Belmont alum helps others through music and his own recovery

Posted at 6:05 PM, Oct 29, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Some people dedicate their lives to helping others, and that's what Luke Putney has done with his life, even though he's had a hard enough life himself.

Just 25-years-old, Putney has gone through numerous surgeries to avoid death, he was born partially blind, and became fully blind after more health issues.

"I had 7 brain surgeries and 9 surgeries altogether." Putney said, adding that one of the brain surgeries was necessary after he thought he had a migraine. "It happened to be a brain tumor the size of a human's fist."

Doctors weren't sure if Luke would walk again, but he's quickly recovering thanks in part to the support of his friends and family around him, like 5-time GRAMMY Award winner Victor Wooten.

"The world will be better because Luke walked on it," Wooten said.

The two met through music. Putney went to Wooten's music camp, and even though he was blind, he left a huge impression on Wooten, and the music left an even bigger impression on Putney.

"Music gave me hope," Putney said.

Putney can play numerous instruments, including guitar, drums, and the piano, but he prefers to play the bass.

The impact music had on his life led Putney to launch his own non-profit to help others named Instrumental Horizons.

Instrumental Horizons works to donate musical instruments to socioeconomically and medically challenged communities.

"When you put an instrument into someone's hands, the person is completely changed," Putney said, adding that right now he's looking to help those in South Africa. "In the most violent neighborhood in Cape Town."

Putney started the quest to help that community by writing and recording a song called "Cape Town," and he'll be helping the community by partnering with Music Works.

He recorded the guitar and vocal before his brain tumor, which hampered his ability to play and sing, but he is gaining his dexterity back.

In the meantime, with the help of Wooten producing and other musician friends, Putney finished up the song which can be purchased through donations of any amount to support his charity.

The song features Luke Putney (Lead Vocal/Guitar), Bakithi Kumalo (Bass/Vocals for Paul Simon), Bob Franceschini (Sax for Chaka Khan, and many more), Jeff Coffin (Sax for Dave Matthews Band), Darren English (Trumpet and Keys), Derico Watson (Drums for Victor Wooten), Brad Covington (Alternative Percussion), as well as Wooten who produced the recording at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville.

"I wanted to be Luke's right hand man, you know, to get what he wanted," Wooten said of assisting on the project.

To raise awareness about the song and to raise more money for the kids in Cape Town, Putney is also walking a marathon.

26.2 miles over 26 days, because walking for him has been a huge part of his recovery.

"It strengthened my legs, and it strengthened my heart because I saw the progress that I was making," Putney said.

With each step on the path to 26.2 miles, he's progressing toward helping bring music into the lives of kids in Cape Town while recovering himself.

"Luke has always been an inspirer whether he's tried to do it or not," Wooten said. "Even through all of the things that he's been through, he still makes your life better, he strives to make other people's lives better."

Delta Airlines officials heard about Putney's efforts and are flying Luke to South Africa in early 2020 to deliver the check from the money he raises in person.

100% of all donations to the marathon are going to Music Works in South Africa through Putney's Instrumental Horizons.

For more information on Luke Putney, Instrumental Horizons, "Cape Town," and Putney's marathon, you can visit his website. There you can get the song by donating to Putney's cause.