This Life I Live It Might Not Be For You But It’s For Me Though

Warning: this is long.

So last ya’ll heard, I just got off a cruise to Mexico with the boys of Florida Georgia Line and 2500 of my closest friends. But that was two years ago and we’ve made plenty of memories since then, including this past weekend. Ready?

The following year would prove to be just as full of FGL as previous ones, but in a much bigger way. I’ve talked about Florida Country Superfest that used to take place in Everbank Field in Jacksonville – which is really cool in itself, since I have a soft spot for sports, stadiums are pretty legit. For 2016, the concert changed its format and would now be held in Daytona – at the Daytona Speedway – over Memorial Day Weekend. The coolest part about this venue is that you literally have to walk across the track to get to where the stages are set up. Like what? I don’t even like NASCAR and I think that’s pretty legit. This is where I would see FGL next. It’s a 3 day festival that you can camp at, or stay at a hotel physically on the beach and make a whole trip out of it – which we do. It’s probably my favorite festival to go to because you only have to wait at most 20 minutes for a performance where at festivals like Tortuga they are an hour or more apart. I like my music on a continuous loop, thanks.

FGL headlined the 2nd night and they might be the only people I will sit through a performance of Kid Rock for. But hey – to love music is to like it all, right? BK, one half of FGL, is actually from Ormond Beach, or basically Daytona. He pointed out during the concert that he was actually born in the hospital that sits catty-corner to the speedway. It’s just as special for me to be a part of a show and an experience that is unique & special for the performer, you can actually feel a difference when it’s a night like that. They played their full tour show, including brand new songs from their yet-to-be-released 3rd album Dig Your Roots. Little did I know that I would actually get to see this exact show again 4 months later…

Because I am a crazy person, and FGL hadn’t announced any Florida dates beside the one above for their Dig Your Roots tour, I had to look into where else we might be able to see them. Atlanta isn’t so far – maybe that’s an idea. Then that’s when I saw it; October 14, 2016 they were playing in Nashville. Now you see, Nashville is a little further away than I originally planned – but flights couldn’t be that expensive, right? Wrong. Really expensive. But I love to drive – so it couldn’t take that long, right? Wrong. 14 hours one way to get there. In my head, it was worth asking my friends if they would do it, knowing they would say no.

Except they didn’t say no.

So here I was, presenting a pretty ridiculous idea to drive to Nashville on Thursday night, through the night, go to this concert on Friday, and drive back Saturday because I needed to be at a work conference on Sunday. 28 hours of driving for 30 hours in Nashville. And you know what? It was absolutely worth it. I used my birthday as an excuse because turning 25 in Nashville was like – a big deal to me.

We got pit tickets for this concert because I wasn’t going to Nashville and not being in the pit – plus I don’t think there was much of a difference in price so YOLO, right? We stood in line to be in the front, but you already knew I would do that. We ended up being right against the gate in the front, where we made friends with security. If I am to give you any advice about going to concerts, always, ALWAYS, make friends with security. They know things and have a little more power than you probably think they do. Because we made friends – we were able to know who the surprise guests would be that night; because we knew there would be surprises at a Nashville show. And we were right; the freaking Backstreet Boys were there. Let me just say this now as a disclaimer; I am an *NSYNC fan through and through and will never deny that – but come on, it’s the Backstreet Boys.

Kane Brown & Cole Swindell opened; both perfect and as I’ve said before Cole Swindell is just so good. Also Kane Brown is like 12 and has a voice of a grown man – also great. Remember the whole thing about making friends with security? Yeah, they grabbed me Cole’s  & FGL’s set list. Seriously – make friends.

Back to FGL. Like I said, their 3rd album had been released in August with plenty of time for me to learn every new song they would play at this show – and it was amazing. I think I could see the same performances over and over for the rest of my life and still walk away feeling like I’d gained something special or appreciated something new like it was the first time. And that’s exactly how I felt that night. Like I never could have imagined that in 2016 I would be at a concert where the Backstreet Boys were a special guest – never in a million years – yet here we were. Front row. Being tricked. FGL was on a small stage in the back of the arena playing some acoustic stuff while the MFin’ Backstreet Boys were getting in place on the main stage. But I’m no fool – I turned around and caught Kevin’s eye and subsequently screamed to everyone around me to turn around. So there we are, screaming every word to Everybody (although we were kind of alone in that, turns out kids these days don’t know the words…) and I’ve never felt more ridiculous in my life – except maybe until this weekend, but we’ll get to that. Jake Owen showed up; Nelly showed up. I also never would have thought I would be seeing Nelly perform ever in my life but here I am – THREE Nelly performances deep.


