Sunday, August 9, 2015

Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road

Buck Owens knew I wasn't going to be a Country music star.

He said, "You have to want it more than anything. Think of what you want the most right now, well you have to want it more than that. More than Anything!" And then, he sent me on my way.

I left Bakersfield, CA for the Yellow Brick Road back in 1998. 

Nashville was a lot like the journey to Oz, in that the most meaningful part of it wasn't the destination but the relationships I made.  Once I got on Music Row, the game for me had changed. The Nashville scene was transitioning from the demo singers that were 'discovered' in the studios, to reality show phenom's. If in 2001 you were on a show that included the words 'Idol' or 'Star' you just might have a shot.

The men behind the curtains pulling levers, and smoke machines were retiring and labels were closing left and right. The gentrification of Nashville had begun long before the 12 South and Gulch explosion when Tower Records and Bobby's Idle Hour had shut down. Buck always said that Nashville was a slick machine that waned between art & commerce, and it still in fact is.

My musical education here was broadened not by Nashville's commercial sound, but by the spiritual experience of attending a Patty Griffin show, the gritty vocals of Lucinda Williams and the sweet fragile voice of Julie Miller.

Singing took a backseat to babies, and that was just fine with me. I could fail at the game, I could fail in a broken marriage, but failure as a parent is not an option. I knew what I wanted more than 'Anything'.

The reason I came to Nashville has shifted from being about me, to being about something much bigger than myself. The best future for two little kids, and getting them off of the Yellow Brick Road and onto one less traveled by.

The best things about Nashville are probably my memories with you if you're reading this, and my Cross Point family.  I love you for helping me realize that the best way to serve myself, was by serving others. That was a gift.

The Instagrams of Nashville sunsets and coffee art, will preserve most of the posterity I hold dear.

If we've ever shared a beer and a bible verse, then you know you will be missed.

I started where the sun sets, and will settle where the sun begins in Wilmington, NC.

I cant wait to see my kids enjoy being with family, the ocean and some peace.
My wonderful Mom will get to enjoy being in the same city again with both of her kids after 20 years!

If you find yourself in Nashville chasing down a dream, remember that boys are like flying monkeys and yes, you should throw rocks at them unless they prove they have Brains, Courage and a Heart. Be careful of distractions, they're everywhere and they can look promising but may consequentially detour you like a field of pretty flowers. People in the biz, are not the Wizard and they have no idea how to 'make it' and will give you copious amounts of advice in the form of worse metaphors than these.  Witches don't always fly brooms, but they might be good attorneys.

Lastly.. I think Elphaba from Wicked said it best..

"Whatever way our stories end, I'll know you'll have rewritten mine for being my friend."

God Speed, Nashville..


  1. How exciting for your family Shannon! Guess I will have to visit old friends in NC now!