Ms. Tia Woods

Ms. Tia Woods

Boyd, County

In Kentucky (#15)

Artist Statement: In Kentucky (#15) centers on extraction capitalism, an occurrence far too common in Appalachia. Growing up in a former coal town, I know first-hand what happens when the coal is gone, and I know what happens when wealthy land-owners find other ways to profit off the communities they "own" but do not live in. They do not care about the Indigenous they stole the land from and they do not care about the quality of life in the communities they profit off of and I for one am over it. We have life that is wild but it is being stifled under the oppression of white supremacy and low-road capitalism. 

In Kentucky (#15) is written and performed by Tia Woods with Arlo Barnette on rhythm and lead guitar, Carla Gover as the producer and was recorded at Don Ernst Recording Studio in Louisville, Kentucky.

The song will be available for purchase when the album is complete, from Tia Woods' website. For the most up to date information on the album release, please subscribe to her email.


Stay in Kentucky where the blue grass grows

Here in Kentucky the ground is hallowed

The fields are yellow when the goldenrod’s in bloom

And a waterfall makes a rainbow underneath a full moon

Here in Kentucky our mountains our ruined

Stripped and sacrificed for what once was entombed

White mans greedy thirst is never fully quenched

Even after draining a town down to within an inch

of it’s life that once was wild, suppressed but not mild

I can feel it rumbling deep down in and underneath,

A spirit you cannot abolish.

Rich men promising to give life back to the land

With machines and money already stolen by that man

Money meant to repair all the damage that was done

Not to cause more so he can apply for another one

We have life that’s still wild, suppressed but not mild

I can feel it rumbling deep down in and underneath,

A spirit you cannot bequeath.

Stay in Kentucky where the blue grass grows.

Here in Kentucky the ground is hallowed.

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About Ms. Tia Woods

Born into a musical family in rural Appalachia in the early 1980s, Shawna McCown began her life of love for music. From an early age, her vocal talent was apparent to all and she quickly earned a reputation for her folky voice by singing in church and school while growing up. That reputation grew from the holler to the county to the city as Shawna grew. And now, known as Tia Woods, Shawna is building her dream to use music to help others.

Shawna, also a public school teacher, spent the first six years of her career teaching Science in middle schools within the Jefferson County Public School system in Louisville, Kentucky. These six years would be some of the most eye - opening years of her life, personally and professionally. What she witnessed in Louisville schools was unlike anything from her own childhood in rural Kentucky. The social inequities and racism that Shawna observed first - hand while teaching would soon transform her motivation into becoming an advocate for youth. 

During this time, in late 2017, Shawna rediscovered her passion for singing and music when a friend asked her to perform in her wedding. This was nothing new for Shawna to be asked to sing at an event – she’d entertained countless similar requests in her life. But this was different; it came during a time when she needed it most. Depression and post - traumatic stress disorder from past childhood trauma was mounting to a very dark time in her life, and this wedding request reignited her love of music, and ultimately saved her life.

She learned to play guitar and soon chose a path to use music as a tool to help others. By the middle of the 2018/19 school year, Shawna made the decision to leave the JCPS system.

When she closed out her last school year in 2019, Shawna McCown left the big city and returned to her rural roots. Here she entered her chrysalis to become Tia Woods, singer - songwriter - advocate - activist.

The entire spring and summer, she planned and developed her vision for her ultimate goal of becoming an advocate - musician to address social issues. She would set into motion a career plan for becoming a reputable musician, using proceeds from her music career to fund the development and implementation of a curriculum centered on the arts and creativity while enhancing the socio - emotional and literacy skills of students. With such a program, Shawna hopes to give kids a stable, reliable mental health resource that would foster powerful, brave, healthy generations to come. Booking gig after gig in her hometown and in her former city Louisville earned her enough money to begin recording her first studio album (credit to Carla Gover of Lexington, Kentucky) in 2020. When she’s not playing music, she actively participates in social justice events as well as local political issues in her hometown.