Terrible quality – but I need you to understand.

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I’ve talked about the feeling you get when you’re leaving a concert – kind of buzzing and loopy trying to comprehend what you were just a part of. I thought that it couldn’t get better than Mexico. Then I thought that it couldn’t get better than Nashville. Then I proved myself wrong.

So here it is – this past weekend.

Earlier this year, FGL announced that they would be going on a 3-stadium tour as a part of their Smooth Tour, which would actually FEATURE the Backstreet Boys. The only problem was they were only going to Boston, Minneapolis, and Chicago. But if we’ve learned anything about me, that’s not really a problem. So I did what I always do and I found a way to make it happen. The idea of celebrating a 25th birthday with FGL was already a thing – and my best friend actually turned 25 on 8/5 so we could make it work, right? YUP.

Fast forward to this past Friday, driving to Fort Lauderdale to catch an 8pm flight that got us to Chicago at 10:30pm, checked into our hotel at 11:30pm. Now I’m pretty low-key by nature, in all seriousness, but I knew that I couldn’t just casually go to Chicago for 30 hours and be low-key. So we stayed out until 4:30am which is technically 5:30am Eastern time which is exactly 24 hours after I had woken up that morning. But that’s neither here nor there. Ya’ll are reading about concerts, not how crazy I am.

We pulled up to Wrigleyville around 2pm and I am not lying to you even a little bit when I say that when I saw Wrigley through the dashboard of that Uber my stomach did flips. Is this even real life? Attending a concert in the same stadium that just celebrated its first World Series victory in 108 years? You’ve got to be kidding me; but here we were. This is probably not going to make a whole lot of sense from here on out because I can’t even really put into words what it felt like to be there for this; utter insanity is about all I can give you.

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Chris Lane was the first opener and he has just got to be the ultimate hype man. We’ve seen him on the cruise, we’ve seen him open for Chase Rice, he has just always been around and for good reason. When it’s 6pm and someone has to start this show, if I were you I’d choose Chris Lane.

Then came Nelly. I just have to hand it to the guy for knowing his truth. His truth being that he had some bangers back in the day and people will forever and always know the words to Shake Ya Tailfeather. He also referred to himself in the 3rd person the entire time, which I fully support because you’re Nelly and you really can do whatever you want. There was lots of butt shots of girls on the stage dancing and references to members of his crew being in jail and missing some of his biggest hits, but again – that’s Nelly. And I still got the same feeling I always do when a crowd sings together when the entire stadium sang Dilemma, mind you while the music video played in the background. It was the year 2000 in there on Saturday night and I just wanted to stay there forever.

Next up were the MFin’ Backstreet Boys. When I said earlier that I would’ve never guessed I would be watching the Backstreet Boys at this age – yeah I never thought I would be at a freaking BSB concert in 2017. And that’s exactly what AJ said, too, which makes me grateful that they acknowledge it’s kind of a big deal they get to keep doing this 20 years later (August 13, 1997 was when their FIRST album was released; literally 20 years to the day). There was lots of jamming out and literally dancing like I was 7 years old again in my room making up dances to these songs (okay maybe they were *NSYNC songs I was making up dances to, but you get my point). They played The Call which is basically the best song BSB has ever released so getting to be a part of that was enough for me. I felt like a kid again, is my point. I am a full grown adult and here I am singing songs I typically reserve for singing alone in my car, with a group of strangers. I couldn’t stop looking around me, taking in the immensity that was this crowd of people and thinking about how lucky I am.

