Musings from Moon River 2015

Via @DrewHolcomb’s Instagram.

I love music.

I love how it can strike a chord in the hearts of its players and partakers and allow them to put their arms around the tidal wave of emotions they grapple with on a daily basis.

Music helps us better cope with our story and find hope in the hurts.

Yesterday I attended the Moon River Music Festival, an idea dreamed up by Drew Holcomb of Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors with the goal of bringing people together through the medium of music.

“Music makes you feel joy, hope, and sorrow … all at the same time,” Drew said before bringing out all the acts from the day for a 40-person jam session cover of The Band’s “The Weight” to close the festival.

It was the perfect capper to an evening that was built on bringing people together to connect to something bigger than themselves through sweet tunes.


Via @DrewHolcomb’s Instagram.

I think you know you’ve experienced something profound when it still stirs within your soul the next day.

So as I was riding back to Nashville on Sunday and mentally preparing for the week ahead, I couldn’t help but revel in what I’d experienced. I really couldn’t put my finger on what made the festival so neat to the point it rocked my soul.

Maybe it was Cereus Bright, some of my friends from Knoxville, who helped kick off the afternoon with a taste of “a thousand delights” through their silky sweet folk tunes.

Maybe it was in Colony House’s punch-you-in-the-face, pluck-your-heart-strings rock-n-roll’ing that won me over.

Colony House rocking the Shell.

Maybe it was in Judah & the Lion’s wild and crazy flailing about the stage as they beat on drums and covered R.Kelly’s “Ignition,” all while ushering the audience in with “folk music you can grind to.”

Or maybe it was in Switchfoot and Jon Foreman’s lyricism and showmanship that struck so deeply within my soul. I experienced so much joy as Jon Foreman belted “Gone” and and acoustic versions of “Meant to Live” and “Dare You To Move” … songs that helped me to find purpose, meaning, and hope in my story as I questioned God and His goodness as an depressed and defeated teenager. And because when I sang “We want more than this world’s got to offer,” on Saturday, I meant it. I want more than this world’s got to offer. I think we all do. And it’s moments like that when I can scream no louder with my hands held no higher that I find the tranquility that is so uniquely found in music.

Or maybe it was when Needtobreathe took the stage and led us through their story of redemption and reconciliation — telling of the struggles and victories of making their latest album “Rivers in the Wasteland.” We danced (“Girl Named Tennessee”), we worshipped (“Multiplied”), and ultimately, we sang and gloried in the reality of redemption (“Wasteland,” “Brother”).

Or maybe it was in the moment as Drew Holcomb covered “Moon River” in the dark before inviting his neighbors back onstage to jam to “Fire And Dynamite” as confetti streamed throughout the crowd.

These are the moments that give me hope of goodness on earth. Music is medicine, and our souls were fed on Saturday.

Or maybe it was in the wonderful friends I got to sing and dance and grin and laugh with.

Or maybe it was all of it.

Regardless of what made it stick with me, I’m grateful I experienced a little piece heaven in Memphis on August 15, 2015.

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