On the way to conduct a leadership seminar this week I had the travel time to listen to new music from a Texas country singer, Jason Cassidy. Jason was a neighborhood friend of the sons of my fellow HR buddy Roy from Houston. Jason has chosen country music as a career and I hope America follows Texas in allowing that to occur.
The title to his sophomore CD is Keep It Country. There are many great songs on there. Blame It On Waylon is a great song to have on while exercising, riding down a dirt road or through the pasture. Caution: if you are on the highway, set your cruise control. You will unconsciously speed up.
Today, however, I got hung up on Track 4, Nothing Holds A Memory (Like A Song). It made me flashback to all the music that has played a part in my life. I’ve loved most types of music all my life. It started with using my money as a kid to buy every Elvis record made. (Traded every one of them for a pool cue in 1968. I haven’t always been very smart obviously. Dang you, Lynn Norton.)
I liked Motown and R&B. I went to concerts as a teenager when I had the money. I remember Sly and The Family Stones Greatest Hits 8-track being probably the most played through those four Craig speakers in my cars. I bought every greatest hit 8-track that came out every month with songs from various artists.
Over the years I began to enjoy country music. Sandy & I can’t remember all the concerts we have seen. Luckily we’ve had friends that loved music as much as we did and always had a “yes” answer to the “Hey, do you want to go see ________?” question.
Sometimes we took the girls but they didn’t always like our style of music. I’ve seen them both asleep in chairs while Merle Haggard finished and Clint Black began. However, I have to admit I still remember Boys To Men singing “End Of The Road” in Little Rock and the New Kids On The Block claiming they had the “Right Stuff” at a football field in Bentonville. These were concerts the girls wanted to see and they knew that daddy loved music.
I’ve seen high energy shows like the Jacksons Victory Tour in Texas Stadium, Pointer Sisters in Las Vegas and Garth Brooks in Little Rock, Memphis and Jonesboro. I’ve also enjoyed listening to songwriters pour their heart and emotions out with nothing but a guitar in Luckenbach, Texas or at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tennessee.
I saw George Strait for the first time in the 80’s at Barnhill arena in Fayetteville, AR where I also saw Steve Winwood, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, Exposé, Alabama, and Earl Thomas Conley. Sandy, I and the girls also saw Reba change clothes at least a dozen times in 90 minutes at a Barnhill concert.
I’ve nearly missed Sugarland because I’d never heard of them when they opened for Reba. I knew within the first 15 minutes, they were just getting started in their career. I saw Trace Adkins for the first of six times on a flatbed trailer at Toy Hill in Little Rock. I also believe we were the only white folks at a Freddie Jackson concert in Little Rock.
Sandy, friends and I heard the most beautiful voice from some lady named Martina that opened for Garth in Jonesboro. I saw some new guy named Keith Urban make me think there was an entire band with him when all he had were hands, stomping feet and an acoustic guitar. I saw Tim and Faith sing together at Texas Stadium before they were Tim and Faith. I saw a full moon through the roof of Texas Stadium while George Straight was on stage that night. I felt my eyes sweat when Alabama sang “Angels Among Us” at their farewell tour in Little Rock. I’ve had Al Green take me back through our honeymoon in 1976 with his greatest hits at a concert, “whether times are good or bad, happy or sad.”
One of the great things about this were the friends that enjoyed this music with us. Friends and fellowship go hand in hand with music.
I do believe all of this played a major role in my learning to play guitar and write songs at 50 years old. It is never too late to learn anything. I’m blessed enough to have experienced folks with tears in their eyes tell me what a song I have written meant to them. A song must make us mad, sad or glad or we’ve wasted time.
When they asked me to have some old songs playing at our 40th class reunion of Hope High School Class of 1972, I didn’t have to purchase one song. I had them. I’ve always loved music.
Back to Jason’s song, Nothing Holds A Memory Like A Song. There are so many songs that bring back memories. Here are a few that immediately come to mind:
• For The Love of You – Isley Brothers – This without a doubt is “Our Song”. This was the 8-track that played during my stalking/courting/dating of Sandy Mullins 37 years ago. Ronald Isley has a very distinctive voice. You recognize it immediately.
• Live Like You Were Dying – Tim Mcgraw – I was on Hwy. 82 in Texarkana when I first heard this. It was what I call a POS (Pull Over Song). I loved the lyrics and the message. Had to purchase it quickly. Fortunate enough to hear one of the co-writers, Craig Wiseman tell the inspiration behind the song at a songwriters night in Weatherford Texas.
• I Believe – Brooks and Dunn – I had bought this CD on a trip to Fayetteville and was listening to parts of it. Late that night on the way home “I Believe” came on. It was the first time I had heard it. There is a huge lighted Cross between Alma and Russellville. That Cross came into view as Ronnie Dunn said “I’m finding more and more truth in the words written in red.” I will never forget that feeling. I listened to nothing else all the way home. BTW, Craig Wiseman was a co-writer on this with Ronnie Dunn and they had to fight to get it on the CD because of the Christian message.
• Butterfly Kisses – Bob Carlisle – I was meeting two of the District Managers to go out of town when I first heard this. My eyes sweat immensely (a manly way of saying I wept like a small child). I had to reroute and drive around to get my eyes back to normal before meeting them. I blamed it on traffic but it was a song.
• Butterfly Kisses – I Loved Her First – These were the two songs selected by my girls for father/daughter dances at their weddings. Yes, the eyes sweat again.
There are many more but I will stop there.
If you love good country music, I strongly recommend “Keep It Country” by Jason Cassidy. It is available on iTunes. If you are true music lover, spend a little extra time on Track 4, “Nothing Holds A Memory Like A Song.” Think about the music that has been around as you have taken this ole journey called life.
Can you remember where you were, who you were with, what you were driving or what you felt when you heard a particular song? I would love to hear the songs that hold your memories.