It is 11:52 p.m. Nashville time and I just wrote an amazing worship song with Phil Whickam.
Let me back up…
I woke up at 4:19 a.m. this morning in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Annie was ready to eat and it didn’t much matter because the alarm was set for 4:30 a.m. anyways. I fed her and fell back asleep for seven minutes. Seven minutes of deep, intense sleep. This made the next round of wake ups miserable. I felt sick to my stomach. I hated the world.
We got out the door and to the airport in record time.
As I pulled out my laptop to go through security I realized… wait… there is no laptop.
I can’t help that my laptop is smarter than me. It was still asleep. On the desk. In the hotel. Lucky dog getting to sleep in like that. It is flying to Nashville tomorrow. At least I hope. I was too cheap to pay the extra ten dollars to have it insured… so; I hope it flying to Nashville tomorrow.
Back to the airport. Can we just take a moment to talk about the Las Vegas airport?
I’d rather hitchhike to Vegas naked and barefoot, walking over cactus plants and hopping a ride in a horse trailer or paddy wagon than go into that place again. It is a zoo. A loud, clangy, gaudy, cheap-o cacophony of advertisements, loud music, really amazing trashy outfits lining lots of no-name-stores, cigarette smoke, and mean security guards. It is a nightmare for babies who are stimulated easily. Ok, it was a nightmare for me. It was like being in one of those creepy fun houses where the mirrors make you look extra short and extra fat, the strobe lights flash in red and purple, the floor shuffles under your feet and the only way out is to go through a series of mazes, kiss a clown, and find a candy-cane slide that eventually dumps you out into a pit full of colored balls.
There is nothing fun about using seven tickets on that.
The Las Vegas airport is a final beacon of hope for the down and out who have whittled their money away on slot machines that make no logical sense (because they just sit there and flash pineapples and grapes and number 7’s and dollar signs and three bars and then two bars and then no bars and then the machine just stops after about ten seconds and says, “Game over. I took your money you moron.” And then I feel guilty for wasting three dollars.). I hate those machines. And the airport is full of them. That’s just my first qualm.
On Monday mornings, I would venture to say, the Las Vegas airport has more hung over people than any other place in the world.
People are straight up looking like death. Some of them tripping on themselves. Some with eyes glazed over. Some of them just stink like dingy cigarettes, swimming pool chlorine, and casino funk. Most people look angry. Cause let’s be honest… most people don’t win a darn thing. And most people are like little time bombs waiting for the next TSA agent to make them explode.
“I WILL not take off my shoes, I already sold my shoes to the devil this weekend. I have no shoes to give you.”
And Monday morning, everyone is going back to work. The place is packed with hung-over, broke, exhausted people going back to the real world.
I only thought Orlando was bad. All those poor kids having Mickey Mouse withdrawals and parents licking their $1,000 theme-park wounds. And then you add to it all the grandparents who tag along so they can give mom and dad a break but really just end up slowing down the whole joint cause their knee caps are flaring up and that rain just messes with their hair and they can’t eat breakfast for a reasonable price so they just aren’t eating at all (FDR would have never let prices inflate like that). Orlando is a doozy of an airport if you are not fully sucked into all things Disney, because then it just feels like a bunch of deranged family units on the brink of self-implosion. You have to be coming to or from Disney to have sympathy for all the crazy kin running around that airport.
But Vegas makes Orlando look like a Buddhist monastery.
And after all of that…
I am glad to be home in Nashville.
We are living in our manager’s downstairs home. He and his wife built their house with other people in mind; they are the most generous people I have ever known with their belongings. The downstairs house is for artists, family, or really anyone who needs a place to stay. We have our own kitchen, washer and dryer, master bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets. It feels like my house. I have a playroom set up for Annie; I am completely unpacked into the dresser drawers; and I even have my own shelf in the fridge. Pretty amazing actually. I’ve been here before when there were 17 people staying throughout the house. Most of the time Scott and Stacey don’t even know when people will pop over to use the pool, basketball court, the porch swings for meditation, the inside gym, or the fire pit for smores. It is just known throughout the community that whoever wants to be here can be here. It truly is community living.
And most of the time you will find one or two or three of his artist or band’s living downstairs or throughout the house.
The next few days we are living here alongside of Phil Whickam.
We all went to dinner tonight and then went our separate ways. I fed Annie and got her to bed. I was winding down myself. 4:19 a.m. was creeping up on me and I was on my last wind. Putting away laundry and then calling it quits.
And that’s when Brickell came down (Imagine a big, grizzly bear of a man. About 6’3? 6’5? I don’t know. A big, big man with a low, intimidating voice. Who also, by the way, gives the best hugs at the most perfect moments) and said, “Come on.”
Not a lot of room to say no. And you don’t really say no to him if you don’t have to.
So Ryan Gregg and I followed him upstairs and Brickell said, “Y’all want to write a song or what?”
And we did.
Here’s how song writing went down with Addison Road and Phil Whickam…
Phil: What do you want to write about?
Me: I want to write an amazing worship song so I don’t have to steal yours all the time.
Phil: Ohhhh, go on, go on. Okay. What is the theme?
Me: Well, I’ve been thinking about this scripture a lot.
Phil: Read it to me.
Me: I read it to him.
Phil: Yeah, yeah, I love that. I love that passage.
Me: Can we write it this way? Glimpses of stories and people from the Bible, but without being cheesy or sounding like an excerpt from the Old Testament? But still saying that God was who he was back then and still IS now. I’ve always really, really wanted to do that. But I don’t really know how to. You know, to like incorporate the history of our faith into a song?
Phil: Yeah, that’s hard, but we should do it. Why not? Lets do it. What about…
you were there when…
He starts to strum and a beautiful, perfect melody just flows out. We start spouting out story after story from the Old Testament. The lines are flowing in abundance. And somehow, here we are at 11:30 p.m. capturing the stories of the Bible in a poetic snapshot that, by the chorus, makes us want to sing our guts out in worship.
And we do.
Phil takes the harmony. I take the melody. And this worship song just sort of happens. And we are singing loud, getting goose bumps because it is so moving, and singing out even louder when we hit the bridge. This song takes on a life of its own. We are merely holding on and following it. And I am in awe. These are the moments that make a year worth of song writing worth it. Because eventually, you will have these moments. The perfect song will come.
This song will be on the album now. In a few months, you will hear it. It wasn’t supposed to happen. I was supposed to be in bed. I didn’t even have a computer to type words into. I just had an old school notebook. A blue pen. Two very tired little eyeballs… and then… out of nowhere, the inspiration, the substance, a guy sitting across the room that can write a melody and sing a song with a voice that can hypnotize an angel, and enough energy and excitement to carry me through a marathon. And we write a song. And it is the exact, most perfect song. The missing piece on the album.
And I leave with goose bumps. And I can’t sleep.
And I had to tell you… sometimes I love this job to pieces and simply cannot get enough.
Tonight made me love it.
And it is 1:12 a.m. now. And I think that means I almost haven’t slept in 24 hours.
But it doesn’t really matter. I just wrote a song with Phil. I listen to Phil’s music when I workout and when I worship. I sing my head off at his concerts; and I counted down the days till I could sneak a copy of his new album away. And Phil is just a normal guy… but when you get to work with people you love and it all clicks in place and all the stars align and you leave wanting to (ok, I did) jump up and down and say, “oh my gosh…. I can’t believe that just happened!”
Well, in my book… that’s the perfect ending to a very long day.