Nashville

There is something remarkably hopeful about this town and its residents. There is a kind of excitement here. It’s too bad the rest of the world can’t be so optimistic.

Nashville, Tennessee—The noon sun is shining on Music Row. The world-famous recording studios, radio stations, and record offices sit lined up like dominoes. I’m walking into one such studio right now.

This is weird.

I walk past mic stands, cables, and foam-covered walls.

When I was a teenager, I played music in a band. We were god-awful. What we lacked in musical talent, we made up for in body odor. One night, a Nashville man visited the bar and tipped the band one hundred dollars. My bandmates got so excited they left for Nashville to see if they could “make it.”

I didn’t go with them because I had a job I couldn’t afford to lose—also I couldn’t stand their smell.

In this town, people dream big. You can see them everywhere. Their dreams are too large to keep beneath their hats. They are hopeful, talented, nice-looking, and most of them don’t have a chance in Hades at “making it.”

At least, that’s what I’ve been told.

This morning, I met a sixty-seven-year-old man who once moved here from Indiana in hopes of becoming a country songwriter. He washes dishes, and also works as a construction worker. His face has some mileage on it.

“I came here after my mom died,” he said. “Thirty years ago. I just wanted to be able to say I gave it my best shot.”

If you listen to him talk, you’ll find out that he believes he’s somewhat of a failure because his name isn’t in neon lights.

“No, I don’t regret moving here,” he said. “But, it’s been real disappointing, I’ve learned how to be hopeful even when nothing’s working out, you know, that’s not easy.”

He laughed. I could see he was missing a few teeth.

There is something remarkably hopeful about this town and its residents. There is a kind of excitement here. It’s too bad the rest of the world can’t be so optimistic.

Hope might run thin in Indiana, but it’s in the drinking water here in Davidson County.

My uncle had that same pie-in-the-sky optimism. Long ago, I remember when he told me, “You keep practicing your guitar, and one day maybe you’ll go to Nashville, maybe one day you’ll ‘make it.’”

I’m middle-aged, it’s not looking good.

But then, my uncle and I had different goals in life. When I was a boy, my highest ambition was to survive the death of my father.

As a teenager, I wanted not to be a Panhandle hick—even if only for a few minutes.

When I was a grown man, I wanted earn a high-school and college education so I wouldn’t feel stupid when I looked in a mirror.

I’ve done those things. What else is there?

Today, all I want is for my family and friends to know I love them. Also, I want to catch some redfish from time to time, and to grow old with my wife.

But getting back to the recording studio. Right now I am inside a padded booth. An audio engineer named Kevin stands behind soundproof glass, looking at me, telling me it’s time to start recording.

I never thought I’d see the inside of a place like this.

I must be in shock because I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know how to act. I am here to deliver spoken words that will become the audiobook version of my novel. I wish someone would pinch me.

My wife is behind the glass. She gives me a thumbs-up. I wave at her like I am a complete goober.

She’s been with me through a lot. She’s watched me fall on my face. She watched me finish my education. And once, she started a standing ovation when I walked across a community college stage. And she’s here with me, in Nashville.

The words of an Indiana cowboy come back to me:

“The way I figure: long as I’m breathing, I’m gonna keep trying to write songs that’ll touch someone’s heart, whether they are ever on the radio or not, I want people to see that life is a blessing, it’s a real blessing, man, I believe that.”

I shook his hand and thanked him.

It was a genuine pleasure to shake the hand of a man who has already “made it.”

17 comments

  1. Sandi in FL. - March 27, 2019 6:45 am

    Sean all the best to you on the audio verion as well as printed version of your new novel. When can we purchase a copy of each, and will it be sold on Amazon like your previous books?

    Reply
    • Barb of New England - March 27, 2019 10:25 am

      Sandi in FL, if you click “Books” on Sean’s web page, it links to Amazon. All of his books are listed, including the newest (hardcover, kindle, audio, etc). July 9th is given as the availability date. Best wishes, hugs and love to our favorite man of the south for continued success.

      Reply
  2. Elizabeth - March 27, 2019 10:27 am

    I’m so thrilled you’ve figured out there are a 1000 ways to “make it” and to touch people! A hand, a song, a book, a kind word, a meal, a hug, …the list goes on. Can’t wait to hear your book.

