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  • Writer's pictureGrace O'Shea


Updated: Nov 13, 2020

Even when you’re working your dream job, sometimes you need a reminder of why you’re doing it.

And I've had three insane reminders as of late.

It’s the same feeling I got when I was captivated by Lori McKenna playing "People Get Old", and Natalie Hemby singing “Jealous” at the Listening Room. The same awe-inspiring feeling I had at the Speak Now Tour in 2011, my first ever concert.

The only word that comes to mind for me, as cliche as it sounds, is magical.

Just as I did in 2011, I was hanging on every word that came out of Taylor Swift's mouth last night during night 2 of her 3 show stay of the Reputation Tour at Gillette Stadium. I've grown up with her music, and she's seen me through middle school, high school, and now college, so I think it's fair for me to be a little emotional.

She's known to connect with fans a lot throughout the show, and this was no exception. In one particularly moving speech, her words hit me so hard I actually choked up a little bit.

She was talking about writing "Long Live", and how at the time she was well aware that her playing such huge shows could very well be fleeting. She knew that she could just be a phase, which really is such a valid fear, and that even now it still doesn't feel normal when someone walks up to her and tells her they've been listening to her music since they were 12, and are now an adult still attending her shows.

As a musician myself, it's hard to fathom the magnitude of where she's at. The moment she mentioned how she started--and how she used to play for anyone who would listen, was the part that got me.

It's just crazy, because everyone starts out somewhere, and even Taylor Swift was playing in parking lots to 3 people at one point in time. I love what I do, but it comes with its disappointments. Playing to empty rooms, or feeling like you're fading into the background are quite normal feelings. But perhaps that makes having an attentive audience that much sweeter. I played a show July 7th as an opener for The Meadows Brothers & Hayley Sabella, and there were close to 100 people there--and they were watching me! Though it's not 60,000 people, it was a different feeling for me--definitely a good different :).

Acoustic Nights on the Hedgehouse Lawn 7/9/18

The other two reminders were the other two females that round out the perfect trifecta of my musical influences--women I was able to see all within one month of each other!

The feeling of pure exhilaration I experienced seeing Miranda Lambert live is indescribable. She's different than Taylor; she doesn't make many grand gestures or give lengthy heartfelt speeches. Miranda is a firecracker, starting every show off with a blazing rendition of "Kerosene", and then diving into virtually every hit she's ever had on country radio, with some deep cuts thrown in as well. She's the epitome of Country to me--with a badass don't-mess-with-me attitude and the pipes to boot. And when she brought out the Pistol Annies, I nearly had a heart attack. Their witty lyrics combined with the perfect amount of sass and pitch perfect harmonies was a performance I'd been waiting on since 2011.

To top out a flawless night, Little Bigtown joined Miranda on stage and she, Kimberly Fairchild, and Kimberly Schlapman sang "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks. It was like they had a secret powwow before the show and decided to create my dream concert.

One of my favorite moments from the show (and any show) was when it was just Miranda and her guitar. She went to play Tin Man, and forgot the lyrics at the very beginning. She laughed it off and started again, aided by a fan who knew the right words. Those small, but genuine moments, are always some of my favorites.

And finally. The third installment of the trifecta is Kacey Musgraves.

Like Miranda, it's her confident attitude that commands respect.

That, and the fact that she's a brilliant songwriter and can hit crazy high notes, all while wearing flashy country outfits reminiscent of Dolly Parton.

She had a tall order, opening up for Harry Styles on his debut solo tour. Most of the screaming fans were there for him, but I came for her. Kacey fully captured the attention of the audience after only a song or two, aided greatly by her blaring outlaw rendition of "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. I may have been one of the few there who knew all of her songs by heart, but she definitely won over some fans that night. She's going out on her Golden Hour Tour now, and I've already bought a ticket to see her at the Ryman. Excited is an understatement.

So, has this summer been perfect? No, not exactly. Have I run into a few hiccups? Yep. Have I dealt with a lot of difficult people? You betcha. But, these shows were healing, to my soul in a way. Like Taylor said in her surprise acoustic song (she sings a different throwback every night of the tour), "these things will change". And, despite the imperfections, there are so many things that have happened this summer that have just made my heart smile. It's the little things, like a little girl telling me I sound like Brandi Carlile, or singing along to "Mean", or the people down at Wollaston Yacht Club who show up to listen to Gerry and I play music every Wednesday night. People like that make pouring your soul into all of this worth it.

'Til the next post!


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