Monday, October 6, 2014

                                        YOUR WILDEST IMAGINATION – PART 2

                                              Travelin'  With The Red
Neck Road Dogs
                                                                 Brenda Kippa

For those of you who read last week's column and wonder what happened
on the big day of our friend's vision, here's the rest of the story.

The reality? Oh my goodness, it's difficult to settle on only a thing
or two that might convey the mood of the day. First, the weather
couldn't have been more perfect, and the food included every wonderful
morsel imagineable. But the most lasting impression – other than the
band's performance – was witnessing the relationships of the families
in attendance. Clearly, these were children who were being encouraged
to be who they are, which is often not the case out in public. The
little ones who took the stage were truly a delight, as was our host,
who dressed up in costume and delivered a hilarious version of a
character on kids' TV. God was always in evidence, all day.

When Uncle Lucius took the stage, it was a humbled and happy Kevin
Galloway that we saw. And all other members seemed very touched, too.
After all, the hope is that this will become an annual event, with the
public being invited in all future years. These are the musicians that
deserve to represent this huge group of people. The fans of Uncle
Lucius “get it” - the band's message in a new song “No Time Flat”
tells their view clearly. (Everything can change in no time flat.)
These are times of unease in so many ways; any newscast that tells the
truth gives these 30-somethings plenty to worry about. And worry about
it they surely do, but when they listen to Uncle Lucius, what comes to
them is a spirit of hope. The other lasting vision I walked away with
was the sing-along passion of the couples as they shared this music
that they so love. And make no  mistake: even though we are of a
different generation, we love this band and their message with the
same intensity.

What comes through in a concert with Uncle Lucius on the stage is a
willingness to deliver a lyric according to their own inner guidance,
and a determination to see that it is received. We've seen many
exciting bands perform with magical flair and driving deliveries.
Nothing could be faulted, and we've left many a venue wanting to find
out how to see a band again as quickly as possible. And – as you will
discover when I reveal our three favorite CDs of the current year in
an upcoming column – you will not always find an Uncle Lucius CD in my
car's player. So what is it that truly sets these musicians apart and
above the rest? The answer is found on the faces and in the hearts of
their fans. I'm convinced that it's because Lucius succeeds in sharing
what drives them. Without preaching a word or asking their audience to
think or do anything, they manage to uplift them and impart a desire
to be the best human being that it is possible for them to be.

I had the honor of speaking with Kevin Galloway's lovely mother for
several minutes. She confirmed what I suspected: she made sure her boy
was in church when he was supposed to be. What shouldn't have
surprised me, but it did, was that for awhile they thought Kevin might
go into the ministry rather than banking, which is where he began
after his school years. His booming voice easily shows that he could
have been well suited for it. But then again, he did go into the
ministry, didn't he? In brief moments with Kevin's father, I saw the
pride and respect that's so evident. Clearly, Kevin Galloway
understands the sacrifices that have been made on his behalf, and he
takes his mission seriously. He and other band members know that in
the proper hands, music is a force for good on the world; it can
literally heal. I am proof of this, and so are many others, I am sure.

This event gave me my first opportunity to speak briefly with Mike
Carpenter, the band's lead guitar player. He is the only married
member of the group, and this week will mark the one-month birthday of
his first child. One mention of that little girl caused him to display
a wrap-around smile, and his words were those of a totally besotted
father. Beautiful!

We have never seen Kevin smile as much as he did at this event. And I
wish I could paint you a picture of Jon Grossman's smile, which was
all that could be seen below his curly mop of hair as he attacked the
keys in a double-jointed, herky-jerky way that always astounds us. As
someone who could have been taken by a heart aneurysm at the tender
age of 29, he has much to smile about.

I'm still waiting for my chance to speak with Josh Greco, the amazing
drummer for Lucius. What little patch of marvelousness lurks under
that awesome head of hair? And the newest member of the group, Nigel
Frye, is the bass player who took on the vacancy created when Hal
Vorpahl decided to stop touring and begin a new venture (Hal is still
very involved, as one of the key writers of fine music for Lucius).
Although Nigel entered with a quiet step, we've noticed that he
becomes more animated with every performance; one day we fully expect
to find that the first layer of his persona has been peeled back. What
will then burst through?

Providing the music prior to the arrival of Uncle Lucius was the
Jeremy Peyton Band. They turned in a totally satisfing set, including
their new release “Friends With Benefits”, which is fast gaining
airtime on local and regional country radio stations. This band is
rising in popularity, as evidenced by the fact that they had another
gig to go to later in the evening. The only disappointment in their
set occurred through no fault of their own. A well-meaning but
ill-advised friend came onstage to coax more approval from the
audience than had been given, causing a bit of a  cloud for a few
moments. This kind of audience-berating is almost certain to bring on
the opposite of what is hoped for, no matter how well intentioned the
purpetrator is. Regardless, the Jeremy Peyton Band was an enjoyable
part of the mix of the day.

This is a snapshot of our friend's vision and how it was turned into
reality. How many of us have an outlandish idea that we will never
really act on? Largely because of the inspiration provided by their
favorite band, our friend decided to act on his idea before it
evaporated, which could have happened in no time flat. Instead, over
200 friends and their children enjoyed a day that will never be
forgotten. With a little luck (and a lot of planning), it just might
happen again next year and the year after that.

A video of the whole day was being made by Van Scott Folger, the same
filmmaker who was largely  responsible for Uncle Lucius' two popular
music videos. Maybe this will turn into the event that defines this
generation and their hopes for the future. Sounds good to us!

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