Fall, almost my favorite time of the year

The leaves here in Nashville are turning to bright yellows and vibrant reds as the temperature drops, signaling a season so many people love, fall.


I love this part of year for the cool nights, the leaves changing, and knowing that Christmas is right around the corner.

What do I not love? The cold days, September allergies, and knowing that as far as temperature goes it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

I already can’t wait for summer 🙂


-Out of the Wilderness


Kid Rock’s new video, and other puppets in country music

Kid Rock’s new video for “Tennessee Mountain Top” features a raccoon named Jackson. This is one of the better country music videos I’ve seen that feature puppets. Take a look:

But Kid Rock is not the first to join up with puppets. Take a look at the following collaborations with puppets and/or music videos that feature puppets. First up is one that was considered a swing and a miss, from Trace Adkins.

More recently you have Brad Paisley portrayed as a mascot among quite a few mascots from college sports.

Kacey Musgraves is accompanied by a puppet playing the violin in “Biscuits.”

Elvis Presley acted in many movies, one which included a song called “Wooden Heart,” in which he appears alongside a puppet.

This next one isn’t exactly country music, but in the Miley Cyrus video for “Younger Now,” she has a scene a lot like the Elvis clip above.

The Cadillac Three used puppets to announce their new album. Click here for the video.

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The Cadillac Three use puppets for announcement.

And you can’t have a list like this without including the Muppets. So here are a few notable performances featuring country stars along with the cast of the Muppets.

Loretta Lynn…

Willie Nelson…

Kenny Rogers…

Johnny Cash…

-Out of the Wilderness

The Fiesta test drive, and advice on car searching

Hello and thanks for reading about this journey to find my next car! My Nissan Versa is swiftly nearing 200,000 miles so (I haven’t told her this yet) there will come a time when she’ll need to be retired, sent off to the Nissan nursing home where she can play shuffle board and eat supper at 5.

A few weeks ago I test drove a newer Versa at a local Nissan dealership, where I learned some pro tactics of a car salesman. I left without succumbing to the pressure to buy, and then a few days ago I did a test drive with a Ford Fiesta.


image via Edmonds.com

Am I the only one that thinks of this 80s game show when I hear the word Fiesta?

If only I could win a Fiesta, my car search would be over! Where are you when I need you most, Alex Trebek? But back in real life, I met the car salesman and told him what I was looking for. He was a nice guy with a style that went heavy on “be your friend” plus a dose of “I’m new here but…” We took a 2017 hatchback off the lot and I liked this car much more than the Versa from the last test drive. Part of the reason is that it was a manual transmission (which is also available in the Versa). I forgot how much fun those are to drive. Very responsive, great interior style and accessories, and I was sitting higher up than I would guess for a compact car.

So the hatchback stick-shift Fiesta is currently sitting at #1 on my list but I’d also still like to test drive a few other cars, including a Fiat, and maybe a Mini.

I’ll wrap this up with a piece of advice I’ve learned the hard way. If you’re out there car shopping like I am, do NOT give out your phone number unless you’re ready for 10 calls a day. I made the mistake of submitting my info to a few dealerships online and now my phone lights up throughout the day. I guess I could answer but now I’m just annoyed when I get a call from a number I don’t recognize.

Most of all, though, have fun looking! For the majority of us, it’s not often we’ll be in the market for a car, so let’s make the most of it this time around.

Having a fiesta in Nashville,
-Out of the Wilderness


Feels like rain

It was one of those unexpected moments that turned out to be the highlight of my day. I was skipping rocks at Percy Priest Lake here in Nashville, waiting for my GoPro to record enough pictures to make a time-lapse of the sunset. Across the lake the marina slips were full of houseboats docked for the night.


I could hear distant voices of boat owners chatting back and forth. Music played as the soundtrack of their late afternoon. I assume they were cleaning their boats, as many boat owners like to do. Maybe they were scrubbing and washing the week away, or prepping for an upcoming voyage.

The lake was quiet enough that the sound from a boat stereo carried over the calm water to where I was sitting on lake pebbles, admiring the clouds and the active ducks. Another song began to play, one I’d never heard before. Somehow it captured, and represented, summer. I sat back and just let myself enjoy it, as I knew the moment wouldn’t last forever.