Last but certainly not least, I got to witness the best FGL performance I’ve seen to date. I really couldn’t tell you if that’s because we were in Wrigley and there were 45,000 people there or if it really was the best, but it was incredible nonetheless. There were fireworks, they sang songs from their FIRST album that weren’t just their singles, they played obscure songs from their second album that no one knew, they played new music that they might never release – all of it was exactly what I want in every single concert I go to for the rest of my life. It was just…special. They sang H.O.L.Y on a piano and brought their wives out to give them flowers and thank them for loving them. I mean come on. There was fire shooting out of the bleachers that were cleared for said fire to shoot from (even though they caught the seats on fire for a sec, NBD). It was…perfect.

The encore was a combination of Hot in Herre, Everybody, and Cruise – which is exactly what the encore needed to be. They did a synchronized boy band dance to Everybody with the Backstreet Boys. There were more fireworks. They brought out bottles of champagne to both chug and shower the people in the pit. I couldn’t believe that I was there, but do you think they can even believe they were there? This is like – top of the top. They posted that 5 years ago they were playing Joe’s Bar in Chicago, probably for $10 and now here they are headlining Wrigley. I can’t even believe that for them.

I write all of this to say that THIS is what going to these shows is all about. Being a part of something that is just bigger than who we are as individuals and acknowledging that to be true. It’s a scary thing, stepping out of your comfort zone, going to strange cities where you know next to nothing and just letting life happen. I stopped saying no to the things that scare me a long time ago. Lean in to the crazy, spend your money and stop wishing that you would have done something differently at the end of all of this. I would give anything to live this past weekend over and over again, the lack of sleep and all.

Thank you for reading my ramblings and being on this crazy journey with me. There’s much more to come – but for now here are some memories I can share with you. Shout out to Sam Anderson, Amy Bohn and Kim Collier for these pics & videos because my phone was most definitely dead before the concert even started.

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We Were Livin’ Every Minute of the Night

Here it is. The first of two installments about the experiences I could write a book about.

Florida. Georgia. Line.

The love affair started as most 17-year old redneck relationships do – at a Luke Bryan concert. It was October 26, 2013 and the last night of the Dirt Road Diaries tour. FGL was the opener and as I sat in the back of the lawn in West Palm Beach, I knew something was just beginning. We were lucky, looking back now, to see them then because they were on their own headlining tour at the same time, but it never made it to Florida.

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It would only be six months until I saw them again, still not headlining, the second night of the first year of Florida Country Superfest. This was the party time of their career, celebrating their “Here’s to the Good Times” album and the entire thing just made you feel alive & carefree. We’ve talked about this before, how I’m a sap and love when words of a song can really hit you hard. But I had to celebrate the fact that FGL came in and just made me feel young. There’s nostalgia, in songs like the title track off of that album or Hell Raisin’ Heat of the Summer (GREAT song), but all of the reasons they became so big came off of that album: Cruise, Get Your Shine On, Round Here. I was there for it. This was also the period when THubb would take his shirt off at the end of every show – so there was that. He got married since and doesn’t really do that anymore…

Almost a full year would pass until we saw them again, once they announced their Anything Goes tour on the Today Show (on my birthday, I might add…). This time we had no choice but to get pit tickets and we knew we were in for something huge. Thomas Rhett & Frankie Ballard were the openers and as I’ve said before – when I’m there for the openers just as much as I’m there for the headliner, you know it’s going to be a good night. Keep this little nugget in the back of your mind, when we purchased these pit tickets, we already had plans to see them in November of 2015, too…

It was a day like any other; I drove up to Tampa with my best friend and met our other friends up there to stand in line to be at the front of the pit – because trust me, it’s not enough to just be in the pit. I’m kind of a crazy person about that and my friends have come to accept it, so I’d appreciate it if you did too. I may have put some extra effort into my appearance and made it especially necessary we were in the front, because social media told me to.

Fast forward to standing in the pit, waiting for the show to start. We are at the very front because, duh, and I’m kind of losing my mind because this is the FIRST time I will see Thomas Rhett live. When the first time you see someone live, someone that you absolutely adore (he’s the home screen on my phone from a concert a year and a half ago…), nothing gets better than that. I can’t write more about him here because this post is going to be long enough without going in to the TR saga, we can get into that in another post (maybe in October? ;)). Frankie Ballard was the first opener, and he was great. His guitarist is from Fort Myers (shout out!) even though we wouldn’t come to learn that until November…I promise I’m getting there.

