Celebrating the music that sparks your soul
Builing stronger connections between fans, and the music they love

When you have a passion for music, the songs and artists you love become a defining part of your life. You don't just listen to music you feel it. And because you've experienced music on an emotional level you want the rest of the world to feel it in the same way.

The Stories

Our relationship had been bad for a long time. No matter what I tried, she just wouldn’t respond. So I decided to draw a line in the sand. I suggested that we separate while we figure this out. I had made a promise and intended to keep it, but she decided that we needed to get divorced. The hardest part was watching my two kids try to make sense of it at ages 8 and 4. I knew it was going to be difficult, but I had no idea just how bad things would get.

In the middle of this messy divorce is when I met the woman I’m married to now. And I know it happened fast. But I wasn’t looking for a relationship and I would’ve never imagined that I’d fall in love again so quickly. When everyone realized that I was in a new relationship the narrative suddenly changed. Now they were all convinced that I was leaving my wife for another woman, and that just wasn’t the case. I mean, I was even asked to leave my church.

The thing is, when you hear about all these people around you saying this stuff over and over again. At some point it seeps it’s way into your head. And even though you know it’s not true you begin to think, or ask yourself, “am I really an awful person?” That’s where I was when I head Chris Tomlin’s song “Whom Should I Fear (God of Angel Armies)”. It hit me hard and made me realize that even if I had made mistakes, even if I should have handled things differently, “The God of angel armies is always by my side”. Not on my side, but by my side. And even though things aren’t good right now, there is a path for me, and in the end it will work out for the good. That’s a difficult idea to hold onto when you’re in the middle of emotional turmoil. That song continues to take me to a place of peace no matter how bad things seem to get.

Eric Caldwell

It was a sink or swim moment in my life, I felt like this was gonna make me or break me, and I damn sure wasn’t gonna let it break me.

When I was 21 my mom died of cancer. Before she passed away she told me “you gotta keep going, because life goes on”. Those were the three hardest words I’ve ever heard, life goes on. During that time my dad was telling me to keep making music. I think he figured if I focused on music, it would keep me on the right path and probably keep me out of trouble.  He had been focused on caring for my mom for months and never let me or anyone else know that he was in the middle of his own battle with cancer. Exactly two months after I buried my mom I had to bury my dad. It was like he lost his will to live when she died. You hear about that kind of thing happening after a spouse dies. I just didn’t think it would happen that quickly.  

After losing both of them I could feel myself slipping backwards, I remember visiting their gravesites and repeating over and over, life goes on, life goes on.  And I was like, this is it, I refuse to let this break me. I had to start looking to the future, I mean yesterday’s gone and tomorrow’s near, right?  I didn’t have any siblings and my extended family was spread out in different places, so it was just me and my music. Writing and listening to music became a sort of therapy for me. I’ve always listened to a lot of different kinds of music, From Robert Johnson to Nirvana to Jack White and John Prine. 

As much as I loved Nirvana and the deep words Kurt Cobain wrote. It was just too depressing and I didn’t want to find myself getting too trapped in it. I didn’t want to get stuck in my own head and obsess over the situation in a negative way.  With Jack White it was about the expression behind the music. I mean the White Stripes was a two person band. They didn’t go looking for more, they did without, and did a lot with it. And that’s how I related to it, I can do a lot with what I’ve got right here, you know? But, I’d have to say John Prine was the one who really spoke to me. His words don’t get lost in complex musical structure, he keeps it simple and the focus is on the lyrics, the story, the point he’s making. His incredible poetry and expression can be shared and understood today just as much as when it was written 30 or 40 years ago.  When I heard the line “For if heartaches were commercials, we’d all be on TV” after my parents passed away, it really hit me hard and stuck with me.  I mean we all got heartaches, just some commercials are longer than others. One of my biggest heartaches is that my parents never got to see me play, but I’m sure they’re seeing it now, wherever they are.


[Eric Caldwell started playing guitar around age 12. In his early 20’s he turned to playing music as a form of therapy when, first his mom, and then his dad were diagnosed with cancer.  “I was in a little band, and we played a couple of dive shows, house parties and stuff. It really helped while they were ill.”  After losing both of them when he was just 22, he put more of his energy into writing music as a way to keep himself, and his life on track. “I could feel myself slipping backwards, toward a dark place, I knew I had to keep focused on the future.”  The influences of Jack White and John Prine along with his life experiences began finding a way into his songs. During this time of grieving and focused attention on songwriting he found his own unique voice and developed a style that expertly blends and bends musical genres . As his solo act progressed, he booked a small tour taking him to New York, Chicago and Nashville.  Last year Caldwell began assembling a band, The Cruise Control to build on his solo sound. Just as they were gaining traction, Covid-19 hit and essentially stopped them in their tracks.  Since then, they’ve been writing, recording and anxiously awaiting the re-opening of live music venues.  So keep an eye out for Eric Caldwell and The Cruise Control, a band poised for a swift and strong return to live performances.]

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Band Perry fans

When I first moved to Birmingham one of my friends introduced us. Three months later we were married. 45 years later, my dear husband passed way. You can imagine how difficult it was for me. He was my life, and I felt lost without him.

About a year later I went to a country music festival in Nashville. I didn’t really know that much about country music. I mean I had heard of Hunter Hayes and a couple of others. But that was the first time I had ever seen or heard The Band Perry. The very next day I went out and bought everything I could find by them and instantly fell in love. The one song I really connected to was “If I Die Young”. I was still grieving the loss of the love of my life. That one song made such a difference. It helped me express my sadness, and ultimately helped heal my soul.

If I die young, bury me in satin

Lay me down on a bed of roses

Sink me in the river at dawn

Send me away with the words of a love song

The Band Perry
Avett Brothers fans

One of things I like most about the Avett Brothers is that their lyrics really hit me, hit me in a way that sometimes reveal emotions that I don’t even realize are affecting me. They put into words what I can’t.

