The remedy

A few weeks ago, I decided to check out the new Zac Brown Band album online. One song on the album made me hit repeat. Then repeat again. Then repeat again. Then go buy the album just so I could have this song with me absolutely any time and anywhere I go.

“Remedy”
(Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Niko Moon, Kevin R Moore)

I’ve been looking for a sound
That makes my heart sing
Been looking for a melody
That makes the church bells ring
Not looking for the fame
Or the fortune it might bring
In love, in music, in life

Jesus preached the golden rule
Buddha taught it too
Gandhi said eye for an eye
Makes the whole world go blind
With a little understanding
We can break these chains that we’ve been handed
I’ve got the medication
Love is the remedy

Pray to be stronger and wiser
Know you get what you give
Love one another
Amen, amen

I’ve been thinking about the mark
That I’ll be leaving
Been looking for a truth
I can believe in
I got everything I need
Let this heart be my guide
In love, in music, in life

I’m not saying I’m a wise man
Heaven knows there’s much that I’m still finding
Making my way down this winding road
Holding on to what I love
Yeah, and leaving the rest behind
For love, for music, for life

Pray to be stronger and wiser
Know you get what you give
Love one another

We’re all in this world together
Life’s a gift that we have to treasure
Happiness, now that is the measure
Love is the remedy

Everyone can be forgiven
One love and one religion
Open up your heart and listen
Love is the remedy

Pray to be stronger and wiser
And know you get what you give
God is love one another
Amen, amen, amen

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Image created using Photofy App

This last week I’ve purposely kept quiet about all the many social issues going on, and I will continue to do so here. Why? Because I don’t feel like I need to input any opinion on something I don’t feel knowledgeable enough about to back up said opinion in a social realm. So, I do the whole, “Better to keep quiet and thought an idiot than to open your mouth and prove it.”

Here’s what I DO know, though. I know that my heart has ached a lot this week, because on every single side of every single issue I’ve seen intolerance and anger. I’ve quietly felt attacked reading other’s words, even when I’ve agreed with them.  I’ve quietly felt bullied in a world of, “Either you agree with me or are against me!” even when I’ve agreed silently.

Frankly, as we fight a world of hate, we’ve come to fight it with hate. And that’s most certainly NOT the answer.

I said from the beginning of the year that my motto for 2015 is, “So much love.” Love makes me happy. Love makes the world a better place. LOVE IS THE REMEDY.

God knows I can be cynical and quite snarky at times. I live in Nashville and have ties into the music industry. Consider cynacism and snark a negative side effect of this life. But I challenge everyone this weekend to step back. Hold that snark back for a second. And choose love instead. God said to love your enemies. You don’t have to love what someone does. You don’t have to love what someone says. You don’t even have to love what they stand for. But take a moment and realize everyone deserves love. And God knows that right now we need love in general more than ever.

Dear friends, let us love one another,
for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves
has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7 NIV

Total Daddy’s Girl

Surely I’m not the only person who can’t get out of the Father’s Day card aisle with dry eyes, right? Because going through all those cards for dad’s sure got blurry on me, and it wasn’t allergies!

No, I am a tried and true Daddy’s Girl, and I’m very proud to say that.

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See, my dad is the best. I keep writing and rewriting what to say next, because I just don’t know where to start!

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My dad loves me unconditionally. Both of my parents do, and for that fact I am forever and ever thankful. It gives me this wonderful base to grow from, lean on and feel confident in at all times. I know they accept me and love me no matter what.

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I know that if I fall down, I don’t have to look far for a hug and a hand up. I know if I fail they will be there to catch me and support me and help me learn from that mistake and failure. Do you know how very comforting that is to know?

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Dad has taught me so much about life, and with those lessons I feel confident in my ability to be successful. He’s taught me about business. He’s taught me about people. He’s taught me how to treat others. He’s taught me how to expect others to treat me.