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So what did I mean when I said that social media told me to? Well, turns out that during all of FGL’s concerts that weekend in May, they would be filming their Anything Goes music video. For this reason, they played Anything Goes twice, and had drones filming the crowd and camera people on the stage and it was awesome. Since we were in the front I thought maaaaybe there would be a chance we got in there, but who knows. When the music video was released, I was having dinner at Carrabba’s by myself so that I could be with my best friend when it came out. There’s no cell phone service in Carrabba’s, FYI. So it came out, I couldn’t get it to load, I went and sat in the parking lot and watched the whole thing three times and FOUND US IN THE MUSIC VIDEO. So, if you have ever been in a car with me or listening to Pandora with me, or simply anywhere music is playing and Anything Goes comes on, I apologize here & now for always saying, “hey, I’m in this music video.”

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Feel free to play “find the crazy girl.”

Okay so like – how does it get better than seeing FGL headline for the first time and being in their freaking music video?? Well, before I knew we would be in the video, let’s go back to actually being at the concert. It was just such a good show. I lost my voice screaming, made lots of eye contact because that matters, and danced like a fool. It’s really hard to dance in the pit and you can lose a lot of friends that way, but I didn’t care. It was the most fun I’d had at a concert up until that point in my concert-going…career? But the cherry on top? Ready for it? We’re watching them sign stuff after the concert, take pictures, etc., when BK grabs my friend’s phone and takes a selfie with us. It might seem inconsequential, but I knew then that FGL was special.

BK

Now – let’s move on. Little did I know just how special FGL would be to me. Fast-forward to November and we have finally made it to the most ridiculous decision I’d made (to date, because I still have more for you) and that I made my friends make with me. Back at the end of 2014, we found out that FGL had put on a cruise to Mexico and didn’t know how we could have missed that. Didn’t matter, though, because that’s ridiculous. Except…when it came to promote This is How We Cruise Round 2…it didn’t seem so ridiculous. My best friend & I talked about it, and figured out that if we could get 2 more people to be crazy with us, it was possible to make this a reality. Well, we made it a reality and, as I said in an earlier post, it was the best trip of my life.

I shared a 10×10 room with 3 other girls for 4 days and risked my sanity for an once-in-a-lifetime experience. We could’ve killed each other by the end, but we’re all still friends. What I learned on that ship is that no matter where you are or what you’re doing – music transcends all of that. The memories of those performances, the first show being as we left port in Miami, to the acoustic one in the middle of the Gulf, to the handful of other performers we got to see (Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Frankie Ballard, Eric Paslay, Jason Derulo (what?), RaeLynn, Canaan Smith, Chris Lane, Russell Dickerson, Cole Taylor), still feel like yesterday. I’m probably the most upset about not making better friends with Russell Dickerson, who literally sat next to us at breakfast every day, because him & his wife are akin to TR & Laur (if that sentence makes any sense to you) and I just really messed up. But I did take a shot with Cole Taylor and find Eric Paslay walking down the hall and made him take a picture with me. Life, right?

And yet, here I am with more stories to tell because that even was two years ago. What I’ve come to learn is that your life can change without you even realizing it. Moments that seem small at the time often become bigger the further we get from them. FGL changed my life & the way I see music. Dramatic? Maybe, but it’s how I feel.

This is only just the beginning – stay tuned for my next post and the conclusion of this crazy journey so far with the boys of Florida Georgia Line.

Cruise pictures in this slideshow!

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WTH

Even though this week was concertless, figured I could reach back into the archives for another story to tell.

Every year I feel like there’s a season for the concerts I go to, even when they’re spread pretty consistently throughout the year. So for this season, you could say we “kicked it off” with Dierks Bentley.

