When country music duo Small Town Pistols, named 2014’s Group of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards, get to participate or offer up their time for a cause, their preference is animal rescue or food banks. Siblings Tyler and Amanda Wilkinson, one-time members of hit country band the Wilkinsons with their father Steve, have used both services.
“Our main reason for supporting the food bank was because before we ever moved to Nashville, and had record deals, my dad was a contractor and the market had completely bottomed out,” Tyler tells Samaritanmag. “Dad was trying to raise a family on $15,000 a year so the assistance of the food bank was greatly appreciated and needed by us. That’s why we have a real appreciation for anything to do with the food bank.
“My gosh, since the Wilkinsons started, we’ve supported the food bank in some form or fashion every year and that’s been 1997 until now.”
The Wilkinsons biggest hit was “26 Cents,” from their 1998 debut album, Nothing But Love. The song was No. 1 on the RPM country tracks chart and No. 3 in the U.S. on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
Amanda tells Samaritanmag, “We used to get pennies and quarters [tossed] onstage because of ’26 Cents.’ At the end of the year, we would always match all the money that we were given onstage and we’d send it to the food bank.”
“It was nuts,” adds Tyler, who doesn’t recall how much in total they gathered and donated. “Sometimes people would throw in a night 60 dollars worth of quarters onstage.”
“And luckily they weren’t throwing them at us,” laughs Amanda.
The other cause, animal rescue, is simply because they are both big pet lovers. They recently recently performed at the Peterborough Humane Society’s Furball Gala 2015, which is roughly the middle point between where they both live. Amanda is in Oshawa, Ont. and Tyler in Belleville. Monies from ticket sales ($75 each), raffle and live auction raised $10,000, PHS executive director Judy O'Brien tells Samaritanmag.
“We were raised with Labrador Retrievers,” says Amanda, “but when I was living in Nashville by myself, before we formed Small Town Pistols, I had a rescue dog and we had a rescue cat. So we have a big love for critters.”
Small Town Pistols is preparing for the release of their new album, Pistology, and as things get rolling would like to get involved with Free The Children’s We Day, a dynamic gathering of speakers and performers for packed arena crowds of school kids who have been given a seat to attend because of their charity work.
“We have a really good friend who works with We Day and we’ve been talking to them about doing some work with them,” says Amanda. “With Tyler and I being young human beings, it’s important for our generation to stand up for what we believe in. It’s so hard nowadays. We live in a generation that’s very selfish and self-consumed and to be able to stand up and do something with them would be incredible.”Klær Nike