Music that lasts forever and ever, amen

Quick note: All the links in this post are to other posts I’ve written, take a look!

This past weekend I went to an Elvis festival in Nashville. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved his music. Being among all those Elvis fans reminded me of my nieces. The oldest is 16 and the youngest is 5 or 6. But when they were younger and Elvis came on the radio, most of them wanted us to change the station fast! For whatever reason they didn’t like Elvis music. Well, come to find out they didn’t like any music that wasn’t Justin Bieber or whatever played on Radio Disney.

I never really thought about it much but their constant disdain for what is widely considered good music (Elvis is just one example), I began to appreciate the music I was “forced” to listen to when I was growing up. This isn’t a condemnation of how my nieces and nephew are being raised at all (I would never tell someone how to parent! Actually, I take that back, I wouldn’t tell my siblings how to parent!), but while my parents were kind and would leave the radio on a certain song we liked only sometimes, most of the time we listened to music they liked.

As I grew into an adult, I became more and more thankful for the music I had already heard before. Because of this, I really, really want the kids in our family to be exposed to that kind of music. Elvis, the Beach Boys, U2, Led Zepelin, Billy Joel, this singer (who was my first crush), Bob Marley, Alan Jackson, wait wait… I can’t do this. The post would be 5 days long. To be fair, there are a lot of current bands that are making good music, too… that list would also be 5 days long but bands like The Head and The Heart (I wrote about their show in Nashville here), OneRepublic, Zac Brown Band, Josh Ritter, Jack White, Lumineers, and again, I won’t keep going.

I keep thinking about the youngsters my family, “They have no idea what they’re missing. There is SO. MUCH. MORE.”

Well, last week something huge happened. Something monumental. I was hanging out with a few of the kids and I’d almost successfully drowned out the music that was playing when a Randy Travis song came on. My ears perked up and I asked, “Who picked this song?” My oldest niece (the 16 yr old) said she did because she likes it.

There is a God in Heaven.

-Out of the Wilderness


The dancers in Keith Urban’s “The Fighter” music video

Keith Urban has two music videos for his latest song “The Fighter.” The song is a duet with Carrie Underwood. The first video features Keith and Carrie with clips of a lone female dancer. The second video, dubbed the Dancers Version, leaves Keith and Carrie out visually but adds in a male dancer along with the female from the first video. You’ve probably already seen it, that’s why you’re here but click here for the video on YouTube. The pair was most recently seen on stage at the ACM Awards in Las Vegas as part of Keith and Carrie’s performance, but who are these dancers, anyway?
Lindsay and LyleTheir names are Lindsay Richardson (left) and Lyle Beniga (right). The pair are an item, as my parents would say. And they were also part of the Tennessee Kids (Justin Timberlake’s band and dancers for the 20/20 Experience tour).

[click here for more about Keith Urban’s new video “We Were”, the post will open in a new window]

Lyle Beniga
Starting with Lyle, he’s got quite the dance resume. He’s danced with A-list artists who are known for their own dance skills: Justin Timberlake, Usher, Jennifer Lopez. Adding to that list, he was part of a Michael Jackson tribute that aired on MTV. So yeah, dancing in any professional capacity as it relates to Michael Jackson is definitely saying something! A few more fun facts:

  • His hometown is Waldorf, MD.
  • College major was engineering.
  • He has his own clothing line.
  • You can follow him on Instagram here, and Twitter here.

Here’s the Michael Jackson tribute performance, although I can’t tell which one is Lyle.

Lindsay Richardson
Moving on to Miss Lindsay Richardson now:

  • She’s a dancer, a yoga instructor, and an actor. Her dance resume includes Justin Timberlake, Tinashe, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears, just to name a few.
  • Her hometown is Berlin, Vermont.
  • Her first concert was Hanson. In an mmm bop they’re gone.
  • She has two dogs named Bruce and Charlie.

You can follow her on Instagram here, and Twitter here
Lindsay posted a couple of videos of Keith’s take on using her and Lyle for this video. Take a look by clicking these links.
Part 1 and Part 2

These two dancers are amazing! Keep an eye out for them in all types of forms: live, music videos, and who knows where else! And since you made it down this far, you might as well check out my children’s book and pick up a copy! 🙂

-Out of the Wilderness

What’s your favorite song right now?

jbIt’s a question I often ask myself and to be honest, I don’t know if I currently have a favorite. Let’s take a look at the Billboard Hot 100. The chart lists these as the top 5…

1. Hello Adele
2. Sorry Justin Bieber
3. Hotline Bling Drake
4. The Hills The Weeknd
5. What Do You Mean? Justin Bieber

I guess if I had to pick a song or be tickled for 30 seconds, I’d pick a song. And it would be this one.

