Music community organizes benefit event to help couple

Bassist Drew Shinhearts, left, and guitarist Colby Elswick jam with their band The Kind Thieves during Bridge Jam 2019 in Fayetteville. The Kind Thieves along with other local bands Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns and Leeroy Green & The Meanies will play a benefit concert this Sunday at Weathered Ground Brewery in Cool Ridge for Nate Poland and Tori Lilly. (Photo by Brad Davis/The Register-Herald)Brad Davis/The Register-HeraldBassist Drew Shinhearts, left, and guitarist Colby Elswick jam with their band The Kind Thieves during Bridge Jam 2019 in Fayetteville. The Kind Thieves along with other local bands Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns and Leeroy Green & The Meanies will play a benefit concert this Sunday at Weathered Ground Brewery in Cool Ridge for Nate Poland and Tori Lilly.

Weathered Ground Brewery in Cool Ridge will be the scene of a benefit from 4 to 8 p.m. this Sunday for Nate Poland and Tori Lilly, who lost all their possessions and home to a fire on Dec. 30.

Both Poland and Lilly are very active in the music community, which is why local bands The Kind Thieves, Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns and Leeroy Green & The Meanies immediately came together to organize an event that would raise enough money to give their dear friends a fresh start for 2020.

“Nate and Tori are both very involved in the music scene in West Virginia,” said Matt Mullins, lead singer for Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns, who explained that Poland was the doorman, band concierge, and bartender at Melody’s while it was still open and Lilly is a performer herself.

“They are personal friends and family to our entire music community, so it only made sense to come together and try to help our friends during this rough time.”

The Kind Thieves, a psychedelic rock-fusion group, agreed, stating that Poland and Lilly are “some of their closest friends.”

“They are our family and family supports each other when tragedy strikes … If we aren’t there for one another who will be?”

Leeroy Green & The Meanies were unavailable for comment.

Since the fire, Poland, Lilly and their daughter Amethyst, 4, have been living with Lilly’s great-aunt, whose home is next door to the property in Shady Spring where their house of nearly five years once stood.

Because the family did not carry homeowner’s insurance, Poland explained that he has been constantly working on rebuilding a new home on the same property and likened the house to a phoenix, which rises reborn from its own ashes.

“I’m not going to skip a beat. My family needs a home and I want my daughter to know that I have built our new home by hand out of the ashes of our old one.”

He also mentioned that since the accident, he has received a great deal of help clearing out the debris and cleaning the area from friends, family, neighbors and even strangers passing by.

Poland expressed his gratitude for those hosting the benefit stating:

“It is very heartwarming to see a community come together, not just to give us things or money, but to uplift our spirits and to emotionally be there for us… It is crazy to think that such small gestures of kindness can make such a difference.”

“Anytime we can help out, we are going to say yes,” said Aryn Fonda, co-owner of Weathered Ground Brewery. “We want to do anything we can to get Nate and Tori back on track.”

According to Fonda, the benefit will offer many different ways for people to donate.

Weathered Ground will be donating a portion of all of Sunday’s beer sales, raffling off baskets stocked with the brewery’s merchandise and items given by local businesses, and a donation table where people can give what they think the family will need.

Additionally, the brewery has compiled a list of other necessities.

“The list will have things like clothing and shoes along with the sizes needed. They don’t have to be brand new. They can be gently used,” Fonda said.

Mullins said Weathered Ground Brewery was the bands’ obvious choice for the location of the benefit because it has been “so supportive of the West Virginian music scene.”

Their “extraordinary beer” and amazing location, which he says “is one of the most beautiful venues in the state,” also helped solidify the decision for Weathered Ground to host the event.

“One thing that I believe that we as West Virginians are so strong at is supporting the ones we love when it means the most,” Mullins shared. “Our art community’s ability to lean on each other is something that is not highlighted enough. It is great to help this team of folks on any event, but of course, it means so much when it’s for something of this magnitude.”

“The event should be great and is for a great cause! Some of our favorite musicians will be there. Please come out and show love to some great folks!”

For those who cannot attend Sunday’s benefit concert, donations can be made on Facebook by searching “Nate and Tori’s Personal Emergency Fundraiser” (created by Kelly Daniels), at Prompt Care in Daniels, City Slickers in Beckley and Great Googly Moogly in Fayetteville, which is donating 30 percent of all proceeds to the family,

Weathered Ground Brewery has also been donating the money made from its alcohol sales at Foster’s Main Street Tavern in Beckley.

Weathered Ground Brewery, which is at 2027 Flat Top Road in Cool Ridge, will be extending its hours to 8 p.m. for the concert.

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