Last week, I had the joy of visiting Nashville. It's one of my favorite cities to visit, and I do so every few months. Whether it's for a week or just 24 hours, I'll take any chance that comes my way to go. Why? Same reason as anywhere else. It's the people. The places and the people in them. The food and the people you eat it with. The music, the people who play it and the people who listen. There's a spirit of creativity, just bursting at the seams and filling the air there, and people breathe it in; a spirit that's not fun and easy, and in fact, it's really uncomfortable. It writhes and scratches, it doesn't fit into its own skin and it dreams of the day when the sky splits open, all is made right, and it can finally be free again. In the mean time, it wrestles with the writers, artists, and musicians of Nashville and life is cultivated -- purpose is found -- in that wrestling. And all of that is beautiful.
My most recent trip took me to Brentwood, in particular, for a benefit show. Some dear friends from the Rabbit Room (http://rabbitroom.com) community used their gifts of music, writing, and entertaining to bring attention and raise funds for our cause. They realized that We Carry Kevan is more than just a couple of guys going on a trip. It is a message and movement to encourage others, and they wanted to be a part of it.
The concert was on Tuesday, so I rolled into town Monday night, over the mountains, into East Nashville, and right up to the front door of Smoker's Abbey. I was introduced to the Abbey a few years ago and, though I don't smoke, it has become my "home away from home" and the patrons are amazing people. So, the Abbey and, yes, BBQ sandwiches were my first order of business upon entering town. My friend Tyler, who traveled with me, and I stayed with a wonderful family not far from there. To give you an idea of this family, on our way there, we got a call from the son Logan. "I just fell off my longboard and broke my wrist, so I'm going to the hospital. But just let yourselves in when you get here." We arrived 10 minutes later to find Logan standing in the driveway with a smile on his face and a swollen arm in his hand. He had decided to wait for us to make sure we got in alright before going to the ER. Who does that?!
Tuesday was spent eating fish tacos and walking around Centennial Park with my old friend Bethany. Before we knew it, dinner time was upon us and the benefit show was fast approaching. Pete, head of Rabbit Room and one of my favorite people in the world, invited us to have dinner with his family. So, there's a check off the box of more food and great conversation!
Then it was off to the show! And who was the line-up? In the round, we had Wes King, Buddy Greene, Ron Block, and my good friend Eric Peters. For those who don't know what a round is, imagine all your favorite musicians sitting around a campfire, sharing stories and playing songs together like a jam session. Now, take away the campfire (in this case, anyway) and replace it with microphones. Ron sings a song about when his mom died, and that reminds Wes of a song he wrote also about loss, etc. The round goes on.
Halfway through the show, Pete introduced me and we talked about the trip. I was thrilled at the positive response, from both the audience and the musicians. What a great encouragement to be in the room that night! Ah, the stuff of life -- to use our gifts to build up one another! And after the show, I talked to everyone I could until the clock struck late and the venue owners had to send us off. Tyler and I climbed back into the van and set out down the highway. We'd get home at sunup, and after such a grand 24 hours (26, really), that was just fine by us.