As many may know, I took a bold leap of faith and landed in Nashville, TN. Being here I continuously get the obvious question of “So why Nashville?” Truly, I don’t know. I felt a pull from the universe. I also felt a pull from being suddenly spit out of college and on my way to being swallowed by adult life. It was bold. For the first time in my life I felt I had a strong support where I was. Strong friends, an unbreakable family, a job where I had built community. Why was I feeling compelled to leave all of this behind? After the storm I had been thrown into in the prior months, why was I wanting to inevitably go back to being uncomfortable in my surroundings? Not to mention, after traveling the world, it seems as though I’d be longing for familiarity, even for just a moment. But it only lit the fire that fueled adventure even more.
The second I arrived in Music City, I sifted through all my favorite artists’ upcoming tours in order to discover shows in my new home. Everyone knows how I feel about a certain quirky character, Keller Williams. Lockn’ is near and dear to my heart. It is a festival who created a family. It is a festival that enlightened me on the Grateful Dead. It is a festival that made me fall deeper in love with my sweet, sweet Widespread Panic. It also introduced me to Keller. I was woken on Sunday, being dragged to “church”. Grateful Gospel to be exact. This story has been told before, but Keller brought me immense amounts of joy and clarity that easy, breezy Sunday morning.
There is this venue I’ve seen mentions of here and there. I see so many breath-taking photos of venues and festival sites scattered all throughout the world every day. I begin to lose track of my bucket lists of places I hope to see music. I didn’t know where it was or who played there, but its 333 feet below the Earth. What a mood just that alone sets.
So, as I’m doing my research, I make my way to Keller. And where do I find myself? Back in the sphere of this venue. Wow, Keller in that special? No way. And I was right, no way. Those tickets had been long gone. The time leading up to this show I was really just longing for comfort. The comfort of live music. The comfort of nature. The comfort of the crowd I was used to. I needed my hippy people, with their dreads hanging against their tie dye festival tees.
Coming here I left so many beautiful souls behind. The ones that would jump at an opportunity for this. But luckily I’ve found some new ones in the process. I was given the chance to see Keller again and cross Cumberland Caverns off my bucket list.
As soon as we arrived, I immediately felt I was back in a place of comfort, long before the music had ever begun.
Spent hours hanging in a hammock underneath the shadows of trees, conversing, listening to laughter, and personal speakers streaming Railroad Earth and String Cheese in the back ground.
Tennessee is hot as hell. I mean it almost gives “Famously Hot” Columbia a run for its money. So naturally I wore minimal clothing. As I make my way toward to entrance to venture down below the Earth, I see the entire migrating crowd with all bundled up, arms filled with jackets a blankets. Uh oh.
Quickly, I found out it’s always a crisp, cool 50 degrees down there. No worries though, nothing a good ole liquor blanket can’t fix. Until I found out no boozin’ allowed in the cavern.
Zach Deputy open up the show. I’ve seen his name at the bottom of lineups, but it was my first time seeing him. He plays in the way that Keller plays his solo shows, with looping. And damn does that boy have some pipes. His voice and vibe was soulful, funky, and down to earth. He set the tone.
Then comes Keller. He is never a disappointment. He stands there bear-footed, guitar pickin’, exuding pure joy. He started out with a ten minute jam, leading right into Breathe. Shortly after, there was surge and a light flicker. All power was lost of a moment, but all power to his complex looping equipment was lost for more than a moment. This caused Keller to be put right on this toes. You could see on his face that he was less than thrilled. Even making a joke, Deputy’s equipment was interfering with his causing this issue. He had to go solely acoustic. But I couldn’t be happier that this happened because it lead to my most memorable moment in the show. He started with Loser by Beck > Loser by JGB > back into Beck. Luckily, his guys worked it out and he was able to get back into this original plan and swing of things. This was my first time seeing him solo. It was awesome. So much talent to be able to recreate a song how he does.
The night rounded-out with Keller and Zach Deputy laying down a few tunes together. It was such a unique experience from the venue to the tunes. It put me at peace and gave me just a bit of what I had been missing.