The first time I saw Dierks, he was one of the openers for Miranda Lambert back in 2013. I was kind of surprised to see him as an opener because I felt like he had such big hits on the radio, he was certainly big enough for his own tour – but hey, what do I know? I had won the tickets on the radio and was actually super amped about this concert because I had just been broken up with (if you could call it that?) and was ready to hate men with Miranda all night long. What I found during that show, other than being all “I’m a strong independent woman, hell yeah!” was that I really loved Dierks Bentley.

image1 this was me, being all moody and independent

I can’t quite remember if this was actually the next time, but I’m pretty sure when I saw him again it wasn’t until 2015 when he was headlining his own show with Kip Moore, Maddie & Tae, and Canaan Smith. It’s all well & good when you’re excited to see a headliner, but I get really excited when I actually can enjoy the openers, too. I’d never seen Canaan Smith or Maddie & Tae before so I’m all about crossing people off the list. Canaan was good and I’d see him again in a few months in Mexico (I really can’t wait to actually tell ya’ll that story) and Maddie & Tae was more the Maddie show, but fine nonetheless. Everyone loves Kip & he’ll definitely get his own post in the future.

Dierks was where it was at. He’s one of those where you forget how many great songs someone has until they’re performing all of the bangers and you’re like, wait…that’s him!? It takes a lot for me to commit to seeing someone more than maybe twice because you really have to put on a good show or have something to keep me coming back for more. Obviously, you know where I’m going with this.

So here we are in June, the height of summer, committed to sitting on the lawn in the Florida heat for some more Dierks. Jon Pardi & Cole Swindell being there really helped the decision-making process on this one, too. We had just seen Jon Pardi locally, where it turns out people LOVE Jon Pardi. Who knew, because I definitely didn’t. I met him accidentally probably 3 years ago in a Stevie Tomatoes in Naples, and still was surprised that people knew who he was. For good reason, though, because he can get it. I missed his performance at this show, and you’ll find out why soon enough.

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Cole Swindell is nothing short of awesome. We’ve seen him as a no-name at Dixie Roadhouse, gone to see only him at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, he was an opener for an opener at Lakeside Country Bash (which, RIP, who do I have to talk to to bring that back??), and even as an opener for FGL in Nashville. We go way back, Cole & us, and even still he’s just so great. He sings the obscure songs off of his albums that he loves, even if no one will know them. (Shout out to Remember Boys which is THE jam; go listen.) He sincerely loves the music and that translates to amazing performances.

Okay I swear, back to Dierks. When we bought tickets, the idea was tossed around that maybe, just maybe, we were going to be able to get meet & greets. Now, this isn’t common even though it might look that way. You typically have to pay a crap ton of money, win it somehow, or know the right people. In this case, my roommate knew the right people and about 20 minutes before the meet & greet we found out we could get passes and ran out of our seats to go meet him. It’s bittersweet sometimes, meeting these artists because for me, I want more than just a quick “hi, I’m Gina and awkward,” I want to know who they are as people. But alas, we got our picture and he was very nice and that’s why I missed Jon Pardi.

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Top notch performance and the perfect way to kick off concert season. Every show should feel a little bit different in my opinion, because that’s what keeps you coming back for more. When you’ve seen an artist, it’s enough to cross them off the list and keep moving along. But I’m chasing those little moments of feeling a part of something so much greater than just me. When the lights go out and all you have is a melody and some cell phone lights (RIP lighters) it’s quite the high.

Thanks for reading my ramblings; I promise if you stick around next week’s is going to be a real good one.

You Look Good

Remember what I said last week about loving Lady A?

Welcome to a walk through my obsession with all things music & lyrics.

Last night was magic. You might be sick of me saying that, but maybe now you’ll understand why I can’t stop going to shows. Once they stop feeling like magic, I’ll be ready to call it quits. Until then, you get to read about pure, true love.

Lady Antebellum’s You Look Good Tour opened up with Brett Young and all I have to say is mmmm mm.

I first saw Brett Young earlier this year at Tortuga, making sure we got to the beach early enough so that I could rush the stage and sing all of his beautiful songs. Brett is the true definition of an artist who has songs that just rip right through you. They are actual stories that I can sit around and listen to, imagining them happening to me. You’ve heard the bangers like Sleep Without You or In Case You Didn’t Know – but the true talent sits inside of songs like Like I Loved You and Memory Won’t Let Me. He played exactly five songs and it wasn’t enough for me to be satisfied, but it was amazing. With only a couple of songs on the radio I stood out like a sore thumb dancing around like a fool, but that’s what it’s all about. Go get his music, see him when you can, and fall in love just like everyone else. He also posts super cutesy sentimental things on Instagram (@brettyoungmusic) just like a man after my own heart, so, swoon.

