Music. It entertains us. It gets us through hard work outs. It accompanies us on long drives. It is the soundtrack to a night out with our girls or boys. And, perhaps most importantly, it is our ear, our shoulder, our most sacred confidante that never fails to come in when it seems the rest of the world has gone out.
Lately, I have found myself at a crossroads; one of those places where I question why I am standing right where I am, which path seems like the right one to take next, and which path seems like the one of most resistance (because I generally travel that one). While standing at that point, glancing left, right, front, and back, the one thing that stays certain is music. It permeates my ears, the lyrics ring through my head, the emotion travels to the pit of my stomach, and it’s there and then I usually find the answers.
One of the things I love the most about NashvilleGab is that Shannon has given us a platform to be honest, while providing us with unfettered discretion to report about who and what we believe in and write editorials that matter to us. In other words, she has provided us a home in which we can laugh, cry, yell, and find relief in whatever way we need it. I am no musician, but I venture to say that this somewhat mirrors the songwriting, recording, and performing processes. When I can sit down with my favorite artists’ words and passion and find that those crossroads aren’t really as lonely as they seem sometimes, I feel as though I have been healed by a helping hand. Those words serve as the same lifeline to the people creating them.
What I have come to find interesting lately as I get to meet more artists and know them on a deeper level is they are just like the listeners. They look to music for the same things we do, they rely on lyrics, melodies, a moving guitar riff, or a beaten drum to get them through moments, whether it is lifting their spirits or invoking their tears. We see their personal lives and struggles splashed on the Internet, scrolled across the bottoms of our television screens, and reported on the news, yet they still show up at shows with painted on smiles for the sakes of the fans. And as we all sit here and ask ourselves how they power through those public moments that ninety-nine percent of the population can’t make it through in private, we should realize the answer is pretty simple: Music.
For the love of their crafts, for respect of their fans, for the release they get when they belt a painful song, these artists find solace in the exact same place we do. As fans, you sometimes find yourselves wondering what you can do to take your favorite artist’s pain away, but you have been doing it all along. Support that artist through the ups and downs. Buy his/her music. Listen to that music and share it with a friend who may need to hear it at just the right time. Recognize the fact that, right then, you are in the exact same place as somebody you thought was a person you could never connect with; because where there is music, there is friendship, understanding, and, when you need them the most, answers.
I have been covering artists like Kelly Clarkson and Jo Dee Messina for several years now from a media perspective. As far as helping hands go, these particular artists have been there for me through everything trying in my life. From my parents’ divorce to my dad moving fifteen hundred miles away to college to the death of my best friend to law school to my move to Nashville to this very day of uncertainty, they have remained constants in my life; something I can’t say for other people. To this day, I still rely on Kelly to empathize with my need to constantly breakaway; to teach me what it’s like to really cry; to appreciate the self doubt that goes with questioning who I am and what I’m about; to celebrate and relish in somebody toxic walking out of my life. I still listen to Jo Dee’s music and tell myself that it is okay to feel like not enough; it is normal to take a little downtime; it’s perfectly acceptable to question somebody’s intentions in a friendship; it’s alright to be stuck and flip a coin to make a decision. I also found inspiration for this piece by listening to Jo Dee’s words.
Who are your go-to artists when you need company the most? Has Miranda Lambert helped you recall your childhood and cherish the house that built you? Has Tim McGraw encouraged you to take life by the horns and live it to its fullest? Has Garth Brooks taught you to dance the dance? Let us know by leaving a comment here or tweeting us @NashvilleGab. Tag the artist who has given you the gift of friendship too and let him/her know how much he/she has helped you. Maybe you will catch these artists on a day when they need to hear those words the most.