The first thing I was in time to hear? A concert given by four singer/songwriters. I hadn't heard of any of them, and that's because they are primarily successful as songwriters - those who crafted the tunes that we know and love for other artists. We heard Marcus Hummon, Allen Shamblin, Kyle Matthews, and Beth Nielsen Chapman. Hummon, for example, wrote "God Bless the Broken Road," also "Ready to Run" for the Dixie Chicks, and Shamblin wrote one of my favorite songs ever, Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me."
What a perfect first event to attend. The music was so excellent, moving, relaxing, mellowing, reflective. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed hearing about the writing process, the courage it took for them to move to Nashville to pursue their dreams, what it is like to have others sings your songs and be famous for them. I enjoyed the way they seemed to respect each other, and how they worked together and improvised with each other. They shared how they saw their faith expressed in their music - sermons in words. Hummon is married to a clergywoman, and I especially like this song of his, "Stand Up (Song for Jesus)":
I had a great week in Nashville - I have many more sets of reflections to come. But I also just enjoyed being in Nashville. I've been to Nashville for meetings before, but this was the first time I actually got to just be in Nashville and walk around and see things. I really got a better sense for the community of artists and musicians struggling and/or succeeding in the industry. I like the city. Still couldn't ever see myself living in the South, but maybe if I did, it would be in Nashville.
Lots more to come...
OK - and one (two!) more picture(s) of Sam (with me, self-portrait, courtesy my cell phone).