The Frog Pond in Silverhill, Alabama is a place that dreams are made of. It is exceptionally inspiring, from the chandeliers hanging in the trees to the scruffy little dogs that constantly beat a path passed our feet in hopes of getting a pat or a scratch or a tiny bit of whatever we are eating. They are well fed and well mannered dogs just looking for an afternoon snack, as we all do. The owner, proprietor is Cathe Steele and she takes the microphone at the beginning of every show, in addition to the other rules, she explains, its ok to give her dogs a snack but no chocolate and no chicken bones!
What a treat it is for those who attend, every time Sunday comes around during Frog Pond Season. You can bet there is excitement in the air. This season is about to come to a close and it feels sad.
Cheer up, its only be a few months of hot summer weather, then it will rise like a phoenix from the ashes (well not ashes but you know what I mean…it will rise or begin again for a new season).
Today can only be described as STELLAR. The line-up was what music enthusiasts’ dreams are made of. From left to right on that stage were 7 of the best the musicians around:
Molly Thomas on violin and backup vocals
Corky Hughes on steel guitar, electric guitar and anything else he can reach
Grayson Capps-guitar and vocals
Shawn Mullins- guitar and vocals
Will Kimbrough-mandolin, guitar, vocals
Cary Morin- guitar, vocals
If you worked real hard you may pull together another group somehow that is equal to these musicians but you will NEVER find one that is better!
Will Kimbrough told the story of a program he is involved with that pairs a military person with a songwriter. He was paired with someone named Cliff. Cliff was once a green beret but is now retired. He told his story and Will listened and clung to each word to be sure he framed it perfectly for a song. The song is called “Pillar of Peace”
I would love to type every word of it for you but I can't. (you can google it if you choose)…but I must share this much with you…
PILLAR OF PEACE (here is the chorus plus a little more) song written by Will Kimbrough and Cliff Richardson.
“I’ve seen the world from 20,000 feet, I’ve seen it from the bottom of the sea
I’ve thought a whole lot about what it means to be free
And I want to be a pillar of peace”
"A good man don't have to be rich
And a poor man don't have to be bad
A wise man's knowledge ain't just in a degree
If he shares everything that he can
Things don't always go my way
And life isn't all about me
But you know if we all work together
We'd all be pillars of peace"
"Life is meant to be loved
Life is meant to be lived
Life's not made for regret
Good friends and family and lessons we learn
I don't ever want to forget
no I ain't ever gonna forget."
"If we look past our differences I know we will see
A whole lot of good all around"....
As I listened to the wonderful Will Kimbrough sing these words, I looked up and saw “a whole lot of good all around” at The Frog Pond. This is what living is, this is what loving each other is all about…what Cathe Steele and Grayson Capps (joined by other helping hands) have created on this farm in SIlverhill is a blueprint for how we should treat each other and how we could find peace for the rest of our days.
Another of my favorites by Will Kimbrough was “Three Angels”…he says “everybody has an angel, I have 3”…Great song..google it, I have no doubts that you will agree.
I think of my late husband Leon and how much he loved every second that he stood on this land, talking, listening to music, watching the activities of the hula-hoop lady and getting a bite to soothe his sweet tooth at the sugar shack. When he described it to his friend, it sounded a lot like a kid explaining Disney World.
Grayson Capps is phenomenon to me. He is a master songwriter who grabs your heart as he sings about everyday things and outrageous things. It is so easy to relate to Grayson's stories and even to feel that he is telling your story. For me he is mesmerizing. It is not easy to pick one of his songs but today I pick “Scarlett Roses”.
"Watched you sail out on the ocean for land to find your dreams
Held out scarlett colored roses and threw ‘em in the ocean
they floated right on back to me”
“Scarlett roses from days long gone
Still the perfume it lingers on,
If I don’t go crazy, believe I’ll go insane
Believe I'll go insane."
I love the way Grayson Capps tells his story, there is no other like him.
Then there is Shawn Mullins, what can I say about this guy. One of my very favorite songs was penned by him, “The Great Unknown”
“It’s Friday night and I’m back again,
With my old guitar and my trusty grin
And a best you don’t come in here sign
tattooed on this heart of mine
From a dirty brown shag carpet stage
I sing my song and pace the cage
Stuck up here in the twilight zone
Staring out at the great unknown”
This song hits home for me as a musician’s mother and having seen first hand how lonely and sometimes disappointing it can be as you travel the path to gig after gig. There are also those times of jubilation that revives their beaten down soul. It is a yin and yang that tugs at your soul, yet a real musician knows music chose him or her and it is the life they are meant to live. Every musician who has gigged knows about the Great Unknown…
Another of his songs that lights me up is titled "Light You Up"
"I just wanna light you up, light you up like a fire
I just want to turn you on and take you higher..."
Thanks Shawn for your brilliant words.
Cary Morin’s song about his guitar and how he and his guitar need each other resonated with me. It is titled “Old Guitar”
“I got this old guitar, I can’t put it down
We need each other or it won’t make a sound
I feel for you in the morning when I wake”
This is true of all guitarist…my husband used to say our son Eric Erdman is married to his guitar.
There are three more musicians that were on that stage at the Frog Pond yesterday…they were support, vocal back-ups, and enhancers to all of the songs. These three are the best at what they do.
Corky Hughes is a superb musician. He can play any instrument he touches. Excuse my words but it is the only way to describe Corky- he is BAD ASS. If he is on the stage with you…you are gonna sound great!
Then there is Molly Thomas who provided back-up vocals and played her violin on every song. She knows what the song needs and she provides it. That violin of hers brings you to another place as you listen to the song, you know…Molly has lifted it higher. Thanks Molly for doing what you do best.
Last but certainly not least is the bass player (for Shawn Mullins and others)…Mr. Tom Ryan. Tom is not only the master of the bass, he is a treat to spend time with. I know the full story now of why he is called “Panda” by many. I heard it out of his own mouth. I can see it for sure, he is cute and cuddly like a panda…but don’t back him in a corner…the Bear will come out.
Nicest guy you could ever hope to meet. Tom “Panda” Ryan. Thank you sir for hanging out back stage.
So, there you have it. A day at Frog Pond is like a day of freedom, a day of fellowship and a day that will burn itself into your mind for a lifetime.
Once again I thank Cathe Steele for carving out this little piece of heaven for all of us angels.
Today I am happy as I recall the show. Life is grand….as I live in the great unknown....I see a whole of good all around.