Kelsea Ballerini is someone I actually got to check off of my list of artists that I haven’t seen (there’s maybe 2 left) that I was actually excited about seeing.

I tend to like female artists more than my friends do because of that whole sentimental/sappy thing I have going on, but Kelsea is different. She has plenty of those, but when it comes to true talent and songs that aren’t always love songs, it was almost obnoxious. I’m one to get goosebumps even just singing along to songs in my car if I love them enough – but this was on another level. Her new music, her old music, all of it is ridiculously good. She did sing about loving her cute fiancé (Morgan Evans who also has a banger out called Kiss Somebody) and that’s what really gets me. The stories these people are singing about are REAL stories. Either the artist themselves or the songwriters who put them together felt some type of way and put it on paper for someone to record, sharing this beauty with the world. She does that a whole heck of a lot and I really appreciate it.

There was a point in the show where she slows everything down, of course, and chooses to sing a song with the crowd that everyone would know. This is of personal importance to me because as a concert goer, you want to feel like the artist understands who is in their audience and what they want to see/feel. She gets that, being a self-proclaimed concert lover herself, and did just that for us. Brought us in to her “20,000 person living room” just to hang out for a while. Kelsea, I’m about it.

Of course, though, we were there for Lady A – and Lady A was there for us. I already told ya’ll the story of my first time seeing them – up close and personal the same night I saw Sam Hunt for the first time. Last night was admittedly much better. I think it matters where you are in your life when you start to appreciate songs for different reasons and I’m at a point in my life where Lady A just gets me, and I get them.

If you haven’t heard their new album Heart Break, I suggest you go get it right now. This is songwriting at its absolute finest and the reason I continue to believe in good music. This album is what made my best friend ask me why I don’t write songs because of how closely it resonates with my passions. There’s probably two distinct reasons why that is.

One is that the songs are passionate, full of love & feeling & heart & truth, just like me. The other is that the songwriter on a handful of these songs is someone I really admire. Nicolle Galyon is a boss of a songwriter. She moved to Nashville wanting to represent artists, not be their writer, but alas here she is with a serious gift and turned it into her career. Interesting how someone can have a passion for something and try to go down different paths until life just steps in and tells you otherwise. I’d recommend following her on Instagram (@nicatnitemusic) because she is amazing & admirable and I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Back to last night. You forget how many bangers an artist has until the first few notes and you’re just standing there as the sun sets and the breeze kicks up like “oh shit I Run To You, I see you!!” and you’re lost in a moment. I don’t have many pictures because I realized a long time ago that it’s much more fun watching a concert through memories and not through a phone screen. That’s also something to keep in mind about life.

 

15 in a 30

For those of you in South Florida, you know that last weekend most of your Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram were full of pictures and videos of tailgates, pretty girls in cowboy boots and lots of swooning over Sam Hunt. Yeah, you’re right, I was there, too.

For his first headlining tour I have to hand it to Sam for not only selling out amphitheaters, but for putting on a damn good show. You can lose a lot to theatrical value when you become a headliner, but that’s not what I saw.

“But, like, what do you even know about Sam Hunt?” you might be asking yourself, in the snotty voice that I just wrote that in my head.

Fair question, friends – let’s take a trip.

Back in May of 2015, I made two of my best girlfriends get into the pit with me for Lady Antebellum in Tampa. Now I LOVE Lady A (remember that in a couple of weeks…) but I can guarantee you that for that concert, all them pretty little girls with us in the pit were there for the opening act. This was the first time I got the chance to see Sam live because when I was standing outside of Dallas Bull in 2014 with one of the girls with me at Lady A that night, I saw a poster for some punk named Sam Hunt with some song on the radio called Leave the Night On and I was like “pssh, Sam Hunt, you punk.” Those were real thoughts.

