I had a heckuva day on Saturday. Woke up way too early, had breakfast, wrote a blog piece, and got in the car by 6:00am.
The weather and the traffic weren't too bad. Rolled through Nashville and Chattanooga, and into Atlanta before I ran into trouble. Traffic was stopped on I-285. Too many people were trying take the exit onto I-85 North. Fortunately "Haunted Man" by Rod Picott came up in the shuffle and significantly mellowed the mood.
I was crossing the South Carolina state line on I-85 just north of Lavonia, Georgia (where Michael Curtis Branch's listeners have made my song "Inside That Box" a staple on his "Breakfast With Porkchop" radio show) when "Desert Skies" by The Marshall Tucker Band came on. I thought "I guess I am supposed to be in South Carolina tonight."
I got to Greenwood and found my hotel, stretched out for a few minutes, and then took a shower.
Soundcheck was at 4:00pm. I headed over, met up with event organizers Trey Ward and Frank Elliott, tuned up my guitar, and climbed up on a stool center stage. Greenwood Community Theatre has great acoustics, and the soundman knows his stuff, so two half-songs later I was done checking.
Byron Hill and Wil Nance showed up for their soundcheck. Between them, they have written several truckloads of great country songs, and they were the headliners for that night's Nashville Songwriters Benefit for Make-A-Wish South Carolina concert. I had met Byron before, and certainly knew about his songwriting success, but I had never met Wil.
After soundcheck, we all strolled over to Montague's Restaurant for dinner. Montague's was one of the sponsors of the event, and our dinner was on the house. The food, the service, and the atmosphere were all excellent, as was the company. We talked about everything except songwriting...our various gastrointestinal issues, history, food, arthritis, and how beautiful Greenwood is.
Trey kicked off the show with a few of his songs about 7:00pm, accompanied by David Tilley. They play together on a pretty regular basis, and David's sweet touch on the guitar adds another beautiful layer to the songs that Trey writes. They played several heart-rending Bluegrass songs, and then ended with "Second Hand Spit". Trey and David pretty much knocked the crowd dead. It was my job to resuscitate them so that Byron and Wil could lay them out again.
I played a mix of songs from my CDs "What's Not To Love About That?" and "One More Night In Nashville", along with two songs that I have not yet recorded. I was well-received, although I was afraid that I might have gotten a little too weird for the crowd when I played "Can't Cut The Baby In Half". I told a few stories, and generally acted like a fool, but nobody threw anything. It was fun.
Byron and Wil came on, and Wil started with this song that he wrote for George Strait...
...and it only got better from there. Those guys had so many big songs (including Byron's first #1.. which was also George Strait's first #1 "Fool Hearted Memory") that I can't even list them all. The near-capacity crowd definitely got their money's worth, and Make-A-Wish South Carolina is well on their way to making another child's dream come true. My dream of sharing stages with big hit songwriters is already coming true.
After the show, I had the opportunity to hang out with an old college buddy who had the adjoining room to mine at the hotel. Bill Roberson and I were in theatre together at East Carolina University. He has since gone on to act in "Forrest Gump", "Radio", "Patch Adams", and a bunch of other film and television spots. Here's an Oscar Meyer commercial he did recently.
Bill and his wife, and a friend of theirs from Columbia were great company, and we sat up until well after midnight, when I excused myself and crawled off to sleep.
Did I mention that I had a heckuva day on Saturday?