NEPA Blog of the WEEK!! you say? Wow! Thank you!
Music has always filled our home. Often it’s much to my dismay, but our home is a loud one thanks to my “house band.” My husband, Jeff, plays everything and has rooms full of recording equipment, drum kits, guitars, etc., has written hundreds of songs and possesses lots of music in various formats. My oldest, Teagan, also plays everything and has a budding career as your upcoming favorite local musician, or he’ll be world famous-you just never know. My middlest, Brody, started to learn, but has too much of his mother in him-his onstage presence was abrupted by my genes which prevented any music from being easy for him. And then there’s my youngest. Last but not least, my daughter, Mollie, has been writing and performing since she was 10 years old.
Today’s blogpost will be about how my seventeen year old daughter brokered her own opportunity to record an EP in a world famous, Grammy Award winning recording studio in Nashville. Taylor Swift’s first album was recorded by Jamie Tate of The Rukkus Room, and now, Mollie Edsell’s will have been as well. She reached out to Jamie, listened to his advice, wrote, recorded, submitted her songs to him for feedback, scheduled phone calls with him, edited songs, and finally reserved studio time in Nashville. By herself. Then it was up to her stepdad and me to try to make the rest happen for her.
We treated it like a family vacation. We were missing our sons, but they were at school, and that made us feel slightly less guilty. We flew down the Saturday before Election Day 2016, and stayed in the Opryland area for a lot less money than attempting to be downtown. Our hotel was one minute from the interstates that took us downtown quickly, about 4 minutes from The Grand Ole Opry and Opryland Mall, 3 minutes from The Willie Nelson General Store and “Cooters Museum” and lots of restaurants, shops and things to do. It was a good decision to be in that area.
The next day, Sunday, we daytripped to Memphis. It is NOT close. It was about 200 miles each way on the most boring stretch of road, Rt 40. And I thought driving on 80 West in Pa was boring! But, once we arrived at Graceland, we forgot about that drive until it was time to return to Nashville that evening. It was our favorite day of the trip. My daughter and I did not enter Graceland as Elvis fans, but left his home in tears and in love. It was a wonderful experience. Our next stop was Sun Studios and my husband was now the one overcome by emotion. And our last stop was the Civil Rights Museum at The Lorraine Hotel-the site of MLK’s assassination. It was an unexpectedly amazing day.
On Monday morning, my daughter had the chance to start pursuing a dream she never really dared to take too seriously. We all remain cautiously optimistic, to be honest. We arrived at 9:30am for a 10am studio appointment, and had a chance to meet her Nashville Musician’s Union band. A super-sweet, very supportive, professional group of gentlemen who were kind and encouraging to my 17 year old kid. We loved everyone: the musicians, Jamie Tate, Joe, Nick and especially Lexi who took Mollie out that night to play around Nashville. Lexi is Lexi Lew (lexilew.com) and she’s a fantastic musician herself. She made sure my kid could say she played on Broadway in Nashville, got us free downtown parking, let her use her sound equipment, put a coat on her when it got cold outside, then gave Mollie all the money they earned. You should all buy her album on iTunes. She writes, composes, plays an instrument and sings-all the criteria met for my definition of a real musician. And she is as kind as she is talented.
Tuesday was Election Day, and Mollie’s second day in the studio. She had another fantastic day with that crew, and at night we ate a million snacks and watched CNN like it was our job. Trump won, and we found ourselves right in the middle of a very red state. With apprehension, we walked into the hotel restaurant for breakfast that next morning, and everyone there was just as upset as we were. There was a lot of wounded disbelief at the studio that morning as well. We were relieved that this was the case. It would all have been too much to bear if the mood was celebratory instead of reassuring and supportive.
Jeff and I toured the campuses of Vanderbilt and Belmont, followed in the footprints of so many of our most favorite musicians as we walked around Nashville : Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, etc. We ate in restaurants with walls adorned with autographed pictures of the greats, stopped and had drinks all along Broadway where live music starts at 10am, and had a fantastic time while Mollie got a chance to try something she’d have regretted not doing her entire life. I’ll be paying for this dream of hers for a long, long time, but I’m really happy that she has a chance to try.
Watch social media for the Release Party in 2017! MollieEdsell.com
I’ll eventually get to Seneca Lake, Part II!!