Cracks In The Sidewalk


This post was originally written October 2015 but for some reason has suddenly popped up in my head again. Thought I’d go ahead and share these cracks in the sidewalk here for y’all:

Last night

So, a couple of extraordinary things happened to me last night: 1. As many (most…ok, all) of us songwriters who have lived in Nashville for a while do, I sometimes join the chorus of “This town is losing everything that made Nashville Music City, they’re tearing it down, I don’t even recognize these streets, music sucks,”  while commiserating with each other. But last night, on my way to up to the Commodore Grille for my 1 hour set with Joe Hash and Anne Buckle, as I rounded the bend of the 65 Freeway and saw the lights of the Nashville Skyline and I felt “that feeling” all over again. I remembered the pit of excitement that used to roll around in my stomach my first year here every time I had a 15 minute slot at the end of some writers night in town. I remembered how awestruck I used to be listening to the established writers, and the idea of the giants who had walked these same streets 50, 60, 70 years ago. It struck me then that no matter what changes, it all still happened here.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

A hung over studio janitor stumbled out of bed and wrote “Sunday Morning Coming Down”…Rodney Crowell took the bus from his Percy Priest Lake picnic bench bed onto Broadway every morning to write songs until it was time to play on Printers Alley…Willie told Patsy Cline’s husband about “Crazy” in a booth at Tootsies…Dolly fell in love at a laundromat on Wedgewood… a young, wet behind the ears Whitey Shafer knocks on Lefty Frizzell’s front door with a couple beers and a reel to reel and next thing you know, they write “I Never Go Around Mirrors”…a strung out Johnny Cash is sleeping on a strung out Waylon Jennings couch and they’re trying to scrounge up enough dough to pay the electric bill…no-name Garth Brooks hears Tony Arata sing “The Dance” at a writers night in Douglas Corner…Craig Wiseman sat in his apartment and ate pork and beans every night…Chris Wallin would buy as many .59 cent McDonalds hamburgers as he could afford and freeze them to get by for the week…

Misfits, Gypsies and Dreamers

Right now as you read this there is someone scraping by, missing home, second guessing their life choices…and before long they are going to be the next big thing here. Every single night any of us play our songs in this town there is somebody in the audience that just got here, or is about to play a song in the late night round for the first time. The circle will be unbroken no matter how the landscape changes…it’s not just in the walls torn down…it’s in the cracks in the sidewalk, it’s in the 11:00am sets on Lower Broadway, it’s in the heart of every man and woman who listens to that gnawing feeling in their gut telling them to quit school, quit their steady job and come join the tens of thousands of others chasing something they’ll probably never catch. Come join the misfits, gypsies, dreamers, drunks and poets…come walk the streets with a guitar case in your hand…write a song. Write another. Write another.

All of that struck me in the few minutes driving to my gig and when I got there, the next extraordinary thing happened: 2. The room was full of people who actually got in their cars after a long day of working or running errands or going to school or being in the FREAKING HOSPITAL and came out to hear my set! I can’t tell you how you all touched my heart last night and how cool it was to see you all there! Thank you Susie Martin, Tommy Martin, Larry N Beckett Singleton, Marc-Alan Barnette, Amy Myers, Addy Myers, Tim, Mariah, Rebbeka, Greg Hall, Thank You for being there. It was an extra great night to be a songwriter. Life is good.