Lunden, Mill team up for Feb. 6 Fed Worker Benefit

by Christine Hawes | Jan 31, 2019

Many federal workers and contractors haven’t yet been paid, won’t receive back pay, or had to take on additional costs to get by during the shutdown. They still need help. 

Nikki Lunden, Iowa native, has a history of standing up for people in need, or who are marginalized. 

She became an ally of the transgender community during her six years living in Los Angeles. Back in 2014, she co-wrote a song titled “Savage Line” to honor troops serving in the Middle East that became part of a movie. Before that, she spent some time mentoring young people through United Action for Youth on how to be your authentic LGBTQ self, even if you’re a public figure. 

Now, Lunden is taking on a new cause: supporting federal employees who are still going without wages a week after the government shutdown ended. She and her band Natural Habits, are joining with four other diverse bands for the Fed Workers Relief Fundraiser, a Feb. 6 benefit at The Mill. 

These five bands will perform from 6 to 10 p.m. A donation is requested at the door. 

Becca Sutlive 
Sharon Jackson 
Cedar County Cobras 
Rattlesnake Master 
Nikki Lunden’s Natural Habits 

“I just got tired of crying and watching all these people suffer,” said Lunden, who grew up in Franklin, Iowa. “I decided, ‘We have to do something. I can’t just sit here and watch these stories and not try to do something.’ I don’t know why I didn’t try to do this weeks ago.” 

The Federal Workers Relief Fundraiser will raise money for three secure funds for  federal employees who are still waiting for back pay, won’t receive any back pay, or are struggling with the additional costs they incurred while going without pay.

The Midwestern roots rock of Lunden’s Natural Habits will be joined by the Americana music of Becca Sutlive; pop vocalist Sharon Jackson; bluegrass masters Cedar County Cobras; and the grungy folk of Rattlesnake Master. 

“I became really heartbroken when Nikki shared her idea about raising money for all these people,” said Edward Hudgens, aka “Smudge,” one of Lunden’s bandmates. “I’m crying, Nikki’s crying …. Somehow, all this came about, and this is what we want to do to help out.”

Lunden has been part of the music industry for about 20 years. She helped found the band Lunden Reign during her six years in Los Angeles and also lived briefly in Colorado. Lunden returned to Iowa City in August, and her band has performed at Riverside Casino and other Corridor area venues. 

In addition to the Feb. 6 concert, Lunden has started taking online donations. You can click here to donate to Iowa Musicians for Federal Workers.

See the full article complete with videos from some of our performers here!