It was the first Saturday in May and my family was returning from our annual beach trip to Hilton Head. We have a number of traditions that always accompany this vacation: we always eat at Kenny B’s, always have a daiquiri from The Frosty Frog, an ice cream from The Frozen Moo, we wear out the game Things … Perhaps one of the sillier traditions, we always stop half way home, at the Georgia Welcome center between Wade Plantation Rd and Allendale, SC to let all of the kids get out of the car for a few moments, switch drivers if need be, and enjoy a complimentary drink while the attendants pretend to enjoy hearing my mother share all of the details of what our family has been up to during the previous year, since they “last saw us”.
Upon walking in the door, immediately to my left I notice a Gretsch parlor acoustic guitar on display in the corner. The attendant notices my lingering gaze and asks “Do you play? And are you familiar with the Gretsch brand that originated here in Georgia?”. I replied “yes” and gesturing toward the guitar asked “do you mind?”. “Absolutely! That’s what it’s there for.”, he replied. So I took a moment to tune it, then proceeded to play an original tune. A few of my family and other travelers gathered around to listen as I began to sing. It was a very unique opportunity to share a song that I wrote with a captive audience, something many of us in this business to make a living struggle to find on a regular basis at the venues we perform.
Fast forward two months, it’s funny how things circle back to you sometimes … My friend and a local venue owner, Coco, messages me “hey, I’ve got a unique opportunity for you!”. After garnering some details, I find myself chatting on the phone with a representative from Georgia Music magazine, as she explains to me that they are looking to do a live photo/film shoot of some local musicians playing original music at the Georgia Welcome center off of I-20 coming into Augusta, because they had partnered with Gretsch guitars (a Georgia company) to put guitars in all the GA welcome centers, in hopes that some musicians would take advantage of the opportunity to play some impromptu mini concerts.
So, after telling her my story from May, we both agreed I should take part, and I went and performed the same song I had performed in May. And, as an added bonus, I got to spend a few minutes catching up with my good friend and fellow talented songwriter, Carey Murdock, who’d also been asked to come play a tune.
Now that you know, perhaps next time you’re passing through a Georgia border, you’ll consider stopping in, and taking one of the guitars for a spin 🙂