Thursday, July 29, 2010

Running from the Devil at Bedtime

Songs with names like "Runnin' From the Devil" and "Nobody Left in Nebraska" don't sound like lullabies, and they're not-never were meant to be. But there's nothing I'd rather be singing to my children as I lull them to sleep at night, and I've sung those songs to all of them. Why? Because my dad wrote them.

I used to hold my eldest son's hand through the crib while I sang him to sleep with Dad's songs. This time I'm singing them to the little boy who is named after the man who wrote them. They're part of Dad's legacy to his children and grandchildren.

When I was four and five, I was a "music brat" if you will. While my siblings were in school, I was riding in the back seat of the family car around Nashville. Dad was driving and Mom was dressed in her beautiful peach-colored suit and fancy heels (Dad had bought her these things when we were more affluent, and I still remember how Mom kept those heels with another elegant pair stashed in the closet throughout all those years in Tennessee.). She was ready to pitch his music to the music publisher's of that city.

One time, when they had bought me a cheap Barbie to keep me busy, I was fortunate to hear Dad perform in one of the clubs. Mom kept shushing me because I was asking when Dad was going to come on throughout some other guy's performance. On the way home Mom and Dad fought, and I cried "with intent", as children are able to do, just to get them stop. I doubt I understood what the fight was about, but I do know it was hard for them to be working parents with four children to support and still find time to pursue Dad's music.

Of course, I have often heard my dad play since. I heard him play with his band at parties and local music festivals throughout my years growing up. I heard him record his music in a small recording studio in Dickson and even heard his songs on an am dial country music station. In high school at my graduation party, my friends asked why he didn't try to get a record deal (HA! If they only knew!). He sang at my wedding and recently at my baby boy's christening. I already want to hear him perform again, and I badly wish I had just one of his old demo tapes to play whenever I feel like it-particularly when I'm missing him. Sadly, those demos are in storage somewhere. I hope they've survived.

If you can't tell, I'm his number 1 fan. Only someone who truly loved a song like "Runnin From the Devil" could turn it into a lullaby. And I have.

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