I never fully expressed how much I enjoyed the Next Big Nashville shows that I went to on Saturday night.

We got there in time to hear the uber-talented Brooke Waggoner.  I’m not kidding- hearing Brooke live for the first time was awesome.  Listening to Brooke’s music is like hearing summer turn to fall.  Knowing that she lives and worships [oh yeah, she knows Jesus] here gives me hope for my own art.

We then heard Thad Cockrell.  He has an amazing voice, but his style just isn’t my style.  He’s a good songwriter- had the best line of the night if you ask me- “Ever since I met you, beauty has a name“.  Hey, Thad, I don’t know who she is, but I bet she loves you.

The final show was Ten Out Of Tenn.  See, here’s the thing.  It is composed of 10 individual Nashville artists.  And when they perform live, they all are involved in every song.  For example, when Matthew Perryman Jones is singing his song “Don’t Fall In Love”, other artists are playing instruments, singing backup, doing whatever it takes to make that song sound awesome.  Then it’s Katie Herzig‘s turn- everyone rotates around to a different instrument and they all work equally hard on that song.  And they shift around like that over and over.  Everyone being in front.  Everyone being in back- nine times out of ten.

I watched Andy Davis– we have a few mutual friends, he loves the Lord, I like him as a person.  And y’all.  He played every instrument at one point or another.  He sang the words to every song, even if he wasn’t miked, like a true fan of the other musicians.  He was there to ensure the best sound came out on every song.  And of the fifteen or so songs we heard, ONE was his.  ONE.  Fourteen times he lived for someone else.  Fourteen opportunities to serve. Every artist played like that- served like that.  And they had fun doing it.

It amazed me- it was all I could think about.  How selfless.  How giving.  To give as much attention to nine other artists’ songs as your own.  Risking their song sounding better than your’s.  I was more than impressed.  I was blessed.  It was a picture of the best things about Nashville.  [Yes, there is coveting and backstabbing, and in my few weeks here I’ve seen that as well.]  But watching these ten artists give their all for each other made me want to be a better artist.  A better writer.  Why?  So that I can get together with my other writer friends and hold their work up to the world and say “HOW GOOD IS THIS?!?!  READ IT!!!”  With no concern for myself- if they succeed, I succeed.  Like Shannon or Sandra.  Like Linda.  I want to live Mark 12:33 like that.

I salute you, Ten Out Of Tenn, because your music is good.  And you remind me of Jesus.

How does this affect you today?  I don’t know that answer for you.  I just know that if we all sought success for the other people in our professions and in our lives, this world would be a different place.

I think maybe this is how we were meant to live all along.

[By the way, there are other artists doing this in Nashville- Annie, Josh,and Meg, Dave and Matt – but these are just the ones that birthed this whole thought process in me.]