Nashville-based songwriter Shanon Tucker, has always found inspiration in
his friends, incorporating their personal stories into his music, so when close friend Janie (Drake) Boyer was diagnosed with breast cancer he wanted to write something that inspired her to beat the disease.
Tucker, formerly of Gardner, plans to release the song, “He Listens,” at Wally’s on Saturday, Feb. 12, donating 50 percent of the royalties to Boyer’s cause. Boyer, also a Gardner native, will use proceeds from the sale of the song to raise money for her participation in the Susan G. Koman 3-Day for the Cure on Sept. 9, coincidentally the day she celebrates her two year anniversary for beating cancer.
“He Listens” was born during Boyer’s bout with an aggressive form of breast cancer. When Tucker called his friend to console her and ask how he could help out she told him to write her a song.
According to Tucker, the piece is written from three different perspectives; Janie, the cancer survivor, her husband and her daughter. It chronicles the hopes and emotions of a family overcoming the disease. He went on to explain the song was delivered to Boyer while she was in the midst of her struggle and said that she points to that as a seminal moment in her fight.
“This song, it’s more Jane than anything,” Tucker said about his composition.
The songwriter witnessed firsthand the toll that cancer can take on a family when his mother lost her battle with the disease and he wanted to accurately capture the emotions that Boyer and her family were going through.
“I wanted to put something tangible behind it, but I didn’t understand the impact (of the lyrics) until I was on a phone call with Jane and her husband Chris (discussing the song) and Chris said, ‘OK, I get it now,’” he explained.
Boyer will be in town for the single’s premier and plans to host a large group of former classmates from Gardner Edgerton High School, where both she and Tucker graduated in 1985.
The duo felt that Gardner was a natural place to launch their project.
“You know Gardner way back when, we all grew up together, we all knew each other. Shanon and I, we love where we grew up,” Boyer explained. “And when I got my diagnosis, even though I had moved to Louisiana, when I was diagnosed Gardner just rallied around me. It was unbelievable, not only my friends but my (former GEHS) teachers did, my friend’s parents, the support I got was just amazing.”
One very important person will be missing from the song’s premier, however. Shannon (Winters) Beachner, a 1987 GEHS graduate whom Boyer calls her guardian angel, and who the single is dedicated to, did not survive her disease. Her cancer diagnosis in November of 2007 prompted Boyer to go to the doctor, a move which Boyer credits with saving her life.
“When we moved to Louisiana in August of 2007, every time we move it takes me forever to find a doctor because it is a pain in the butt,” Boyer recalled. “When I found out that Shannon (Beachner) got cancer…it made me aware and once I found my lump I thought, ‘you know I need to get myself to the doctor.’”
Beachner passed away in April of 2008.
“ If I had waited or if she had not spoken out on her CaringBridge site to let people know what was going on with her I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor,” Boyer said.
The Susan G. Koman 3-Day for the Cure is a 60-mile walk to benefit breast cancer research, participants must raise $2,300.