With Day Two on the approach so began the connections and the Muddy Roots fabric began its annual metaphoric and literal conversion of complimentary lifestyles and individuals. My first connection was with one half of the powerhouse duo of Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss. Sean Wheeler arrived into Nashville under cover of dusk, his super human positive vibes embodying the true spirit of the infectious musicianship which calls Muddy Roots it’s home.
After connecting with Wheeler and the man about town himself, Geoff Firebaugh the larger than life powerhouse bass engine of the local gem “Hillbilly Casino” the day wore slowly on to a close. Wheeler and I visited the Vintage Select clothing retail store of Firebaugh’s better half Tammy Pope. A corner stone two story building chalk a block full of anything and everything retro, vintage, weathered, tethered or tied. The Firebaugh RV sat ready in position for deployment alongside the building, the sun beating down against its custom spray paint 3 tone leaf camouflaged exterior – a chrome swan as the hood ornament sat glistening at the ready to guide a trio in safe passage for the days ahead.
With a reconnection with Sean Wheeler and a visit to Tammy’s shop Sean was all too eager shopper firstly be adorned with a silk apostle gold embossed lounge shirt complete with several visual cues of the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. The uncontrollable fashion connoisseur that Wheeler is we found a set of light yellow mustard pants and a matching black sport coat. The ensemble was complete and most certainly a secret until stage time.
As the day wore on Sean and I climbed aboard the Camaro and made our way through late day traffic to Hendersonville, TN to make a yearly trip and pay our respects.
A short 30 minutes later, we made the turn into Hendersonville Memorial Gardens. Like the year before – the sun was sinking low on the horizon, the grounds were quiet, and it was indeed a time for reflection. My outstretched arm and extended hand guided Sean and his lanky, swaggered shadow to find the final resting place of the man in black who had no shadow. We came to the grave of Johnny and June, scattered amongst the bronze full grave marker lettering was the familiar coins, guitar picks, lipstick marks, a white wildwood flower for her and the traditional black for John.
I couldn’t help but feel exceptionally strong energy as I watched Sean poetically sitting contemplatively against the falling sun, his eyes cast to John and June outstretched before him. With the thought of getting my camera from the car a good excuse to clear that lump in my throat I retreated and came back to the grave with camera in hand. The inscription on the CASH family bench read:
Happiness is being at peace;
Being with loved ones;
But most of all,
It’s having those loved ones.
I’ve never witnessed peace and solitude like I did that day and with a good friend like Sean Wheeler it meant that much more. We adjourned and made our way back to Nashville for the evening.