Tuesday, March 11, 2008

a mentor that meant so much

It’s kinda’ weird how life happens.

I’m the first to say I can’t control it or will even go so far to say that I’m glad I don’t control it. I’m jacked up. And I think if we were all completely honest, we’d all agree that there’s something jacked in each of us. So life happens all around us and much goes on that’s understood. But then there’s instance like the one I’m writing about.

I’m a musician. Through and through, music and art and the creative juices that craft all of that work together, are what first and foremost make me up. But I didn’t always see it in me. Until a certain point in my life I saw music as a hobby. I’m not sure why. It was still what consumed everything about me. But for whatever reason, when I thought about the job a man should have, ‘musician’ wasn’t even on the radar. Lawyer, doctor, politician – these were jobs; not a musician.

It wasn’t until someone I respected and looked up to as a mentor pushed me and challenged me to pursue my music, that I truly considered it a possibility, vocation, and lifestyle. This mentor of mine had worked with me for a number of years. He’d written hundreds of songs, had platinum and gold records hanging all over his office. I mean, think about that…this guy had sold millions of songs! A songwriter that worked in and out of Nashville, that would also not only give me the time of day, but worked weekly with me at performances, recordings, and actually cared about my future. He wasn’t going to gain anything from me. He’d “made it.” But yet he saw potential and a fellow artist and pushed me when he didn’t have to.

If you haven’t heard of him, it’s because he’s a songwriter. The infamous mavens of creativity and culture; the puppet masters that forego the bright lights and tour busses and multitudes of crazed fans to write, write, write – that in a nutshell was Gary Driskell.

I got a phone call from my dad a few weeks back. I could tell in his voice that something was off. I just knew something bad had happened. Gary had suddenly passed away. And for a brief moment I had no feelings at all. I guess that’s what disbelief feels like. I hadn’t seen or spoken with Gary in nearly six months, and now he was gone forever. It was hard to imagine such a man, a father, a husband, a son, and an influence to me, gone.

For all that knew Gary, we are saddened. But he will live on in all of us through his influence of music, creativity, and his humbleness. For those who never had the chance of meeting or hearing his music, I can honestly say that you’ve not heard what the human voice is capable of. You haven’t seen a musician sculpt a song in seconds and perform it on the fly. That was Gary. He had a great family and led many with his music. That was Gary. A writer, an instrumentalist, a success story, a dad, a husband, a leader, a friend – that was Gary.

That is Gary.

It’s kinda’ weird how life happens.

1 comment:

cjon said...

Ross/Kate
I know this is a late comment for this posting, but I'm hoping you'll see it.
My father died this week. He was my mentor; Father, story teller, historian, teacher, and friend. I echo everything you say.
FWIW - I have decided to always say "Died" instead of all of the euphemisms we use. "Passed" What is that? The rest of them are worse. We had the funeral, complete with '30's and '40's big band music (and a little barbershop). The pall bearers did their thing to Sentimental Journey by Les Brown and Doris Day (who could really sing, actually), and then his Grandsons and I played a round of golf. The Cy Hinkle Memorial for sure.

Hope this finds you and yours fat, happy and well. (but not too fat... Public Health and all.)
CJon