the Enterprise Wal-Mart yesterday featuring Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippin and Darryl Worley was cancelled do to a winter storm in Nashville Monday night, but the artists sent their greetings.
“This is a heart-and-soul (project) for me and sometimes when Mother Nature speaks, we can only listen. This, much like a tornado, is out of our hands, but we are all with you in spirit and in that spirit, we hope you and your friends will celebrate ‘We Are Enterprise’,” Worley said. “We’ll see you soon.”
Worley said the people of Enterprise have become like family and it was important for him to give back to his family, to help the community heal.
Through business ventures in the community, Worley had become friends with the Strunk family and Katie, a sophomore at EHS and a self-proclaimed Worley fan.
Katie was at the school when the tornado hit and was killed by debris left in the storm’s wake.
The day following the tornado, Katie had planned to work for free at a concert Worley would be performing. She didn’t mind giving of her time if she would be able to spend time with her idol and friend. She never made it to the concert.
“Of course, when Darryl found out about the tornado, he was devastated,” said Gilley. “When he found out Katie was killed, he was really stricken in a big, big way. He had a personal attachment to the family, so much so that he wrote a song specifically for her.”
The song, “Katie’s Song,” speaks of a person taken too soon from the earth, but also of a person who wants wings, wants to be one of God’s angels if only so her friends and loved ones can feel her “in the wind.”
It can be heard on country radio stations throughout the area.
Ronnie Gilley, owner of Ronnie Gilley Entertainment, described the song as one of “the most touching” songs on the album.
“It’s one thing to have been blessed with the gift of music and songwriting, but when you see that what you do can bring relief to someone going through a tragedy, it’s such an inspiration and reminds me why I do this,” Worley said.
For each of the award-winning artists featured on the CD, contributing to “We Are Enterprise” was not just about having their music on another album. It was about the community, a community many of them have grown to love.
“Most all of them have some kind of tie to our community, whether it be investment ties or family or friends; they all have special ties to our community. This is their way of saying, ‘Hey, we care and we love you. This is our gift and hopefully it will shed some rays of light on a bad situation,’” said Gilley.
Artists featured on the album are Deborah Allen, John Anderson, Clint Black, Joe Diffie, Shelly Fairchild, George Jones, Tracy Lawrence, Richie McDonald, Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippin and Darryl Worley.
George Jones, featured on the album singing “Amazing Grace,” said he, too, wanted to give back to his newfound Enterprise family. Jones and his wife recently moved in their new home in The Legends subdivision.
“I remember watching the coverage on the “Weather Channel” and feeling like my kinfolk were in danger,” Jones said.
He said that Gilley informed him of the devastation and destruction, and voiced his desire to help his community in some way.
“It was his idea to put together this album as a fund-raising effort to help rebuild the high school. I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough,” Jones said. “I thought my recording of ‘Amazing Grace’ could help serve as a prayer for the healing of the community and lend to the overall success of the charitable project.”
Gilley, however, said he would not take credit for the album alone.
James Stroud, well known producer and Gilley’s business partner, played an integral role in the development of “We Are Enterprise.”
“He came in and wanted to give back to the community,” Gilley said. “After this tragedy took place, he came to me and said let’s do a tribute album and let’s help rebuild the high school.
“We had some big name artists step up and contribute their time and services to the same. It is really a display of kindness on their part. It really had nothing to do with me. We are just thankful to have those relationships and blessed by them.”
Stroud concurred that the willingness of the country music community to help in the fund-raising project was a blessing.
“When Ronnie made me aware of the suffering his community had endured and the ongoing hardships facing its high school students and faculty, I wanted to help any way that I could,” Stroud said.
“We had the idea to craft an album that would not only help with the cost of rebuilding the school, but that would also uplift the community with its message. Once we started calling our artist friends and hearing their desire to lend their time and talent, we knew the idea would work.”
“We Are Enterprise” is not the only exciting project Gilley is bringing to the area.
As plans for the 2009 BamaJam continue, news of headliners who will be in concert during the music festival continue to create buzz across the area.
In a recent announcement, Ronnie Gilley Entertainment confirmed rumors Kid Rock would headline this year’s festival.
Also confirmed as performers at next year’s festival are Pat Green, Los Lonely Boys, The Whigs, Charlie Daniels, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, Gary Allan, Blake Shelton, Heidi Newfield, Jamey Johnson, Low Cash Cowboys, Taylor Swift, 38 Special, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Houston County.
For more information about the music festival, visit www.bamajamfestival.com.