Country music star Blake Shelton, along with four other musicians including Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, released a new rendition of Tom Petty’s classic “I Won’t Back Down.” Shelton & co. are working with non-profit org Miraculous Love Kids for the special release.
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Miraculous Love Kids is a non-profit organization that was Afghanistan’s only school of music that taught guitar to young women and girls. Founded in 2015, the advocacy group aims to encourage the talents of Afghan women and girls impacted by incredibly difficult circumstance with a creative outlet.
In a nod to the Afghan women’s resilience during this new Taliban regime, the new song is meant to empower them through music. “When I was working to get the girls out of Afghanistan, “I Won’t Back Down’ became our anthem to never give up no matter what the circumstances or odds in our pursuit of freedom, justice, equality and peace,” said Lanny Cordola, the musician and founder of Miraculous Love Kids.
“It’s not only for the girls and women of Afghanistan, but for all oppressed people of the world. As Tom Petty so powerfully wrote ‘You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down.’”
Blake Shelton sings lead vocals on this particular cover of “I Won’t Back Down”
Since the Taliban’s re-takeover of the country in 2021, the oppressive government has eliminated most Western rights from Afghan women, including access to education, employment, and public interactions.
Another non-profit, Human Rights Watch, said the Taliban have a “devastating impact” on the lives of women and girls, who face “both the collapse of their rights and dreams and risks to their basic survival.” Most non-profits had to withdraw from the country, as well, for fear of retaliation or violence. The Miraculous Love Kids and their families had to relocate to Pakistan, but their work in Afghanistan continues in whatever ways they can muster.
“The girls and I are honored to have Blake, Joe, Timothy and Matt join us in spreading this message far and wide,” said Cordola. “Hopefully their involvement will bring more awareness about Afghan refugees like the girls and their quest for a better life.”
The Miraculous Love Kids network has previously collaborated with members of Rage Against the Machine and the Foo Fighters for similar initiatives.
The all-star cover song first premiered on the music and arts platform GoodNoise.io. The song features Shelton singing, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit (Eagles) on guitar, and drums by Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver).
Sorum established the NFT label to improve communication and relationships between artists and fans. It will also support various good causes, like Miraculous Love Kids. “When you join Team GoodNoise, you’ll receive updates on drops and other important initiatives,” Sorum explained in a press release. “We’d like to have a million members down the road to take on causes that impact us all.”