-Out of the Wilderness

Behind the video: Brett Eldredge “The Long Way” music video

Brett Eldredge doesn’t seem to be taking the long way around to please his fans. He’s had 2 music videos released just in the last 8 months, and his newest has over 1.6 million views in just 3 days. The video for “The Long Way Around” was shot on September 20 and, as you might already know, features Sadie Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame. She plays the “love interest,” although car enthusiasts might be drooling more over the ’63 Chevy Impala the couple rides around in.

It’s a beaut, Clark. It’s a beaut!

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Trivia Time – Impala
The lyrics of the song refer to a ’99 Impala, which is fake news because, dun dunnn dunnnnnn, there is no ’99 Impala! Chevrolet stopped making the car in 1996 but production ramped up again in 2000, so we’ll assume he got a 2000 model a year early for that “hand-me-down ’99 Impala.” 🙂

Trivia Time – summer camp
Another line from the song: “I’d like to see where your daddy met your mama.” Given that Sadie Robertson is the one he’s singing to, even if they’re just acting, I researched her parents, Willie and Korie Robertson. According to the Duck Dynasty show website, the couple met in 3rd grade at a summer camp. I understand you wanted to “see” where they met, Mr. Eldredge, but remember– knowing is half the battle.

Location, location, location. 

So far my research is pointing to a little town east of Nashville called Gordonsville, Tennessee for the location of the music video shoot. Possibly near Highway 53. I will confirm this when I have more information.

The itty-bitsy spider. 

Have you ever seen beautiful spider webs? No joke, I have a little bit of arachnophobia, but I love a good spider web when I can see one.
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Who are you wearing? 

I noticed Sadie’s necklace in this video and tried to find more about it but came up almost empty. I now know Sadie has a line of jewelry you can find here. I don’t think the necklace in the video is from her collection, though.

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The director

This video was directed by Jay Martin. He has quite a few music videos under his belt, as well as lots of experience as a crew member on blockbuster hit movies. Check out his IMDB page here. I didn’t know this till I started researching this video, but Mr. Martin directed one of my favorite music videos. Here’s the beautiful song and video from singer Christina Perri, “Jar of Hearts.”

That’s all I have for now!

-Out of the Wilderness

The closer I get to death, the more I come alive

I’ll start this off by saying I’ve been very lucky in that it was late in my teens, I may have even been 20 years old, before I truly felt the affect of someone close to me passing away. There are plenty of folks out there who have had the unfortunately experience of learning about death when they are very young. I definitely count it as a blessing from above, and to those of you had to learn about death as a youngster, it could be that God knew you were strong enough to handle it. I don’t think I was, so I applaud you in whatever effort you’ve made to cope, to overcome, and to live on with their memory.

One of my first experiences was when my mom’s aunt passed away. We called her Sister. Sometime around then Belle, our family dog went. As time marched on, both sides of my grandparents passed away and I still think about all of them pretty much every day, especially today on Me-Mom’s birthday. So proud to have her last name as my middle name, an easy way to be reminded of her and the great memories I have of one of my favorite four grandparents 🙂

Then there were the unexpected ones, right? Friends from high school. Friends from college. Folks that weren’t supposed to go so soon. For me, it was a guy I knew from FSU. My brother mentioned to me one day that this guy had died. I wasn’t close to him or anything, but he was part of the outer circle of friends for my brother and I. In fact, he’s in this video of us all biking in Tallahassee.

Friends are diagnosed with cancer. One was almost in an airplane crash. It was so much of a sure thing, the airline pilot came on the intercom and said to prepare for a crash. Crazy, right? Thankfully, they didn’t crash. Another college friend, who was younger than me, died of cancer. Then a few years ago someone I knew from church died tragically.

Then there are all the celebrities. I was visiting family in Tallahassee when I got a text from a friend: “Steve McNair found dead.” He was an NFL quarterback for the Tennessee Titans. Of course, there’s Michael Jackson, Prince, and so many more.

Now, as I’m getting older, and still growing up 🙂 it seems that with every story I hear of a loved one passing, or just someone in the news, I think to myself, “Gosh, life is short! I thought we were all gonna live forever. What am I doing today? What is important? What am I waiting for?”

