On Tuesday night, my friend, Buddy, and I headed out to hear Tin Pan South round. If you don’t know what Tin Pan South is, it’s basically a celebration of songwriters that happens at various venues all over Nashville. If you’ve ever been or are familiar with the Bluebird Cafe concept, it’s just like that. Writers are grouped into rounds and present original songs.
Whereas I might have once gravitated more toward concerts, writers rounds are what draw me in now. They’re somehow just more honest and true. On Tuesday night, we had gone to see one of Buddy’s friends perform, but I came away with a new respect for all of the writers in the round. One of them had performed a song recently cut by Eric Church (“Springsteen”) and days later I’m still mulling over a lyric from that song that just won’t go away.
Funny how a melody sounds just like a memory.
Isn’t that true? It is for me.
My memories are the melodies of my parents singing gospel songs at the piano as I fell asleep on Saturday nights as a little girl.
There’s a memory of my dad, singing with his eyes closed, and my mom at the piano in the church I grew up in that comes to mind every time I hear the old, old song “Beaulah Land.”
I remember the little girl standing in the bleachers in a hot gym at a country church camp thinking “El Shaddai” was the most beautiful song she’d ever heard. A little girl who said yes to Jesus a few days later.
Any mention of “I Think We’re Alone Now” reminds me of third grade, and a bunch of little girls who thought they were so grown up and knew what love really was gathered around the cassette player on rainy recesses singing along with all our hearts.
Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You)” reminds me of me and my best friend Dawn sitting in the backseat of my mom’s GMC Jimmy singing along at the top of our lungs, even if we didn’t understand completely what the song was about.
“Follow Me” by John Denver makes me think of my mom and our conversations about when she and my dad were dating.
“Blessed Be Your Name” reminds me of the hot summer days when we knew my grandma’s stroke would be her last.
“It Is Well with My Soul” makes me think of a beloved saintly woman named Helen Cox who taught me by example what it meant to walk by faith, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
Listening to Rich Mullins’ “Calling Out Your Name” brings to mind open windows and the wind in my hair as I sailed down the roads between the cotton fields on my way to my parents’ house, intent on beating the setting sun and the rain front.
Indeed, a melody sounds like a memory. May the music continue!