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Tommy Larkin


Based on the true story of Nikki Bradshaw Carpenter, a Mississippi woman who protected her three little boys from a fierce Tornado.  Shielded by their mother, the boys survived despite their trailer being thrown one hundred yards.

Tommy describes the song by saying, “It’s a plain-spoken tribute to a brave mother protecting her children in a Tornado.  I wanted to create a modern folk song with an eerie feel that would be both compelling and disturbing.  I was inspired by Nikki herself but also by songs like Bruce Springsteen’s 'Highway Patrolman' and  Bob Dylan’s 'Ballad of Hollis Brown'.  Simple songs whose compelling story drives the music instead of a bunch of notes.  These are not songs that get played on the radio a lot, but when a tragedy like this happens, I think the survivors find comfort in songs like these with such profound feeling.  With so many Americans suffering from severe weather this year, Nikki’s story of tragedy combined with hope for the surviving children is one that many people can relate to.

Tommy Larkin wrote, played and produced the music and lyrics with supporting vocals by Bettina Kelly of Houston, Texas.  This single previews the upcoming album, Truth In Anger, to be released on Tommy Larkin Music LLC. 
Full Press Release

Photo of Nikki Bradshaw Carpenter with two of her sons.

Also see a copy of the original news story by Associated Press writer Shelia Byrd.

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Photo of Approaching Tornado © Victor Zastol`skiy |








Nikki Bradshaw Carpenter

Copyright © 2010 Tommy Larkin Music LLC



I will lay me down


Verse 1


Nikki Bradshaw Carpenter was 5 foot 5 and about a buck fifteen but boy was she tough


Nikki had blond hair and was good lookin’


but she loved to go huntin’ and fishin’ with her daddy




Verse 2


Nikki lived on a dirt road in Yazoo County, Mississippi in a trailer


Her and Bubba didn’t get along all the time


but they had 3 boys: Layne and the little ones, Ethan and Austin




Verse 3


Saturday, April 22nd, 2010


The phone rang at Nikki’s trailer


“Tornado’s Coming!”


She gathered up the pictures of her family


Put the little ones down


put pillows around them


then she laid on top


to shelter them with her body




sound effects




I will lay me down


I will lay me down




 Verse 4


The tornado killed 10 people in Mississippi and 2 more in Alabama


Tore up Roy Oswalt’s parents’ house


But for Nikki, it lifted her trailer in the air and threw it 100 yards




I will lay me down




Verse 5


Her cousin Rodney Bradshaw was the first person there


He found the two little ones underneath her and Layne laying beside


Layne said he knew his mamma was dead right away


‘cause she wasn’t answering the little ones




I will lay me down


Nikki Bradshaw Carpenter




Verse 6


The scene was so rough, the police couldn’t even get there in a car


they came in a helicopter


And the phone that she got called on


they couldn’t find it to figure out who called her in the first place




But Layne, Ethan, and Austin Survived




I will lay me down



Sheet music available on