2011 was an incredible year for me. I have learned, lost, and gained more this year than any other in my life. My family and friends are God-sent and my fans, all of you, are the reason I make every effort to bring these songs of mine from my bedroom to your listening ears.
I started this year off with a brand new album, “Baby Don’t Look Down” (which you can download for whatever price you want here on bandcamp!). Those songs, I feel, really grew me as a songwriter and an artist, and looking back now it is encouraging for me to see that all of the steps I’ve made along the way in my journey have not been steps backward. I’ve heard it said that if you’re not doing your best work at this moment then what are you doing? I’m to do better now…
One of the highlights of the album and this period for me was writing a duet for me and Cary Ann Hearst and having her sing on my song “Young Love.” I adore her voice and her songs. Patrick Blanchard, my producer, was a game changer as well.
I got to sing “Augusta”, my song about my hometown, to Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver in his office and that was special to have my song recognized in that way. I got to share the stage with such incredible songwriters as Becky Hobbs, Kacey Jones, Benita Hill, Tony Arata, Kent Blazy, Jonmark Stone, Erick Dylan, Lance Carpenter, and more… and become friends with them as well. Much of all this I thank my friend Don Rhodes for making one or two connections that started a snowball’s roll. And my dear friends the Seays know how to grease a snowball.
Personally, a high point was getting to work at the Augusta National Golf Club for a few months. Larry Gatlin, who I had the pleasure of meeting there one day, and who once I moved to Nashville invited me to be his guest backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, said to me what I feel about the Augusta National: “It’s a very special place.” Amen. You don’t have to say more. Put going to the Masters Tournament on your bucket list.
I did move to Nashville and I’ve made some wonderful friends here. I love my new home. My friends Craig Wayne Boyd and Eric Lee Beddingfield let me open up for them at 12th & Porter here in Music City. My last two shows in Augusta and Atlanta, Georgia were so memorable. I was asked to be a part of the Morris Museum of Art’s songwriters series and to be included in something that is a home of real art is an honor. It was also so cool to see one of my very talented friends, Josh Hisle, open up for Stephen Stills in Atlanta. Getting to shake Stephen’s hand and catch up with Josh was a blast. Sitting in one of the dressing rooms backstage at the Grand Ole Opry with Larry Gatlin and Vince Gill as they talked about their golf game was a pinch me moment. I certainly have been blessed to be around wonderful people who make music that impacts so many of us.
2011. I am humbled and grateful for this past year and I am resolved to make more music and live a richer and fuller life in the coming twenty-twelve.
What really matters in life?
I know its love and not hate. I know its human worth and not riches. It’s leaving your neighbor or a stranger with a smile when they didn’t have one before. Its going to sleep at night knowing that what you did that day was what you were created to do. If you or I can live this way won’t 2012 be a bumper crop year?