Monday, April 4, 2016

Welcome to Paradise

Randy Stonehill gets down to Millbrook, AL on April Fools 2016.
Last stop and almost home.
I'll write about Jesus Music from time to time here at Boomerville because I was part of the Jesus Movement.  I wasn't much into the stuff a lot of my classmates were into back then.  I didn't go to the ball games, the proms, whatever.  I merely showed up, payed my dues in class and dusted my feet off of it all when the school bell rang. My joy was hanging out with other young Christians like myself at Christian Brothers Coffeehouse.  I loved the gatherings, the prayer meetings, the small and large concerts.  I'd roadie for my brother, for my friends as they'd go places to sing.  I was messing with his guitar on the side, trying to learn to play so I could write songs and sing and go too.  It's what I was all about.

I purchased a cassette player for my ride back in '76.  I had three Jesus Music tapes that I wore out. Randy Stonehill's 'Welcome to Paradise' was among those three cassettes.  Christian Brother's Association hosted concerts, festivals, and provided sound for other concerts and festivals.  I got to see almost everyone LIVE back then, but never Stonehill...until last Friday evening.

My old friend Jack Jackson had posted on facebook that he was having Randy Stonehill play at Grace Community Church down in Millbrook, AL.  Like I said, I had never got the opportunity to hear Randy perform.  On top of that, I had not seen my friend Jack in decades.  My oldest daughter Katie had to stay back and study, but my youngest, Kelsey, was free and willing to go.  Gina, Kelsey and I drove down and walked in after Randy had taken the mic. 

It was a fun concert.  Millbrook was his last gig before he and his wife Leslie head back in South Carolina.  Stonehill looked a little tired.  He admitted right off the bat that he was a bit punchy, but what a show! He played a lot of familiar songs in the first set and then returned with songs from his new CD.  It wasn't a large audience, but Randy gave it his all.  I enjoyed the songs, his energy and his spirit.  I think though, the best thing about the guy, is he took time after the concert to talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him, a very pleasant and approachable fellow.

Jack asked us if we'd like to go out and eat afterwards.  We settled at Applebees in Prattville around midnight.  Stonehill was at the opposite end of the table still entertaining.  Jack and Debbie were on my end, so nice to just catch up on life after all these years.  Jack asked if we could hook up for breakfast before we left town.  So we continued out conversation the next day at Cracker Barrel for a couple more hours before parting. I had a great time.

This is the first activity outside of home since my hospital stay.  The trip wore me down, but I had the rest of the weekend to rest.  I don't regret it a bit.  The girls had fun too.

Randy is interested in coming back next year.  The talk at the table Friday night was a return visit for an 'all request concert'.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to make it down for that one too.


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