it is well with my soul

kraussWell, yesterday was our first full day in the States. The hayfever of the flight over has morphed into a dinky-di David MacGregor-type cold, but I think it will be manageable.  While it’s fair to say that we Queenslanders by-and-large don’t really know what a winter is, it’s still been quite a contrast going from a Brisbane winter to the climes of Nashville in summer.

We walked the kilometre down the road to the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for breakfast yesterday – with our friends Glenn and Jan, we frequented the place when here in 2007, and it’s still an amazing place to visit and has great (and fairly inexpensive) food.  We over-ate, but gee it tasted good.

Last night all 10 of us (Diana, Tom & Maria arrive from Pittsburgh this evening) went to the Grand Ole Opry – a country music institution here in the USA, and the longest-running radio show in the country. It was great to do this as a family.  Imagine a 2 hour concert – in 4 sections (each sponsored by a different company, with live ads between songs) – and with about 10 different acts, and completely live – including square-dancers – you’ve got the Opry.  If you intensely dislike country music, don’t go.  I happen to like a reasonable amount of it!

The final quarter (sounds like an AFL game!) was the best.  It started with Vince Gill coming on stage just with acoustic guitar and singing with that beautiful voice of his.  I like his music, having heard him in “bluegrass mode’ two years back at the Ryman.  He introduces a trio called The Whites – they mainly sing traditional stuff and have superb harmonies.  If you have the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack, you’ll know them from there.

Final act for the night – Alison Krauss (see photo from last night – thanks Jeremy).  She and Robert Plant did a duo album last year which won a major Grammy earlier in 09.  Alison Krauss is near the top of the pile when it comes to country music royalty; having started out quite young.  She has the most pure and beautiful of voices.

From time to time I hear and sing songs that really move me: three years back it was A Place at the Table at Iona; a week back – three guys from church singing The Water is Wide.  This evening, it was Alison Krauss, along with the Whites and simple guitar (and often acapella) singing that classic American gospel hymn – It is well with my soul.  They actually held hymnals as they sang.  It was so, so beautiful – a rendition I’ll remember a long, long time.  Undoubtedly the highlight of the evening, and one of several “gospel”-flavoured songs throughout the night.

I might be cursing the thought of a cold upon arrival in this country, but it lifted the spirits to hear someone sing It is well with my soul.

Blessings.

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