My tastes in music are eclectic, but I’ve always professed that my two favorite musical talents are Randy Stonehill and Terry Scott Taylor, both of whom I grew to love when I was in college. Randy, who goes back to the very early days of contemporary Christian music in the 1970s, is a singer-songwriter. Terry is the focal point of two overlapping bands, one called Daniel Amos (also known as DA) and the other called the Swirling Eddies, and he’s in a third band, Lost Dogs, and also releases solo albums. I still remember going with friends to see Randy Stonehill and Daniel Amos as a double bill in, I think, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, while a student at Oral Roberts University.
Two or three years later, when I was a senior in the spring of 1984, I was vice president in charge of student activities for the ORU Student Association. Our concert chair, Mike Rapp, brought in Randy on a double bill with Mark Heard (another favorite of mine, who died tragically young). I’ve told this story before, but I’m telling it again. I intended to sit next to Randy at the after-concert meal, and meet someone who was already one of my musical heroes.
Well, Randy ended up going through one of those airport-hell trips on his way to Tulsa – delays, missed connections, everything that could possibly go wrong. He arrived exhausted. Then, we had to tell him that, because of an arcane ORU rule, we wouldn’t be able to hand out flyers for Compassion International, a worthy charity with which Randy was closely affiliated and which he promoted at all of his concerts. Randy probably had every right to object or make a scene. He didn’t. He was the perfect gentleman. He gave a great concert – I guarantee, no one in the audience had any idea how tired he was – and stayed down front afterward to talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him. He behaved exactly as you would hope a Christian artist would behave. It’s so nice to meet one of your heroes and have them live up to your high expectations.
Needless to say, and quite understandably, he didn’t stick around for the after-concert dinner, and so I didn’t get the chance to have any sort of conversation with him. I met Mark Heard, and asked him a question which I realized as soon as I heard it coming out of my mouth was ridiculously stupid.
I saw Randy one other time in concert, a few years after college, when he was at the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. I only saw DA in concert that one time.
OK, let’s jump to 2011. After not having toured in years, DA books a few dates, including one in Smyrna. Smyrna! But they failed to check with me on the scheduling, and managed to book the concert during one of the two weeks that summer when I was at Camp Cumberland Pines at Mountain T.O.P.’s Adults In Ministry program. By a strange coincidence, my roommate in camp that week was devoted Mountain T.O.P. volunteer “Smitty” Smith, a member of the very church in Smyrna where DA was performing.
Now, it’s 2013. Randy Stonehill was scheduled to appear May 18 and 19 at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville as part of the “One Way Experience,” a sort of CCM nostalgia event also featuring Chuck Girard, Michael Omartian, Evie and The Archers. For my birthday, my wonderful sister, Elecia, gave me a ticket to the May 18 concert….
… which has now been cancelled, for some unannounced reason.
I can’t win.