This past weekend, my brother Barry Walsh, a fabulous keyboard player in his own right (who has a wonderful instrumental CD that’s great inspiration BTW), married his love of many years, Gretchen Peters. That the two have always made incredible, beautiful music together is a given within Nashville and the Folk and Country Music Communities. Gretchen has an amazing voice, crafts songs of such intelligence and power, and as importantly, Barry doesn’t just play along. He listens, adds his interpretation, and accents each song perfectly. I’m what you might call musically illiterate but even I get that when watching them.
And it’s not just on the auditory level that these two relate. They are wonderfully matched in so many ways … both very smart and intellectually curious, quirky, and fun, and it is so great to see them together and obviously, this happy together. It’s been a bit of a journey for them but I can proudly say I knew from the very first that this day would come.
And this was a wedding noone that was there will ever forget, if only for the perfection of it. The night before, a whole slew of us were bused out to Green’s Grocery in Leiper’s Fork. It’s a lovely intimate venue that harkens back to the 30s and 40s in its simplicity. There, Barry played for Gretchen (and the lucky audience) a song he wrote for her and she answered with her song about him “The Way You Move Me.” As if that wasn’t enough, others played, including the dynamic Marshall Chapman, Gretchen’s fellow “Wine, Women & Song” partners Matraca Berg and Suzy Bogguss, Rodney Crowell and Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Supporting them all night was Christine Bougie, a wonderful steel guitar player from Toronto. I love that instrument anyway and her style was just wonderful. We went home happy, full and sure they couldn’t ever top that night.
But they did.
Planned beautifully, the ceremony took place right after the 6 p.m. bells rang at Assumption Church in Nashville where we all stood in the churchyard below. Unplanned but uncannily perfect was the appearance of an old invalid who rode by on his scooter, surveyed the goings-on, waved and went on his way. My brother Barry waved back as fellow siblings nudged one another just knowing it was the ghost of our father who loved to play pranks on us while riding his own scooter before he passed away four years ago. I’m sure it was him, giving Barry & Gretchen his blessing. To top off the emotion of them saying their vows, Rodney Crowell performed an acoustic version of a lovely song he written about life and family entitled “I know Love is All I Need.” I’m told video taken from behind me of his performance shows one of my arms holding the video camera up and the other hand coming to my eyes with a tissue. Frequently. It was moving.
Then there was the first dance. Gretchen has written with Bryan Adams for many years and formed a tight bond of friendship. He made a promise to her, arranged his schedule, and was able to come in for it. And he sang their first song. It’s funny, my hubby and I married to one of his songs (Everything I do), my sister got engaged to that same song, and now, our brother was having Bryan peform their first dance (Heaven), live! After this, there were more performances by those who’d been there the night before and other great musicians. Our family got jammin’ when Rodney launched into Elvira accompanied by Jeff Hanna and a flock of singers joined in. We stayed up there on the dance floor and joined hands to sing along with “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and I swear, at that moment, I didn’t think anything could top this weekend.
But then there were the sky lanterns. Two dozen of these wonderful things were lit by the wedding guests and sent skyward over the Nashville night sky. Reading through tweets she follows the next day, Gretchen saw some neighbor observed the presence of several UFO’s above Germantown. I enjoyed seeing the lanterns fly off but even more loved the warm glow that lit peoples faces as they were lighting the lanterns. Ahhhh. Just beautiful. Every last minute of it.
So with all excitement, I’ve done no painting at all lately. Just haven’t had it in me. But I am itching to get back to it. So stay tuned!