Now it’s your turn! Is your favorite song in this poll? If so, vote for it. You can also leave me a comment below. Happy listening! 

-Out of the Wilderness

Sniffer’s gonna sniff: a story about my amazing dogs and something important I lost

It’s a beautiful day.

Nashvillians are entering into the time of year that makes cold winters bearable. Days where the sun is bright and warm, and winter ice is a thing of the past. One day not too long ago was one of these days, so I went for a hike at Percy Warner Park in west Nashville, dogs in tow. It was beautiful. The way the sun cut through the towering trees. The sounds of animals foraging through the woods. Small flowers blooming. Runners running. Sniffy dogs sniffing. Our 5-mile walk concluded a few hours later and as I reached into my pocket for the car keys, slight concern. I don’t feel them. Panic. I check other pockets. I check all the pockets. Reality washing over me like any adult man at a Justin Bieber concert. How did it end up like this? What do I do now? Lucky for those adult men, they can just go home. Me? Nope. I might as well not have even had a car there, because without that little piece of carved metal, I wasn’t getting in. I wasn’t going home. Plus, who’s the dummy who’s got two fingers and left his phone in the car? This guy.

And I was like baby, baby, baby.

I said to my babies, we need to walk the trail again. And please keep in mind the farthest either of my dogs have ever gone is 6 miles. We already walked 5 miles, and now I’m taking them for 5 more. I felt terrible, like I was asking too much of them. If you do the math, it was not too far south of a half marathon.

Hello darkness my old friend.

It was completely dark when we completed the trail for the second time and I couldn’t have been more proud of my pups. They seemed to end stronger than they began, pulling towards squirrels, barking at deer, walking with perked ears as we rounded the final curve. We saw lots of wildlife, lots of things that weren’t keys. And now my car is one of the last 2 or 3, and the others are firing up to take their drivers home. I didn’t feel compelled to ask for assistance from the other park patrons, in fact, I felt compelled not to. So there I was sitting by a car I can’t get in, much less drive!

Islands in the stream, that is what we are.

The plan at this point was to befriend a volleyball and hope for a ship to pass by. Wait no, we weren’t that hopeless yet! I approached a house close to the park entrance and the nicest of ladies, Susan, offered so much help. She even brought out a laptop so I could email my friend “Bill.” Yeah, remember how I didn’t have my phone? I also don’t know anyone’s phone number! So email was the next best thing.

Police on the scene, you know what I mean?

After firing off an email, I returned to my car. It was weird sitting there not even knowing if the email was received, and yet, believing that the electronic flare would be seen and rescue was on the way. And it was, in more ways than one. The local police came by to lock up the parking lot, as they do every night, I’m sure, and the officer gave me a ride to police headquarters. My first time in the back of a cop car. It was nice. Very comfortable. I asked about the car and the lady officer informed me it was a Volkswagon Passat. Very cool. Arriving at the station, they were kind, helpful, and were over-the-top with Piper and Asia. They had treats, food, water, and plenty of back scratches that I know Piper and Asia appreciated. They brought me to a computer so I could check my email (to see if “Bill” had responded or anything). That’s when another officer stopped by and handed me a slip of paper. On it was “Bill”‘s phone number! Apppparrrrrentllyyy, nice lady Susan called up the police with this bit of information that was anything but itty bitty! Susan was a life saver! It was a pretty amazing moment. “Bill” arrived about 10 minutes later and took me home.

You live, you learn. You laugh, you learn.

The next day “Bill” and I did one more search without success and then I called to have a key made. From this experience, I learned a few things. Always have a spare key. Having friends is good, having good friends is better. Wear pants with bigger pockets. Sometimes dogs will surprise you. There are a lot of squirrels. As bad as it seems, it could be worse. This will be a landmark time in my life because of the amount of loss that came in a short span. I lost this set of keys on  a Saturday. The following Tuesday, I lost my job. Crazy right?

