Our first big show in Nashville! We started our morning strong with a big bowl of yogurt and fruit with granola and some Montana coffee. As the morning sun poured in, completely erasing the storms of the past few days, we finished a crossword and chatted about a proper set list for the evening’s gig. Earlier in the morning, the man running the showcase, “Nashville’s Most Wanted”, Cody Purvis, texted us and asked if we could switch our time slots around. We politely declined, as we knew a couple people who said they were coming out to see us. He was totally cool and said the act scheduled after us wasn’t going to be able to make it, so we offered to play that set as well, giving us a larger time slot!! Woo to the hoo!
We took our time getting ready, played some music to warm up and decided to get there in time to watch both of the other acts before us. The first of which was a young man of 18 named Jet Jurgensmeyer. Jet has been a child actor/singer/songwriter most of his life, growing up literally yards away from the stage he was playing on. A huge amount of confidence, a darling smile, and a definite knack for entertainment, Jet is well on his way to becoming a staple in the Nashville music scene. He was engaging, and gracious and even played a good number of originals. He actually closed with an original song that Jared and I really loved and it will be released in June. Be on the lookout for this rising star! We even had some fans text us that their kids watch a tv show (The Stinky & Dirty Show) that he does the voice for one of the characters on, and they love him! Wild!!
The next act was a duo. The young lady is currently a back up singer for a famous country singer named Lorrie Morgan, touring all over the world. The singer’s name is also Morgan, just to avoid confusion. (Morgan Cheyanne) She and her fiancé rarely got to play on stage together with the touring schedule not allowing it so much, but they were really happy to get up and be together, sharing classic country tunes and some originals. Reminiscent of Dolly, Loretta, and Emmylou, and appropriately clad in sparkly glitter boots and jean jacket, Morgan’s pure, sweet voice perfectly hit us in all the feels, as she wove her way through hits from a time when country music was more like folk and the songs were full of heart, melody, and story. Her fiancé was wonderfully complimentary on mandolin and absolutely spot on with harmonies. They switched instruments for a couple of original tunes and were really delightful to listen to. In stark contrast to the musicians we’d seen the night before, BOTH of these artists seemed to truly enjoy being on stage, sharing their gifts. We knew, even not being the same genre, we were among like-minded performers!
Then it was our turn. The bar and almost all the tables surrounding it were full of people who, maybe out of morbid curiosity, maybe because they had looked us up already, or maybe just because their dinner hadn’t arrived yet, stuck around to catch the show of the duo from Washington that the host, Cody, kept emphasizing as a special feature of his lineup. The pressure was on. We were NOT going to let them down.
We came out the gate strong with Jared’s percussion mouth beats, looped on a pedal, gave a huge thank you to our previous performers, a warm welcome to the audience, then proudly announced that we were gonna share all original music and we were gonna have some fun. Once Balance was through, we went straight into new audience favorite, and immediate chance to show off Jared as an electric blues guitar player, Tame It. The crowd was really digging it all. Then we opened up and let it all hang out with our new tune, “Naked”. We had the whole place interested as we confessed that we are all dirty hippies in WA, and yes, we have indeed played shows 100% butt ass naked. Well, buy me boots and call me Merle, I think we done did break in! This tune had everyone laughing, singing along, and even got some merchandise sold. A sweet lady came up afterwards and wanted a crop hoodie with my face on it (thank you, designer Gina Cloe). I jumped off the stage to help her, and she said, “I’m gonna wear this with no pants on and dance around naked in my livingroom!!!” Of course I was thrilled with that, told her she was beautiful, hugged her, and jumped back on stage. Turns out, that was Nashville’s very own legend, Lorrie Morgan, herself. Someone had to tell me that after the show… Hey man, I’m just here encouraging people to be people! We’re all in it together, pants or not!
The show was really going well. We sold merch (which apparently no one EVER brings to sell…which is bananas to me) and we were making tips. All felt pretty great. But I still felt really disconnected with our audience because we were pretty far away. Well, whether they liked it or not, I was about to change that. I said to Jared ”I’m a little nervous about this, but fuck it…I can’t just preach this shit, I gotta live it!” I jumped off the stage as Jared launched into “That Girl” and immediately began to talk to people.
I said onto the mic, “I’m gonna make this really awkward for all of us. Are you ready?”
People didn’t even know what was happening. “Sure!” They half interested, half scared replied. “Sir, have we ever met?” (You should have seen his wife’s face!)
“No. We haven’t met!”, he says.
“Ok. Well, here goes. I. Love. YOU.” (Moment of truth)
He looks at me, smiles, and says back, “I love YOU, too!”
Well, let me tell you. That just opened the whole place up! I began running up to people and just telling them I loved them. I got hugs, I got “I love you’s” back, I got the whole audience engaged in a moment unlike anything they will experience again here in Nashville. I said, “Now don’t we all feel better? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Love? Loving each other and REALLY saying it?” Cheers and applause. It was a moment and a feeling I will never forget. We were all part of something tangible, real, authentic, and we all created it TOGETHER! I will draw on that experience when I wonder to myself, alone at night, in the darkness and stillness of my bed and my thoughts, “Is it worth it? Does anyone even care?” Whether they ever say so or not, I FEEL it. I know they DO. I KNOW we are right where we need to be.
The rest of the show went really well. I know because as we drank our bourbon with a dear friend of ours named Ben Potter (I will talk more about the Potters in a different blog), we couldn’t get five minutes through stories over the course of a good hour without people coming up and showering us with love. People saying “I love you too”, “You guys were so amazing!”, “We really dug your set”, “Your hair is so cool”, “You guys are so different!”, and my favorite actually came from a server that was there the whole night and I honestly didn’t even think he was paying too much attention. He said, “You guys made me believe in love again. You really can’t imagine how much I needed it. Thank you.”
I know a lot of people thought we should come to Nashville to be “discovered” or to “make connections” and “show Nashville that Champagne Sunday magic”, and that is all rad and relevant. But I think we actually came to Nashville, if for literally NOTHING else, to help someone believe in love again. And that is the true quest of the mission.