There’s something magical about Music City. And something epic about The Bluebird Cafe. For those not familiar with this iconic venue, I attended a songwriting workshop there and got to see a couple of shows with the kind of songwriters that spark the highest form of admiration and a healthy amount of envy. Take the guy on the right for example, Allen Shamblin co-writer of “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, made famous after Bonnie Raitt flooded the airwaves with it. It’s a song that oozes a sentiment that I doubt has never been heard before in a hit song. So much fresh inspiration for the craft of songwriting is food for my soul and I was very nourished last weekend.
The guy on the left, Steve Seskin I’ve known for decades and I’ve seen him bring several hundred fans to tears from his heart centric way with lyrics and melody. He co-writes with Shamblin, among many others, and he teaches and gives back in ways that speak to me and my love of healing through songs.
Wonderful story about Steve ~ in 2005 my Dad was in a hospital bed struggling to get to remission from leukemia. One lucid day he promised my Mom when he was out of there, he would take her anywhere in the world she wanted to go. Expecting her to choose an exotic location, to our surprise she said she wanted to go to Nashville Tennessee. Turns out she always loved country music and I told her how it’s so much more than the bluegrass and truckin’ kind of songs some associate the genre with. Then we decided to surprise my mom for her 70th birthday, so early in 2006 we coordinated with our temporarily recovered Dad to surprise her in Nashville. There were 14 of us, kids, spouses, and grandkids. My dad needed a place to take her while we secretly gathered in their hotel room, so I arranged for them to see Steve Seskin’s show at the Bluebird, confident they would love him. We agreed on a time that was approximately after Steve’s first set was expected to end.
As the hour grew later, bleary eyed from the exhaustion of traveling with kids, one by one we were dropping to the beds and couches in an interminable effort to stay awake. When they showed up the surprise quite nearly split my mother’s heart in two. After the excitement died down a bit, we asked what took them so long. My typically domineering father shrugged his shoulders and said, “there was nothing I could do to get your mother to leave that place knowing there was a whole other set to follow, she said there’s no way I’m missing the end of this show, I want every drop of it! What a testament to the extraordinary talent and heart centric reach of Steve Seskin’s music.
Steve gathered for his workshop a group of musicians that were equally incredible and I was reminded again how much I deeply love the art form and medium. Steve approaches songwriting with his full being and the results are usually breathtaking. We talked of form, co-writing with others who speak the same heart language, and I was particularly touched when Steve mentioned me in the context of writing songs as a conscious choice to point my pen toward a goal to help others, as one who has found great fulfillment in striving to make a difference in the various arenas that are served by songs to carry messages, encourage fundraising, raise consciousness and awareness. Regardless of the end result of where a song lands, a truly great song is a contribution to our collective humanity, in its ability to lift, inspire and change lives. I rediscovered how a great song’s ability to soften a moment and open a heart to new plateaus can be incredibly healing.