Not too terribly long ago, Holly and my weekends consisted of regular cycle: -pack up the car-drive somewhere-spend the
night in a host home-get up sunday and sing in a sunday
morning service-eat good, midwest women’s cooking and try to
catch a nap on sunday afternoon in said host bed-go back to
church and offer a “sharing time” of my songs for about an
hour for anybody who’d show up and listen- hopefully sell
some CDs and then get to partake in a good ole’ “dessert
social”- pack up the van and drive home.
It was a good life. We saw lots of friends and made many new friends out in those churches across the midwest. I know
that southern women are supposed to be the best cooks, but
I’ll tell you that some of those midwest church potluck
dinners couldn’t be beat. And at the same time, I got to
play my songs for listening, appreciative audiences on a
At the time, the hardest part or true “work” of that
lifestyle was booking the gigs. During the week, I spent
hours on the phone contacting people, sending out promo
materials and building relationships with ministers and music ministers to the point where they would trust me with sharing my songs with their congregations.
Probably 95% of the time, these contacts were not truly cold
calls. I knew lots of people from bible college and we’d
meet other people at camps or conventions or would get
referrals from other ministers. This just helped in building the relationship and letting these people know that I wasn’t a cook and and I wasn’t a crook and that they could trust me
with my “sharing time”.
I tried “cold calling” regularly, and it proved the most
difficult. As I mentioned, since I don’t have name that
people recognize from magazines or from christian radio, it
really was a matter of letting the music minister get to know me enough to trust that I had something relevant to share
with their people. It always struck me as odd that I had a
terrible time crossing “denominational lines” and that most
wouldn’t even consider me coming a singing if I couldn’t
prove to them I was of the correct flavor. However, if that
same person heard somebody on the radio, suddenly that wasn’t such a big deal. Anyway…
East Win was one of those rare instances where I found the
church in some directory, called and talked to the music
minister, sent him a CD, and worked it out to go share a
concert the first time. Since then, it’s up for debate how
many times we’ve been back; somewhere between 3 and 5 times.
This church has been so encouraging to Holly and me from the
very beginning. For some reason, my songs and little stories of where they came from just seemed to click.
Two weekends ago, we went back to East Win. It’s a pretty
big church. I can’t ever imagine that people will actually
remember us and remember the last time we were there, and yet people were actually excited that we cam back! I don’t know
how many times people came to our CD table and pointed out
all the CDs they already owned and asked “what’s new?”
In the past, my songs fit into the “christian music”
description pretty easily. Now, Gypsy Heart is the newest CD and I had, and I’m the first to point out that these songs
were not designed to spoon-feed anybody my ideas of
Christianity and/or belief to anybody else. I was a little
apprehensive about how this batch of songs might be received
by this faithful audience.
Of course, I’m an idiot for not giving them enough credit.
Even on an especially bad-weather weekend and prepratory
warnings from the Music Minister about how much difficulty he has getting people to come out for concerts, I felt we had a
pretty decent crowd. Not only were they an attentive and
interactive audience, they really seemed to “get” where these songs came from and seemed to accept the fact that their
encouragement and support was encouragement and support for
me to taking these songs outside of those walls.
Obviously, it was nice to get a decent paycheck for my
music/concert/services, and it was also nice to move a few
CDs into the hands of appreciative fans. But more than that,
I hope that East Win knows that how much more their support
and encouragement meant to me.