IMG_20150621_140523709-01He’s taught me to keep an eye on those gauges in my truck. He’s taught me to check my tires. He taught me to drive like everyone else is an idiot (and they usually ARE.) He’s taught me the importance of having a reliable vehicle in general.

He taught me how to be self-sufficient, even in those “guy jobs” I often don’t have to do (but could if I had to.)

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He has shown me the importance of faith and God. A huge lesson I got is that God comes first, and it’s a lesson that has stuck with me to this day. Even as I admittedly fall down in executing that, letting work and other tasks keep me from making it to church as often as I should.

IMG_20150621_135549146-01My dad is also my friend. I can’t begin to describe how much I cherish and remember our times talking over coffee back when I was in college (or there abouts.) I learned so much family history and heard so many stories as we sat and talked. I hope he knows how much I loved those chances that we had, and I do hope we get to do it again some time.

Mattox_0074My dad taught me what to expect from a man, and he taught me not to settle. He showed me that real men cook and do dishes. He showed me real men don’t think of jobs in the male/female sense, and that you should just do what needs to be done. He showed me how to put your family first while never giving up on your dreams.

Mattox_0204He gave my now-husband a stern talking-to when my husband asked my Dad for permission to marry me. And I love the great lengths he and my Mom went to hide the fact that a proposal was on the way.

Mattox_1000But more than all of this, I love my Dad and he loves me and all of our family. And I absolutely know how very, very blessed I am.

Daddy’s girl? Oh yes. And I so wish I was spending this day with him…

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!

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I would be sorely remiss not to send a special Happy Father’s Day shout out to my big brother… he blows me away every single day by how much he loves his family and cares for them. He is without a doubt an amazing, amazing Dad. And I couldn’t be prouder of him.

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A fan first

Fan Fair 199718 years ago yesterday, I set foot in Nashville for the first time as a fan attending Fan Fair. (I know this thanks to that memories thing Facebook started doing.)  It will ALWAYS be Fan Fair to me, and I wear the fact that I attended it at the Fairgrounds as a badge of honor. A proof I’m a long-time country music fan.

In the years since I attended Fan Fair, much has changed. Mostly, I married a musician that afforded me a long hard look at the music industry… a look that has left me feeling very cynical. I also not only now live in Nashville, but I worked the last six CMA Fests (as they now call Fan Fair) in a bar downtown. These two things made me not necessarily hate CMA Fest but instead see it more as a headache and thorn in my side. I saw closed streets, tourists tying up the roadways, and long hours leaving me tired. I saw fans who expected me to immediately remember them from five years prior, and I saw nowhere to park my truck.

CMA Fest 2010
CMA Fest 2010

Looking towards this year, I was a bit discombobulated. With the bar gone, I wouldn’t be working this year.  My husband wasn’t playing the fair anywhere. However, my best friend since we were little girls happened to fill our a survey and win tickets to CMA Fest 2015. What? That actually happens!?

So, she flew up to Nashville from Houston and took me to CMA Fest with her. Leading up to the days of her arrival, I felt that cynical side chirping in my ear. Where was I going to park? Oh, that’s just one huge sea of humanity that I try to avoid. I bet I only catch acts I don’t care about. Ugh. But, her excitement was contagious, by the time she arrived my grumpiness was gone and replaced with excitement.

Day One... lets do this!!
Day One… let’s do this!!

Now, I’m going to spare all of you an in-depth recap of the three days we spent downtown doing the CMA Fest thing. What I want to talk about is how my perceptions changed a lot while I was down there.

If you live in Nashville — ESPECIALLY if you work downtown — you need to attend CMA Fest. Even if only for a day. GO. Because suddenly the layout makes sense.

I still believe Fan Fair at the fairgrounds was the best. There was just something crazy special about that. And maybe part of that is nostalgia and a love for the way it was once done. But attending as a music fan, so much suddenly made sense.