    Reply
  3. Naomi - March 27, 2019 11:28 am

    My son-in-law truly had the talent to become a country music star. He opened for Gene Watson twice. He sort of thought that Gene would help him but he didn’t. It broke my heart that a young man, who is now a middle-aged man, couldn’t get a foot in the door.

    Reply
  4. Jeffrey Pylant - March 27, 2019 11:50 am

    Do I see a MISSING word here? It was a genuine pleasure to shake the hand of a man like who has already “made it.”

    Reply
  5. Carol Heidbreder - March 27, 2019 11:56 am

    Sean, you have absolutely made it! You are a national treasure! You touch countless souls! Carry on sir!

    Reply
  6. Connie Havard Ryland - March 27, 2019 12:43 pm

    Hope springs eternal. That’s what keep us going. Faith and hope. I’m glad you found your calling. You have a way with words. For somebody who averages reading two books a week (I know that’s not much, but I work full time, so I don’t have much time), that’s “making it”. Love and hugs.

    Reply
  7. Cathy Mosses - March 27, 2019 12:46 pm

    Sean, you have surpassed your goal. You make music with the written word. You reach out and comfort people with the written word. I just don’t think you realize how many of us wake up and while waiting on the coffee, think to themselves, wonder what Sean has for me today. God had a plan for you and you are doing exactly what he planned for you. You have the wife that was a part of God’s plan and the mother who raised you so well and did it by herself. The great thing is that both of them are here to watch you and enjoy your success with you. Gosh, I have never even met you but I am so proud of you, I could pop. I am a music person. It’s in my genes. I can’t remember my password for my phone but I have a gift with music trivia. Everyone in my family when I was growin up, loved music. I also love to read. It is my hobby now that I am a senior citizen. I can actually lose myself in a book. Your messages move me and make me want to be a better. Stand up Sean, and take a bow. You are one of those people who “made it” . Nashville is a beautiful city but you love small towns. You are right where you need to be in life. Don’t stop .?❤️👍🙏🏻

    Reply
  8. Karen - March 27, 2019 12:48 pm

    You and I share the same goals. Life is good. ❤️

    Reply
  9. Edna B. - March 27, 2019 12:58 pm

    I’ve been to Nashville twice, and I loved it. And I love music. And in my own way, I’ve “made it.” I agree with Karen, life is good. You have a wonderful day Sean, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  10. Melanie - March 27, 2019 1:23 pm

    Here’s my money. 💵💸💰 Books please. 📚📕📖 And music please.🎧🎼🎶🎵Thank you kindly. Enjoy and savor every minute of this wonderful experience Sean. You deserve this and more. ❤️

    Reply
  11. Ala Red Clay Girl - March 27, 2019 1:56 pm

    Many think of “making it” in life as being well-known or having lots of money and stuff. But that’s not it. It’s doing something you love, having people around that support and love you, and loving and believing in yourself.

    Reply
  12. Afi Scruggs - March 27, 2019 2:58 pm

    I’m going to share this with my musician friends on Facebook. Especially the parts about making it. Thanks Sean. I really needed this one today. #WorriedAboutMakingIt

    Reply
  13. Linda Moon - March 27, 2019 3:49 pm

    Growing old with a beloved husband or wife is fabulous. Together, you can “make it” there and anywhere. PINCHES and congratulations on the book!!

    Reply
  14. Jack Darnell - March 27, 2019 10:46 pm

    WHAT? you wus there to read? I have heard you wus a sanger!
    Nah, I hope it went well. I talked to to a man a few weeks ago who had played Sax and piano for some of the big guys. I am at a loss for names now, but he said the guy was his friend forever and asked him to play. Then he was recommended to others. Son (he is older than me) it is a lot in who you know, like in other professions. He did show me his Mercedes motor home so I figger he knew what he was talking about. I think it was Odis Redding that started him.
    Anyway, read or sing, you are the man!
    Sherry & jack

    Reply
  15. Charaleen Wright - March 28, 2019 3:51 am

    Reply
  16. Ann Marie Bouchet - March 29, 2019 4:32 am

    You have “made it”….with Jamie right beside you……and we love you

    Reply

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