I ask those rhetorically for the most part, but often find myself reflecting on the years I’ve spent on this earth, and becoming more and more aware that time is ticking away. For me. For you. For everyone. We only have 100 years or less, so make the most of it, is what I say! Save money but don’t sacrifice relationships to build a bank account. Spend more. Have fun. Go dancing. Take that overseas trip if you want to. Ask the girl out. Ask the guy out. Cuddle with your dogs. Laugh. Get a tattoo. Do encourage people around you, but don’t buy that motorcycle. 😉

A few years ago there was a guy who was walking across the country, a young guy, maybe in his 20s. He was asked on the news why and I don’t remember his exact answer, but he said something like, “Why do we waste so many years preparing for the last few?” Hello!!!! He was referring to saving for retirement, waiting till you retire to travel, all that stuff. He’s a smart guy. I thought that was fantastic.

So as I hear stories about people I know and/or loved that have passed away, I know it’s OK to be sad about it. When beloved celebrities succumb to that final curtain call, we should celebrate their lives and how they positively changed the world. Do all of that for the ones you love, too.

Then let’s go live.

Finally, a happy birthday to Me-Mom

-Out of the Wilderness

Ranked top 10 DC Talk songs of all time: 5 – 1

Coming up with a top 10 list for DC Talk is like deciding which holiday I love the second most (first is obviously Christmas). Or which niece I love more. It’s an impossible task! But just like my nieces, each one of these songs is amazing and fantastic, and while I can’t rank the nieces, I can rank the songs. Check out numbers 10 through 6 by clicking here. And now, along with the album in parentheses, here are my top 5…


5. The Hardway (Free At Last)
I’m as stubborn as they come, so when this song came out I was relieved to know I wasn’t the only one. It was also very encouraging to hear about God’s forgiveness and patience!

Favorite lyric: “It took so long for me to see, that I’m a victim of nature and me, Left to myself I realize, I am the maker of my own demise.”

4. The King (Allelujah) (DCTalk)

This song just makes me feel good. It’s off their self-titled debut album. I’ve always loved the rap from Toby, the smooth gospel voices of Kevin of Michael, and, of course, the truth in the lyrics. I also love the heavy guitar presence in this one! Makes me want to dance I my PJs!

Favorite lyric: “As she fell to the ground, she began to weep. Heard a voice and turned to hear the Savior speak. Christ the Messiah, risen up from the dead. He’s alive, she cried, like the prophesy read. It’s a story of my Savior, a reason to sing. Allelujah, come on, Christ is King!”

3. Heavenbound (DCTalk)

I was in middle school in Stafford, VA when DC Talk’s first album came out and this was my favorite song from that album. I think it was the trumpets that got me, as I was a trumpet player from 4th to 7th grades 🙂

Favorite lyric: “Opportunity knocks through a different love. Not love like we know it, like ya love your girl. It’s a love from above not of this world.”


2. Jesus Freak (Jesus Freak)
This could easily be their best song ever as it relates to mainstream acceptance and declaring what some would use as an insult. Me, a Jesus Freak? Why yes, I am! The song itself is a great example of mosh pit worthy rock music, with unashamed lyrics that speak to your soul.

Favorite lyric: “With skins on his back and hair on his face, they thought he was strange by the locusts he ate. The Pharisees tripped when they heard him speak, until the king took the head of this Jesus freak.”

1. I Wish We’d All Been Ready (Jesus Freak CD single)

I first heard this one night at a Bible study as a high schooler in Miami, Florida. It was part of a video we were watching and instantly, I was captivated by the harmonies and the message. It was different than the DC Talk I knew, and it made me love the band even more. Plus, Kevin’s voice is incredible.

Favorite lyric: “A man and wife asleep in bed, she hears a noise and turns her head he’s gone. I wish we’d all been ready.”


So there you have it! If you were to make your own list, there could be 10 different songs on it, and the list would be just as valid. Just about every song can relate to someone in one way or another, which is why they were such an influential band in the 90s. Since then, Toby, Michael, and Kevin have had success as solo artists, so for fun, here’s my list of a few favorites from their individual efforts…

Lights Shine Bright / Let’s Get This Party Started / Gone

Kevin Max:
The Cross / When He Returns / Seek

Michael Tait:
Unglued / All You Got / His Cheeseburger

-Out of the Wilderness