It should be known up front that Miranda Lambert and I are BFFs....she just doesn't know it yet. Seriously though, I've been a HUGE fan of hers since right after she was on Nashville Star (I didn't know Nashville Star was even a thing until after she was on it). I have every one of her albums, including her self-titled album that she released when she was in the Texas Music scene. I've seen her live more than any other artist (and I have seen a LOT of live shows) and did a meet-and-greet a few years ago.
Anyway, I'm very opinionated country music (ie "bro country" is from the devil himself), especially about her work. Her music is incredible and she has this creativity and head for business that reminds me a lot of Dolly Parton (not that I really see Miranda doing movies or owning her own theme park, but they're smart ladies when it comes to their brand and their work). And obviously we're BFFs, so there's that. I remember watching the video of her and Blake singing a duet together before they even really knew each other and watched them fall in love right there on stage. That was all well and good until The Voice happened (and again, "bro country" is from the devil). But that's not really what this post is about.
When Platinum was released I was, of course, excited, but quickly disappointed. There were a few songs that were ok, but overall I felt like there wasn't much heart...like she was going through the motions and putting out a record out of obligation. For the first time for me, her music sounded more like a job than a passion. That's a hard thing to say about your favorite artist, but it's just my honest opinion.
So when her new album, The Weight of These Wings, was announced and her first single, Vice, was announced, I KNEW we were in for some magic.
She did NOT disappoint.
This (double) album is, by FAR, the very best work she's EVER put out. I read an article that said she wrote 72 songs for this project.
I don't think creative is a strong enough word. These songs, singularly and as a whole, are so creatively pieced. It's been a long time since I've had this feeling. The feeling only true and authentically soulful music can give a person. The best word I can come up with for this feeling is inspiration.
I used to work for a small radio promotions company in the Texas Music market and I absolutely LOVED my job. It really was a dream job, even though I was at the very bottom of the food chain. Then, I had my son in the spring of 2015 and by the end of the year I knew it I was spreading myself too thin. I wanted to give all my heart and energy into these artists that I believed in and cared so much for (and still do). They were, after all, my first children. But I knew that my son would never have another mother and he was and would always be my very first priority. Besides that, I was having issues with nursing that was causing me to get sick over and over, and anyone who has worked with radio knows, there are no sick days.
I simply couldn't keep doing both.
I don't think I necessarily stopped being inspired, but I wasn't writing anymore (songs or blogs) and I wasn't playing my guitar much (something I stopped doing when I got huge and pregnant and one reason I think I ended up having to be induced at 42.5 weeks...but that's another story for another time), and I certainly wasn't going to shows anymore.
Anyway, all that to say this...this album has stirred in me something I haven't felt in a long time. I can't even really describe it, but you know it when it hits you.
I've never been one to set goals for the new year. I'm more of a "by-the-seat-of-your-pants" kind of gal, but I may have a few in mind. The first one is to start writing more. Maybe that means more blogs or maybe it means giving songwriting another go, but either way I need to be writing more. And I want to learn more. Whether it's learning more about pregnancy and birth or about making music, I want to learn.
If you haven't been inspired in a while, go find some inspiration. Maybe it'll be this record. Maybe it's taking time to listen to a sermon or your favorite CD or discovering your new favorite artist through live music or writing or simply spending time outside. Maybe there's something else you love that you haven't done in a while.
Whatever it is, do it. Be inspired. Make this world a little better this week.
Have the nerve and use your heart.
What on God’s green earth does childbirth and country music have to do with each other?
What a ridiculously random and absurd pair!
I’m sure that’s what most people will think when they see this. And the truth is, they don’t really have a whole lot in common. From a songwriter’s perspective, however, each song they write is a child of theirs. Similar to birth, some songs flow effortlessly from the heart, through the pen, and to paper. Some take days or even years to finally come together. And while no birth has ever taken years, the hard work is still there.
There really is no rhyme or reason as to why I paired the two together in this blog other than they are my two passions. Many, many years ago, before I knew anything about The Grand Ole Opry, Johnny Cash, Ms. Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe, or Hank Williams, I heard a song that changed everything. My parents are huge George Strait fans (who isn’t!?).
Whenever he released a new album it would sit there in the CD player of my mom’s car for months on end. I remember being no more than six years old when Blue Clear Sky was released and sitting in the back of my mom’s car listening to it over and over. The one song that drew me in, though, was I Can Still Make Cheyenne. I don't think I even understood what all the song was about, but I knew I felt an incredible saddness wash over me whenever it would play. I didn’t know music could hit you like that.
I guess I just never thought about making a career out of my love for music or maybe nobody told me you could even if you couldn’t sing or play an instrument. That’s probably for the best, though, because I probably would’ve bought a one-way ticket to Nashville, Tennessee the day after graduation and broke my mother’s heart. By the time I did figure it out, I was already in college and engaged to a man who is Texas born and raised.
Anyway, I ended up working for a small radio promotions company in the Texas country market, which opened me up to an entirely different world of country music. I knew who Pat Green, Robert Earl King, and Willie Nelson were, but I didn’t realize it was a different sub-genre. That job was amazing. I loved it. I got to recruit new artists who were just getting started. I got to sift through new songs and call people who shared my same love for music. It was a dream job!
Then, we had our son.
My eyes were once again opened to a whole new world.
It was a world of never-ending information. Birth videos that made you weep. Birth videos that make you cringe. All the while, learning things that just make you stand in awe of our Creator, Jesus Christ. And also, things that make you realize how badass women really are.
I’m a researcher. Some people are, some people aren’t. So, by the time we started taking our Birth Boot Camp class, I already knew most of the information. But what I didn’t know was that the spark had already been lit in me. I felt so empowered to give birth. It brought my husband and I so close, even before the birth of our son. I wanted everyone to feel this empowerment. And I very quickly realized how little couples our age knew about their options (or even that they had options!).
So, I applied, read a million books (just kidding, only half a million), watched documentaries, had the privilege of attending several births, and spent the better part of a year studying and making flashcards (that had people giving me the weirdest looks at Starbucks) so that I could become certified to teach childbirth classes.
I’m still very passionate about music, too. I no longer work at the radio promotions company, but that doesn’t mean I’ve dropped it completely. My mother says I’m part Michelle Duggar and part Miranda Lambert. The two make no sense together, but hey, that’s just me.
So will this blog be all about birth? No.
Will it be all about music? No.
Is it sure to be weird and sometimes awkward? Well, yeah, that’s life.
You just never know what you’re gonna get!
I love birth. And I love country music. No rhyme or reason. I'm not here to apologize for the seemingly opposite passions. All I know is I'm inspired by both and I've got some big dreams.