Monday, March 2, 2015

Choose To Chance the Rapids and Dare to Dance the Tide...

You guys...


Last weekend I finally got to see, Garth Brooks, play a live show in Detroit, MI.


Garth Brooks is my hero and the artist who inspired me to start writing songs and performing when I was barely 7-years-old. I've been a fan, watched his career and have been singing his songs my whole life. So this was SO HUGE. I honestly did not think that I was going to get to see him play a live show during my lifetime.



I can't remember a time when I wasn't in love with music and the idea of creating and performing it. My family will tell you that I started singing and had a thirst for performing and entertaining as soon as I could talk. They have very vivid memories. This is probably because I made them sit through countless (seriously there were so many) shows that I produced performed. Bless their hearts.

These "shows" included different acts. There was always a singing portion which took up most of the show time, but shows also included opening segments of poetry readings, comedy acts, dance routines, monologue scenes...yeah, I was deep kid, ok (A.K.A a weird kid). While I remember starting to do these things around the age of 4-5, it wasn't until I was 6-years-old that it all seemed to start serving a purpose.

My grandparents have taught me so much about life and about living by example. They have absolutely helped shaped who I am today and I'm eternally grateful for the lessons I've learned and the moments in life I've been blessed to share with them. My grandma Lilly used to take me to the Big Boy restaurant in town every year for my birthday. I always ordered spaghetti and we always had the best talks. I remember being totally fascinated by my her stories. I would hang on every word when she talked about what life was like for her as a kid and I felt a deep connection to her and this part of her life the more she shared. I still love hearing all of my grandparents tell their stories. Sitting and listening to them speak is sincerely one of my favorite things on the planet.

After a delightful spaghetti dinner and too much ice cream we headed home. On the way back I remember my grandma asking me to get a cassette out of her glovebox. To this day I can hear her voice exactly when she said, "I know you love to sing, Kari, and I think you ought to hear this." I put the cassette in and, Pasty Cline started singing, "Crazy." Good gracious, lord almighty, it completely stopped me in my tracks. In all of my 6 years on the earth, I'd never heard anything like her voice. An ambition I hadn't felt before filled me up. I wanted to sing like that. I'll never forget that ride home and listening to my grandma sing along to those songs.

That's when the sparks started.

I received a little white, pink and blue tape player for my birthday that year (Yeeeah, the 90's!). Since I didn't have any cassettes of my own yet, I listened to my mom's which included, Aerosmith, Elvis Presley, Brooks and Dunn, The Doors, Charlie Daniels Band, Fleetwood Mac, and my newly borrowed Patsy Cline cassette of course. Thank God for parents and grandparents who listened to cool music and passed it on to me, by the way. Forever thankful for that.

Collecting and listening to cassettes quickly became my obsession. It was all I talked about. Listening to music and learning to sing the songs was the only thing I wanted to do.

One evening, shortly after my introduction to Patsy, I was sitting in my dad's living room listening to my tape player and my dad did something that changed me forever. I remember him walking over holding a grey cassette case. He sat down next to me and said, "Wanna hear something cool?" It was Garth Brook's album, No Fences.

"Three thirty in the morning / Not a soul in sight / The city's lookin' like a ghost town on a moonless summer night." 

"Raindrops on the windshield / There's a storm moving in / He's headin' back from somewhere that he never should've been." 

"And the thunder rolls / And the thunder rolls."

It was like something went off inside me. 

We sat there and listened to the entire album. Front to back. I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad singing along. I remember feeling something in me change. It was the first time in my life I thought, "I can do this. I can be a singer and I can write songs like this." It was that moment in particular that I realized I could do it for a living, that I had to be a singer and a songwriter, there was no other choice and no question about it. I knew I needed to write songs, sing them and have them on a record someday and it had everything to do with, Garth Brooks and that album which has been a musical standard in my life. I will never, never forget anything about that moment.

That's when the fire started.

Garth is a living legend. Everything about the way he has handled and continues to handle his career inspires me and has inspired me since the first time I heard his music. His humbleness and gratitude is a beautiful thing. The way he treats his fans is exceptional. I think any artists, no matter the genre, can learn from Garth. His stage presence is something I have watched, admired, and learned from since the first time I saw one of his televised performances as a kid. He gives it absolutely everything he has and leaves it all out on that stage. I've never seen anyone captivate and connect with an audience the way he does. He has mastered the art of making every person at a stadium show feel like they are sitting in the front row. You've seriously just never seen someone perform as passionately and with so much appreciation.

Oh yeah guys, TRISHA YEARWOOD was also there. She came out and did a set in the middle of the show and she and Garth killed everyone in the room with a beautiful duet of, "In Another's Eyes." Absolutely love her. What an honor to get to see her sing as well. 

I've never heard a stadium that loud. It seemed like, Garth was feeling the same way. :)

So many awesome moments, but one of my favorites was when he sang my favorite song, "The River." This beautiful song is one for the dreamers and believers and has been my 'theme song for life' since I first heard it years ago as a single off his record, Ropin' in the Wind. It is also the song I sang at my Senior Baccalaureate when I graduated from high school. It was pretty awesome to hear the entire stadium singing along with him and hear the passion in his voice when he belted those lyrics. I've had this crazy dream my whole life of getting to go on tour with, Garth and getting to sing, "The River" with him live. Still working on that one. ;)

Seeing his live show was a blessing. I've wanted to see him play live since I was 6-years-old and it was an unbelievable feeling getting to witness it finally. His show, lasting over 3 hours, with 3 encores and more energy than I thought was possible from one human (especially considering the fact that he had JUST finished playing a show only an hour prior) was unbelievable. One moment you are rocking out and singing along and the next you're moved to tears (ok, maybe that was just me...I only cried like 8 times though, you guys). I have to also mention the stellar players in the band. Everyone's energy was incredible. You can tell these people absolutely love what they get to do on that stage. If you get a chance to see him live, even if he's not your hero, do it. It is one of the most spirited and unparalleled live performances you'll ever witness.

Thank you, Garth Brooks, not just for a phenomenal show, but for being the reason I continue believing in and chasing this dream and for inspiring so many to,

"Choose to chance the rapids and Dare to dance the tide." 

Thanks for reading, friends.


Nothin' but love.

xo - Kari