Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Gifted Musician

His name is Clint Lewis. He's related to me. Somehow. His grandpa was my grandmother's nephew ... or something like that. Anyway ... we share DNA. And that pleases me. Because Clint has a gift. A talent. He has found a way to make wood and string sing. A gifted musician, you'll soon be able to hear his music on my web site.

I ran into him at the reunion and said, "I've been trying to reach you!" I discovered Clint has been playing since he was basically out of diapers. They used to stand him on a stool just so he could play the upright bass. The stories passed around about him are becoming legendary. Amazing.

His family brags. They tell stories of Clint, how his timing is impeccable, how he feels the music as it flows through is fingers ... they beam. Clint is their boy. I asked ... has Nashville ever come calling? His mama gave me a resounding, "no." And hopes it never does. Clint, it seems, is married and happy, and loves his family and his life. I believe them. I see it in is face and hear it as he plays. He's at peace. You can feel it. And that's a rare thing today in men that age.

Clint makes appearances around the state, at churches, fairs, and get-togethers such as the Sample Family Reunion. He lives in a town, that by some standards, is still just an old coal town. Not much happens in the the hills and hollers around Dille. But the land lays rich in history and story. The spirits of those passed on linger in the wild woods and along the creeks that tie together these mountains called Appalachia. They hold the soul of this young man. They want to keep him near them. He is the result of their hard work, their heavy labor, and the reason they worked so hard for the land they left to him. To tell their story, through his music.

Tall, blonde-headed, and soft-spoken, his eyes smiled whenever he took off his sunglasses. A cool looking musician, he had no hoity-toity airs about him, and told nobody his name unless they asked. He is loved greatly by those who know him. He stood all day, changing instruments occasionally, and sang the songs of his childhood and his ancestors. Songs he's recorded on CDs. Down the Road and Windy and Warm. I wonder about him ... his life ... where this will eventually take him.

I can't help but feel God's call on him.

I watched his family play until late in the evening. Then, I watched him pack up his guitar, bid a few good-byes, and disappear into the darkness. It made me a little sad. I wonder if Clint knows how his music touches lives.

He's touched mine. I hope to see him again next year. Maybe meet his wife and talk more to the family about him. I wonder if this is how Vince Gill got started?

There are two who've passed on, looking over that bow of heaven. Proud and pointing out their grandson ... I'm sure Clint thinks of them often. He's dedicated one of his CD projects to them. Orval and Granny Pete are still listening, Clint. You can be sure of that.

Blessings to y'all.

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