A couple of questions...
Did you know Virginia has a wine country? A serious wine country. Napa-like. Did you have any idea?
Did you know Central Virginia is full of songwriters and great musicians? This is Dave Mathews country. Did you know that?
And did you know that when you ask directions in an old two-tank gas station and convenience store outside Batesville, Virginia in the foothills off the Blue Ridge Mountains, two different people will point in two different directions?
Got a little lost heading to Rapunzel's in Lovingston, the home of the songwriting competition that draws people from all over the region. But we got there! Thirty people were finalists, including me, all the way from Chicago. It was the 12th annual event and it was a beauty. Funky old-school venue; hardwood floors, a full stage, and a backstage kitchen and closet-like green room.
Drove more than 15 hours and played for three minutes and ten seconds. But it was wroth it to hear 28 others play their hearts out, and hear many good songs, but five great songs that were simply perfect. Superb songwriters! Superb! I didn't stand a chance of winning, honestly. I figured my song - TO A BETTER DAY - ended up in the middle of the pack somewhere. There was no way of really telling this, but it kind of felt like that. So, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. The winner was a long-time favorite in the region who had always placed but never won until this night. But my favorite may have been a young lady's song, a simple heartbreaker about a broken love affair. Gorgeous.
Oh, and yes, the wine.
Lots of it. There were dozens of wineries in the area, tucked in the shadowy valleys of the idyllic Virginia countryside. And it's good wine. Very good wine. Even the wine snobs could say that.
But what brought me to the area was the music, the love of a great song, and the fact that a song I wrote for my two sons several years ago while the writer-in -residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando was being recognized.
A tip of the wine glass to Rapunzel's, Virginia, and great musical storytellers everywhere.