On Saturday, April 29th, I was getting ready to sing at the Winery at The Fontanel.
Hearing about this venue in advance, I was really excited. Getting to sing in Nashville is always a big deal—I loved singing at The Commodore just three days before, but getting to sing for a couple hours? All by myself? … Even bigger deal. I sang from 2-4 PM in a gorgeous setting, but I’ll be honest…
I was a little disappointed.
Now, I should explain why because it wasn’t because of the venue, or the the people, or the sound, or the quality… No, it was simply because of circumstances.
There was a marathon going on right outside, and almost no one came inside. Those who did come inside didn’t really stick around for long. Because there was a marathon going on outside. I was constantly trying to think of ways to get people interested enough within thirty-second snapshots to sit down for a bit…. I think about all kinds of things while I’m singing. Sometimes it’s something productive like this. Other times, I’m noticing the kids who are playing Jenga at the table in front of me. Lesson learned about the kids playing Jenga at the table in front of me:
Don’t ask them who just won. Got it.
Anyway, it just wasn’t the most encouraging performance in the world.
Oh, and on top of the marathon, there was an outdoor show of some kind starting shortly after me in a completely different location, and seeing people driving up and parking on the grass to go to this other show was… also not encouraging. Encouraging for that band though, of course.
Why am I telling you about this? To complain? No, not at all.
I enjoyed singing there. I did.
It wasn’t what I hoped for, but as always, I was grateful for the opportunity.
No, why I’m sharing this with you is because of what happened next…
While I was singing, there was a couple sitting at a table for a long time, and they were listening. I didn’t get a chance to meet them, but I noticed them; and I noticed when they moved over to the table my mom and dad were at. I found out afterwards that these two were from Franklin and they were giving my parents a list of places I should check out. Places where I could sing. One of the places they recommended is called “It’s All About Z Music”. “It’s All About Z Music” is a series of in-home concerts geared specifically towards songwriters. Terry and Wanda Seay host these shows in their home in Franklin, TN, throughout the year, and it just so happened they were having a concert that night on the 29th. I’ve always been curious what house concerts are like, so I was very interested.
A long story short, my dad called Terry and Wanda to find out if they “might have tickets available for three out-of-towners”. They wanted us to send them an email so they could send us a packet of information about their concerts, and a few texts and a power outage later, my dad told them we’d heard about them from a couple at The Fontanel where I’d been singing earlier that day. They responded by telling us to come on over and that I could sing a song or two….
Then they texted again to say I was up at 7:30.
We hadn’t even been asking for that. We just wanted to go to the show.
With a big smile, my dad asked me, “So, what do you think, Brit?”
I said, “Let’s do it!”
So I grabbed my guitar, we picked up a couple trays of fruits and veggies on the way, and we went. Here’s a picture of their setup...
I sang three songs right at the beginning of the night, and it was wonderful. It was honestly so much fun. I played one of my brand new songs for the first time, and afterwards one of the other artists said something to me that my parents and I have been quoting ever since. He told me, "Wow, that was a heck of a set!" But he didn't say "heck".
His comments that followed (which I'll keep to myself...) made me feel like I belonged--with him and the other artists performing that night (even though in truth I'd fallen into that concert and was kind of winging it) but also in Nashville Music in general.
I felt like I belonged. My music belongs.
Everyone who came was there for the music—they were all kind and extremely welcoming, the setup was beautiful, the sound was excellent…. And I enjoyed everything about it.
And I really enjoyed hearing the other songwriters perform.
There was a round of three featured songwriters at the end of the night (Mark Irwin, Riley Weston, and Clay Mills) who have written songs for Darius Rucker, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Martina McBride, Diamond Rio, Clay Walker, Trisha Yearwood...
And why was I there--with the likes of them?
Because a couple of kindred spirits were at The Fontanel earlier that day.
P.S. While singing at the Fontanel, a girl came up to me near the end of my set saying she grew up in IL, her parents now live in Chelan, WA, and that her dad (Who I believe I met at the concert at The Ruby? Is that right?) had told her about the show?! Chris Heal! It was so lovely to meet your daughter—she was so nice! Thank you for extending the invitation! That was a great feeling. It’s a small world. :)