Late last year I wrote a a song called "Long Way 'Round". However, originally I wasn't quite sure what it was about until spring of this year. So the next few thoughts/stories will shed some light on it.
I feel like God gives us fantastic dreams and ideas - avenues of creativity - that for me, are birthed within us so quickly, but He says, " Now...with that, there is no easy way to get there....you must take the long way around..."
I feel like for me, I have always had to take the long way around to get in the right direction - there are no shortcuts.
This brings me to certain recent musical turning points - which happen to be tied in to South Carolina....of all things.
So, I was in South Carolina last weekend, at a church-ran venue/coffeehouse called The Warehouse. This time I got to visit very little, but was happy to be greeted nonetheless by new and old friends, a surprise birthday party during my concert where everyone did the 'chicken-dance' to some form of polka....as well as a sweet lady with downs syndrome who jumped up on stage with me and sang and clapped with me on my last 4 songs! It was a beautiful moment!
It was the third and last time performing this year (once in Feb., once in June), and I had a blast as always - definitely looking forward to seeing everyone again next year!
The Warehouse, to be precise, is located in the 'upstate' in the little town of Inman, practically a suburb of Spartanburg. For the upstate, there is literally no shortcut eastward around the Appalachias, at least they are usually not short - from Chattanooga I usually go all the way down to Atlanta and then up I-85, or up to I-40 which takes you through Knoxville and Asheville then back down.
I've had people ask "why there....what's in SC?"
To be honest I didn't know what to expect at first, but I can tell you - it's a gem - always a warm welcome, appreciation for music, and I haven't met a South Carolinian yet who can't sing - and most of them very well. Even back in 2011 I ventured to Laurens, SC in the upstate to places such as Northside Church and The Scarlet Chord Cafe, and I was welcomed with open arms and strong encouragement for my music -- turning points in my musical journey. I wouldn't actually be doing what I do today if it wasn't for Brett (seminar-giving, youth-leading all-in-one worship leader) and Pastor Ronnie (the bowhunting-pastor), as well as Phil (cafe owner) for taking risks and allowing me to come share my music.
Inman and The Warehouse was also a turning point when I first came to perform early this year. I didn't know what to expect, but was met by strong - and unlikely - support for my music and what I was doing. Among those who encouraged me deeply were Jim Dover and his family and his fellow clan of Californians including the Christopherson family who had relocated themselves to the upstate from Sacramento, among others to name a few. Jim and his family welcomed me into their home, and we spent the day talking about life and music. Jim's wife Sonja loves photography, so naturally I was grateful when she snapped a bunch of me playing that weekend :-) Jim and his son Mike even joined me for one of my shows the following evening in Feb in the upstate. Jim, a humble guitar veteran, and Mike a young eager drummer easily jumped into the songs with me. I love doing those spontaneous things! Most people would be afraid of it, but I love taking risks.
The Christophersons (transplanted Californians and a family of musicians/worship leaders) hosted me back in June. We had a lot in common and shared many stories of music - especially when it came to worship leading and music in the church. Jackie, the mom had been to Africa to lead music this year, the others led in various churches, and the daughter Lindsey has a powerhouse voice - a highschooler but with the depth of Celine Dion - it was amazing hanging with them as well and getting to know them this year! Lindsey even joined me on a song this past weekend, and it was a lot of fun.
When I went to SC I felt clarity for the musical directions God was taking me, and He showed me that things aren't always what you'd expect them to be.
"Have faith and live it out in the most unlikely places..." I felt like He was saying. also "Don't disclude anyone...don't set up certain expectations in your heart...."
So I guess I have learned to expect the unexpected.
cont in Pt 2.....,