Turns out, the guy’s got it. We were front of the front, touching our noses to the stage, and rubbing Sam’s sweat from his arms when he jumped off the stage and into my face (see Insta video at the bottom of this post). Yeah, girl. But it’s not just because he’s attractive, truss, he is – but he performs his freaking heart out. He sang his Single for the Summer/Marvin’s Room remix – I about lost my damn mind and I was sold on Sam Hunt.

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The love fest doesn’t stop there, friends. Fast forward to November 2015 and I dragged those two lovely ladies from my previous post and another brave soul down to Mexico to sit on a cruise ship with me for four days and fall in love with music over and over again. I don’t think I fully lived until I was physically in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico watching Florida Georgia Line in concert from the lido deck. <–LOL that sentence, though. (The picture at the top of the main page is that moment.)

Sam was there. He made a casual appearance on our docked ship in the port of Cozumel and we sang together like only old friends do. There was more sweat to rub on my face again this time, too, because without exaggerating his chest and my nose became more than friends that afternoon in Mexico. Thanks, Sam. That trip was, to this day, probably the best one I’ve ever taken. Pure magic.

We’ve danced in the rain together on Fort Lauderdale Beach. I fought through crowds of drunk, rowdy teenagers for that and wouldn’t trade a second of it. Make You Miss Me has always been a favorite track of mine and there is something to be said for standing in a crowd of 20,000 strangers, shoulder to shoulder on the beach, with the rain starting to come down, feeling like you are the ONLY one on the beach. That’s where I went that day and I was transcended this weekend, too.

It’s a magical feeling, to give yourself over to a beat, or to get lost in a string of words that put you back in a moment – maybe it’s on a beach dancing in the rain – and I only pray for that to never end.

Maren Morris & Chris Janson opened the show and I’m sure in years to come I’ll have stories about all of the performances I’ve seen them give. Chris Janson can kill a harmonica solo and Maren Morris is the only female I know that makes a bathing suit top and sweatpants look runway-worthy.

What I continue to remind myself is that you have to make it about the experience, too. Sure the concerts and the performances are the reason my heart continues to beat – but having my best friend with me and being able to connect with her on that level is ridiculous. She’ll always be my best friend but in an amphitheater or sitting on a lawn with a couple of beers in us, I am reminded that she’s part of why my heart beats, too. It’s a really hard concept to put into words, but just know that a lot of the reason behind why I’m writing comes from her, that weekend, and the magic concert air has in it.

A few captured images from a variety of shows…

I didn’t take the picture all up in Sam’s face – because I am located physically underneath his microphone; this is the cruise situation I told ya’ll about…

BECAUSE THIS HAPPENED 😍😍😍😍 @samhuntmusic

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Where It All Begins

She’s baaaaack – and with a passion project.

For those who have been around for some time, you may remember that I dabbled in (really terrible) blogging back in late high school, early college. In those posts I found a voice and some serious vulnerability, and learned a lot about who I was.

This time is a bit different and with much more meaning; I promise!

If you follow me on social media you might notice something about my life. I’m never home. Let me be clear – I love my home. But at home, I can’t really find what I’m looking for. What am I looking for you might ask?

ALL OF THE CONCERTS.

I’m never home because I am out floating around the country following my favorite people scream-singing my favorite songs with my favorite people. Those are them, up there at the top. The girls who very rarely say no to the crazy ideas I come up with about traveling around the country (or outside of it, but that’s a Song for Another Time) to see people we have seen countless times in concert. I say countless because I really have tried to count but at this point I’ve given up and decided to turn my experiences into stories.

Now these aren’t just stories about the shows – there’s a little bit of that, but it’s more about the feeling. One friend in particular called me a “sentimental little bitch” a couple of months ago while we sat in middle of the Daytona Motor Speedway waiting for Thomas Rhett. But she was right – I feel, heavily. And with feeling comes what I really hope is a line to draw between music and the words and all of us.

There’s a lot more to come – this is only just an introduction to who I am and what I do. Here’s to hoping you’ll stick with me on this journey, maybe learn a thing or two about yourself, and start saying “yes” more to what it is you really want.

By the way, that picture up there was taken on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale after getting down in the sand to some Nelly. (I was the only one getting down in the sand to Nelly).