A Nashville story: About ten years ago, one perfect April evening in Nashville, a beautiful engagement dinner was celebrated in our home. After dinner, as the guests still sat at their tables, a longtime friend of the bride, Marcus Hummon (who needs to update his website), sat down at our piano (perhaps the highlight of the instrument’s long life) and said he’d been inspired by the bride to write (with collaborators) the song he was about to sing. By the time the song was over, many of the 40 or so people listening were all weeping — not only because of the moving performance, but because we recognized the back-story attached to it. In the decade since, Marcus has written a string of hits for the Dixie Chicks, Sara Evans and others, but I’ve always wondered what happened to the song he sang that night.
For the past week, I’ve noticed that, at the iTunes store, the #1 country music song purchased and down-loaded day-after-day has been Bless the Broken Road, the song Marcus sang that night a few feet from where I’m blogging this. And while I’m sure Rascal Flatts fans love their slick (if my daughter weren’t such a fan of theirs, I’d say shmaltzy) performance, I still hear the song in my mind the way it was performed that long-ago evening by Marcus, alone at the piano. No doubt, it will be sung in the future at hundreds thousands tens of thousands of wedding-related gatherings. Others may grow tired of it, but I’ll be thinking of the couple for whom it was sung when I heard it first.