There was something so unreal and fantastical about my “Clancy” weekend up in Louisville that I haven’t been able to put my finger on, and honestly, kind of don’t even want to try. Have you ever been to Disneyworld? It’s kind of like that. You come home and people say, “How was the trip?” And you say, “Man, I had a lot of fun.” And then people walk away, or start talking about themselves, and you’re left standing there, holding the particular moments that were especially magical, feeling like you’ll never be able to share them with anyone. That describes the feeling that I’ve frequently had after being blessed with several different spectacular experiences, including my “Clancy” weekend.
I don’t want to sound like I’m whining—I’m simply attempting to express the weirdness of the roller-coaster life I’ve chosen to ride. I remember coming home after my first run on a tour bus with Semi-Big Nashville Artist. I had just had an intense four days trying to sleep in a jostling, coffin-like bunk, waking up in different places in different states that each looked exactly the same. I met a ton of people and liked only some of them. I was treated like I was something special, and I was also treated like I wasn’t anything special at all. People back home were excited for the opportunity they knew I was getting, but had no idea, like me, what I was actually getting into. It turned into something that was more challenging than I had expected, and more rewarding than I could’ve dreamed.
But going back to my Disneyworld example, people just want to know you had a good time. It takes a very special person to care about the nuances of your trip, whether it’s to Orlando, Paris, or Peoria. More about life on the road later.
Last Saturday I drove toward Louisville and stopped at Ft. Knox to meet my good friend Marc who’s doing some work there as a pilot of Apache helicopters. I know, serious stuff. I’m so thankful he was able to accompany through the 24 hours that would follow. Kelly’s Filmworks held a little reception for the “Clancy” cast and crew just prior to the screening, serving little desserty things and soft drinks. After that, we were seated in a special reserved area in the middle rows of the packed theater. I got to sit next to Marc, Stephanie Vickers (a Nashville actress playing Clancy’s mother) and her real-life mother.
I was excited to see the film, but more excited to see what it would feel like to hear me and my song come through the speakers in a dark theater filled with people. I knew the song would appear in a scene in a hospital, so when I saw the story moving in that direction I started to get a bit nervous. I sank a little lower in my seat and clasped my hands together. I probably looked like I was praying. I just wanted to cover my face in case something weird started happening with it. Would I cry? Would I smile? Laugh? Drool? I didn’t know—I had never been there before. When the swirling synth pad of my song’s intro started, I sank a couple inches lower yet. I suddenly felt my pulse start intensifying, as if someone was ringing out my spine like a wet washcloth. My head was pulsating.
Now I’m listening to my song. I’m singing. This is so crazy. Other people are listening as well. But they’re not thinking about me, they’re thinking about the emotions of the lyrics and the feeling in the melody. I can’t believe how the lyrics fit the storyline so perfectly. I sound like a real singer. The song sounds like it’s supposed to be there. I can’t believe it. Stop thinking so much. What a trip.
The song ends after about 80 seconds, and the dialogue starts up again. I can breathe again. Marc elbows me and says something like, “That was awesome!” I try to breathe. Stephanie leans over her mom and touches my arm, mumbling something encouraging. I mumble something back, mostly paralyzed still. The movie keeps rolling. I feel like standing up and cheering. I better not. I imagine people sitting behind me pointing their finger at my back, saying, “He’s the singer. That’s him! Right there!”
I heard the song might be used again, so as the ending approaches, I start to get nervous/excited again. Here’s the final shot. The crane slowly lifts the camera away from the scene, zooming out to reveal the landscape just as the second verse of my song starts up. It’s obviously the end of the film. People are sniffling. I’m singing. The first lines of credits start rolling and the crowd starts clapping. I can’t hear my song. More clapping. They keep clapping. That’s great. I tell myself, It’s okay. They’ll hear it on the DVD. It’s okay. More clapping.
After the screening, there’s a nice Q&A with some of the cast and crew. The little girl who played Clancy gets a huge reception, like she’s the new Anna Paquin or something. The screening concludes with a showing of the alternate ending, one that wouldn’t have used my song again. I’m thankful for the actual ending and my encore.
The room is buzzing as people get up and make their way out of the theater. I got to have a couple cool conversations, one with the guy who scored the film, and another with an actor who reminded me of Nathan Lane. Me, Marc, Stephanie and her mom, Jolene, decide to hit the town and celebrate. After being hit so powerfully by the whole screening experience, it was nice to hit something back.
In my next blog, I’m going to write about the day that followed. The day we shot the music video for “Precious Memories” and how I felt like I was simply pretending to be the person I had always dreamed I’d be.