A couple of weekends ago, we finished playing our last show for a while here in the concert hall at the farm.
All in all, we’ve done ten concerts in the barn since April and it’s been so much fun to be on stage here at home sharing songs and telling stories like Joey and I used to do together, and meet all the wonderful folks who travel so far to see us. It’s also been really special to have our oldest daughter Heidi and her boyfriend Dillon playing with me for all of them.
They both do a wonderful job singing harmonies with me and Dillon is an amazing guitar player (he was a national champion bluegrass flat-picker at age seventeen). Every evening, somewhere during each show, they sing a couple of songs by themselves. Though I love all the songs Heidi and Dillon do, one song in particular called “Boomerang” touches me the most. Often I step o
ff the stage and stand in the back of the room with the audience. As I watch and listen, I can’t help but find myself thinking of Joey. Missing her... as I’m sure others while they listen, find themselves thinking of the ones they love that they are missing too. It’s such a special song.
In early June, Heidi asked me if I would come into a studio in Nashville with them and be part of singing on the recorded version of Boomerang. It was the first time I’d been in a recording studio since Joey and I made the Hymns That Are Important To Us album. So I took Indy with me and it was so neat.
A few weeks later, Indiana and me, along with some of my buddies: Daniel, BA, Aaron, and Colm, drove to Florence, Alabama where both Heidi and Hopie live, and spent 24 hours filming a glimpse into their lives and mine. My hope was to do with them, what Joey and I used to in our music videos: capture a moment in their lives, and our lives, that can live forever. It was so special to be with them that day, and it made me realize that the last time we made a music video was in the summer of 2012, when we made When I’m Gone.
This past Thursday, the video for Boomerang debuted on CMT and Heidi and Dillon are so excited, they can hardly stand it. I’m excited for them too, and so proud of what we made together...
I’ve learned that like us, everyone has grief in their life and finds themselves mourning the loss of someone. Sometimes, it’s a broken heart, missing a family member, or a close friend. But sometimes it’s more complicated than that. It’s unresolved loss with someone you cared for deeply, and the painful truth that you’ll never get the chance to talk with them again.
For our family, of course, it’s the still-fresh loss of Joey... of a wife and soulmate for me, and of a mother to Heidi, Hopie, and Indiana. For Dillon, it is the loss of his ex-wife Elise, who was killed in a tragic traffic accident not long after their divorce. In the video, we wanted to capture a small piece of the hurt and pain that we feel through something they left behind... a black-and-white video of the good times that Dillon had with Elise... one of Joey’s apron’s that Heidi has in her kitchen... and of course, the photos and videos that I have of Joey. For Hopie, it’s the unread letter that she has from her mom (the last chapter in Once Upon A Farm is about the last letters that Joey wrote and left behind for her Mom and Dad, sisters, and for our girls Heidi and Hopie. It’s been two-and-a-half years now and Hopie still hasn’t read hers... mostly I think, because she’s not ready. You can read that full chapter HERE).
But besides the hurt and grief, we also wanted to capture the undying hope that we feel. And the difference it makes for each of us to have someone in our lives to share the pain. Heidi has Dillon and he has her. Hopie has Wendy, and I have our little Indiana. And we all have each other. When grief and hope come together as a family, it can be a powerful thing.
On July 31st, Heidi, Dillon, and I got the chance to sing Boomerang together on the Grand Ol Opry stage...
When the song was over, they received a standing ovation. It was especially special for Dillon and his folks because it’s been his dream to play there his whole life and it was his very first time.
What a gift it is to get to not only share life together with Heidi and Dillon, but with music too. I’m already looking forward to the six Christmas concerts we’ll be doing in late November and December. And I think I’m ready to start looking at doing more shows in the barn one weekend a month starting in the new year.
If you’d like to download a copy of Heidi and Dillon’s song “Boomerang” and a few other songs that Firekid recorded on their new EP, you can find their music HERE.