Photo by Zoe Pamintuan
My good friend Dan was in town from Los Angeles by way of Kansas. Returning from his grueling 3-day karate belt-promotion trial, he made a stop in Oregon so we could visit. I got to sit with him at the Sage restaurant and introduce him to one of my mentors, John Rodgers.
I backed out of the conversation a little, allowing John and Dan to get to know one another, and began looking around the room. I made eye contact with the guy sitting by the far wall. I could tell by the way he smiled at me that he wasn’t a stranger. He knew me, and I was supposed to know him, too. I looked closer and yes, I knew his face. I knew that I knew him. But why? From where?
As lunch ended and John took his leave, the guy from the wall table approached. He said, “Do you remember me?” and I said “No, I know that I know you, but sorry, I don’t remember.”
He said, “Eleven years ago you sang at my engagement party for me and my wife…”
My face lit up with a flood of memory, and I hugged this dude like the long-lost friend that he is.
He said, “Are you still playing music? You better be!”
Why is that the question people always ask me when we reconnect?
Here’s the back story: I once wrote a song called Without Love. It’s based on 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter. I wrote it while I was out walking off a fight that I’d had with my wife. The chorus has a call and response structure, where a voice sings the two words “Without Love” and then I respond with a lyrical line.
When Tyler and his lady were engaged(11 years ago), I somehow got invited to play at their party. It was just me and my Martin (guitar) and I played my best for them. Tyler was quarterback of the Linfield College Football team, so with his buddies in attendance, we had mostly football players crammed into the tiny space at the Wildwood Cafe. Big dudes, Manly Men. Muscles everywhere.
To this day, my favorite performance of Without Love was the time I had 20 or so football players singing that call at the top of their lungs. There was an awesome magic in those words borne on a chorus of gruff, hearty, powerful voices.
Without Love, it doesn’t matter what I lose or what I gain
Without Love, my best intentions would be totally in vain
Without Love, I might as well be lighting candles in the rain,
Back to the present (2014) — there at the Sage, Tyler and I made plans to reconnect, get together, do lunch, trade stories, catch up. We met exactly one week later. This is us at the wall table, reconnecting after 11 years.
He’s done amazing things. And why not, he’s an incredible son of God! With a twinkle and a grin, he said to me and I submit to you:
“People Stick! Circumstances come and go, but people stick!”
Would it be crazy if I re-recorded Without Love with those football players as the back-up singers? Ty says he can get them all and their wives and kids to show up.
Good thing we record in a barn — we can fit everybody.