CMA Fest 2015
CMA Fest 2015

Let me explain:

  • Most of the events are FREE. There are so many stages going with music FOR FREE, it’s possible to get the experience even without LP Field concert tickets. Because, frankly, LP Field is just a tiny segment of the whole. And get this! You can buy passes that are really reasonable to get into the Music City Center to see even more stages and do the whole autograph booth thing. Which, frankly, makes the entire experience possible even on a budget.
  • It’s actually as local friendly as it can be (short of moving it out of downtown). Police are directing traffic much of the time, and they do (in my opinion) a great job making sure cars navigate all the closed streets as easily as possible. I truly wanted to hug each one I saw and give them a cold drink for being out in that hot sun for hours on end. (Now if only they’d work with musicians loading and unloading gear on Broadway that well… but that’s a whole ‘nother post for a whole ‘nother time.)
  • Being downtown actually (gulp) made sense.
    • You have more than your fair share of music options. They can have SO much music in a short amount of time downtown, and you can see who YOU want to see. We bopped from stage to stage to stage seeing the acts we wanted to see.
    • Thanks to so many stages it rarely got stupid crowded. Oh a few times it did, sure, but on a whole having something like five stages going on at once split up the almost 100,000 people downtown nicely.
    • If there’s no one playing you’re interested in… go to one of the bars and see local talent! You can cool off, hear some great music, and you’re helping the Nashville economy AND you’re helping a musician pay their rent. Win/win/win/win.  (Seriously, musicians and bartenders… quitcherbitchin and enjoy the extra income for a few days. It only lasts a week. Take a long nap later.)
    • LP Field is RIGHT THERE, and while I don’t personally think you have to pop for tickets to the big concerts at night to feel like you got the CMA Fest experience, I also think those concerts at night are the closest thing to the former Fan Fair experience at the fairgrounds you’re going to find today. 20-30-minute sets of your favorite acts. A photo line to walk through and get closer pictures (though that handled differently and I do understand why.) It’s worth checking out for at least one night.
    • Frankly, the massive and air conditioned Music City Center is a way better location for all the signing booths than the old barns were at the fairgrounds.
CMA Fest 2015
CMA Fest 2015

So in the midst of it all, I walked a fine line at times. I delved head-first into the CMA Fest experience. Oh I drew the line at a fanny pack (LOL) but I rocked the patriotic wear, shorts with cowboy boots (I admit it, but there aren’t any pictures of it, so I’m going to plead the “Pics or it didn’t happen” thing), danced like no one was watching at my seat in LP Field, and I took over 700 photos (though only 300 made the cut of my photo album on Facebook).

CMA Fest 2015
CMA Fest 2015

But I also AM local and married to a musician. So it was pretty impossible not t run right into people I know on the street, and I had to make sure and hug friends after they got off stage. I couldn’t ever fully turn off the knowledge that it never hurts to network in this town, so I was ready to shake hands and kiss babies if necessary.

I also couldn’t stop analyzing things. I couldn’t stop sitting back and watching the crowd. And with that being said, I’m going to be very blunt on something:

As an artist, short of being the level of Blake Shelton, Reba, Tim McGraw, you really should suck it up and be part of CMA Fest on some level. Sign autographs. Perform on one of the stages. Agree to be a host of a stage. Have a fan club party. Do a show at a club downtown. SOMETHING. You have almost 100,000 country music fans you can reach in your own backyard. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s a total pain in the butt to get downtown. But this festival could open doors for you. Even if it just is in the form of, “Oh! They’re still touring!? I’d love to see them!” And next thing you know they’re looking up your tour schedule.  I understand wanting to avoid the headache, but now attending as a fan? I understand way more why this festival is so very important to country music.

CMA Fest 2015
CMA Fest 2015

So there it is, folks. CMA Fest 2015 is in the books, and I am so infinitely thankful I got to attend. It might be 18 years before I get to attend as a fan again, and that’s okay. I’m glad I got to attend this year. I’m glad I got this new perspective. I’m glad I got this shot in the arm of loving this town and this industry again.

Thank you, Lindsey. Thank you.

CMA Fest 2015
CMA Fest 2015

The wife of a touring musician tells it like she sees it…

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