-Out of the Wilderness

The Kindness of Strangers

I recently read made up a statistic that for every ten Justin Biebers there’s one Ginny Mayes. Don’t know who Ginny Mayes is? I’ll explain. While Justin Bieber is a good example of poor choices and selfish ambition, Ginny Mayes is the perfect example that there are still good people in the world. And while saying “the world” sounds good, it should be noted there are still good people in the U.S., too, no matter what we hear from our friends on Facebook the news.

It was a normal weekday when I left the house. It was a normal weekday when I took the interstate to downtown Nashville. But then it became anything but normal. I pulled into the parking garage at work and buh bam! I didn’t turn sharp enough into the parking spot and this happened to the car next to me:

This car was spotless. No scratches, no dings or dents. Sharp. So I left a note then called the bank to set me up with a loan! As I waited for a call from the owner, I decided I wouldn’t pray for God to magically get me out of the situation, because it was my fault, my responsibility. I don’t think that’s fair to ask God that. It’s sorta like eating fried chicken and drinking a milkshake, then praying for God to bless my health. Well, uh, you just ate horrible food so no, no that’s not going to be good for you. What I really wanted from this is a reason to believe people still have good in them.

All afternoon felt like a cliffhanger waiting for the rest of the story. So a few hours went by and then Ginny Mayes called. Would she set it up through insurance? Would she inflate the real cost of the fix? Well, it turns out… neither. She was confident the marks left on her car could be washed and buffed out. What? You’re not trying to milk this? Hallelujah! There are still good strangers around. She’ll never make the news with her act of kindness, but when she could’ve taken advantage and didn’t, she made an impression on me that will last longer than the 30 minute evening news. Even weeks later she texted me to say everything was fine. I’m glad she didn’t go the way of the greedy drones we hear about too often. So the next time you have the chance to be like Ginny, do it! You might be doing a lot more than it seems.

-Out of the Wilderness

Baby, Baby, Baby

Remember that song from an innocent little teeny bopper named Justin Bieber? It wasn’t that long ago, but my, my, my how he’s gone off the deep end. I hope he can get his act together but for now, for me and my household, it’s time to metaphorically remove him from the hard drive. And actually by metaphorically, I mean literally. I figured Hanson would, but I never, ever expected Nsync’s “Giddy Up” would last longer on my iPod. Crazy world.

-Out of the Wilderness


Alligators, Bieber, and an Apple IIc

AlligatorWhen I was young, our family lived in a house that backed up to a lake. There were a few reasons to live in fear. The most popular among my siblings was because we lived in Florida. Which meant alligators in any body of freshwater bigger than a roadside puddle. Actually, in the last few years, we’ve seen them in the ocean, too, but that’s another story. Back then, I couldn’t think of anything more scary than alligators. Of course, that was way before Justin Dweeber, reality TV, and Obama which are all more bieberscary that alligators if you ask me! So the most immediate threat was not on the radio, TV, or in Washington, it was in our very own back yard. I remember at night there were 2 red lights that reflected off the sliding glass window. One was probably from the power button on the Apple IIc or something. But I always imagined they were the eyes of  an evil alligator waiting to bust through the door and bite us. Every day we played in the grass and swam in the lake and I wondered where the alligators were. My dad would even swim across the lake a few times per week.

I’ve lived in Tennessee for a few years now and one of my favorite things is there are no alligators! You can swim in the area lakes with total freedom from being dragged under by a prehistoric dinasour-looking death machine. If you’ve never grown up with a daily fear of being preyed upon, you can’t truly appreciate this feeling of freedom I feel every day. But night time is another story. Alligators show up in Tennessee when I close my eyes to go to sleep.

They’re the kind of dreams that make you very thankful when you wake up that it was not real. One recent dream took place at my family’s beach cottage in Florida. There was a small alligator (oddly, it was about the size of a snake) near the shore. I started running because it was chasing me! Before I could get away, it latched onto my hand. To remove it, I held my hand above a fire that was nearby (how convenient!) and it burned up so all I could see was the skeleton. When I returned outside to show my dad, the alligator somehow got to me again! You know things are not going your way when a dead alligator bites you. Not good. Then later when it wasn’t paying attention I smashed it’s head with a MagLite flashlight. That’s what I’m talking about! However, if it was real life, I would’ve ran away like a scaredy cat, zig-zagging of course.

Any interpreters out there?

-Out of the Wilderness