They change up the set list for every show so you never know what to expect. At the end of 2018 I saw them in Charlotte. When Scott came out for the encore he began to count it off, “and a two, and a three, and a four”. I instantly felt my emotions take over, fell into my seat and started balling. I guess maybe I realized there had been a problem on a subconscious level, but it wasn’t something I thought much about or analyzed. That entire year had been a particularly lonely one. It wasn’t that I was alone. I had friends, great friends. I had my family. I was just going through a season of growth in my life. Trying to figure out what I really wanted. And when they played “The Perfect Space” it was like a light bulb turned on. I couldn’t believe that in that moment, a song could make me understand what I was going through when I wasn’t even thinking about it.

I wanna have friends that I can trust,
that love me for the man I’ve become not the man I was.
I wanna have friends that will let me be
all alone when being alone is all that I need.
I wanna fit in to the perfect space,
feel natural and safe in a volatile place.

I needed people in my life that could grow with me. And maybe it was time to say goodbye to the ones that don’t get that. It was about to be a new year, a time to look forward not back, a time for a change.

With everything that’s been going on this year; coronavirus, rioting, murder hornets, political divide, and so many people struggling. I keep think of that song by REM, It’s the End of the World as We Know It. But it’s the next line that I really love, “and I feel fine”. I mean there’s always gonna be something… until all of the sudden there’s nothing. But until that time comes, I’m just not gonna worry about it any more than I have to. It’s a matter of your perspective and how you choose to deal with it.

I think the first U2 song I really connected with was the live version of Gloria from Under a Blood Red Sky. I had those thoughts, like so many kids going through that awkward stage in life. No one understands me, I’m different than everyone else. Their music made me fell like, it’s gonna be OK, made me believe that I’m gonna find my way through this, gave me faith that I could figure this out.

But for us it’s more about the whole experience, not just one song. We’ve both been U2 fans since before we met over 30 years ago. And while there is a focal point, something we connect to in each album and each tour. The way we connect evolves over time. The Joshua Tree was our moving into young adulthood album. We were growing up and we could sense that there was more of a purpose behind the songs than some of the other music we were listening to. Then during the Zoo TV tour, we became even more aware about what was going on in the world. That tour made us think more globally and how we fit into this puzzle of affecting change to make it better. And still today, all these years later, they continue to shed a light on social issues and inspire us in so many ways.

For much of my youth I was forbidden to listen to rock music by my stepmom. I was finally allowed to listen to the radio when I was 10 or 11, and that’s when I heard Bruce Springsteen. I immediately connected to his songs because he was singing about getting out, getting away, which is exactly what I wanted to do. I lived in a lot of different places when I was a kid, I went to 22 different schools growing up. I was always really small for my age, but I had a BIG mouth. That combination got me beaten up quite a bit in school. On top of that, when I was at home I was abused by various stepparents. So when I heard “Born to Run” that day on the radio it really spoke to me. As I discovered more of his music I recognized that he wasn’t just singing about getting away, but also about possibility, the possibility that you can be better than your origins.

To me the song “Badlands” is the perfect example of what he does. It’s all about the struggle of working hard but not necessarily getting anything out of it. I mean we all want to do work that rewards us. Then the song explodes into this anthemic chorus that says, hey, I’m gonna do something really special with my life. That has always stuck with me ever since I heard it as a kid. Bruce Springsteen opened my eyes to a whole other kind of music that I didn’t know existed, and for the first time, I found poetry in rock music.

Bill Foster is an award winning photographer best known for concert and music festival imagery.
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“It was the most difficult decision of my life. Change is never easy, but it’s especially painful when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something for so long that it nearly becomes the entirety of who you are.

I had been with the sign language interpreting program at a christian college since it started over 25 years ago. Jenny and Amy, two of my former students joined the staff about 10 years later. and would become my closest colleagues and best friends. We were three like minded women, all of faith, all with a passion for not only training high quality sign language interpreters to serve the deaf community, but preparing our students for life. When they came on board they helped me continue developing the program into something we were extremely proud of. It was a rigorous curriculum, focused on quality teaching and high expectations. But just as importantly, we provided the support our students needed to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. Our classes were all girls most of the time. They were, at times very emotional. They would confide in us, sharing personal struggles they didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone else. From common problems with self-image and self-esteem, to more serious issues like rape, pregnancy and sexual orientation, we would support them in every possible way. I couldn’t imagine a better, more rewarding life.

But, when troubling issues began to arise, the administration was unwilling to make changes. My concerns and suggestions were ignored. After a couple of years I realized I had to make a heartbreaking choice. Stay, and sacrifice the quality and integrity of the program we had nurtured for so long. Or leave the program I had raised like a child, leave my colleagues who had become my family, leave what was for so long the perfect job. After weeks of reflection and prayer it was clear, I had to start over. Jenny, Amy and I all knew, without saying a word that the program, and our lives would never be the same. In the following weeks the college president and administration made the transition extremely difficult. I couldn’t believe after all the years we had dedicated to this program we were being mistreated and manipulated like this. In the midst of all the strife, heartache and suffering, Jenny sent us ‘Burn the Ships’ by For King and Country, and said, ‘this is now our song’.

The first time I listened, I heard the words, ‘Burn the ships, cut the ties, Send a flare into the night, Say a prayer, turn the tide, Dry your tears and wave goodbye’. I felt the loss, the sadness, the end of this part of my life. And I began to cry thinking about everything I was leaving behind. I’d listen to that song over and over for weeks, just as I’m sure did Jenny and Amy. For me starting over meant taking a job 500 miles away and re-focusing my attention on an important, personal relationship. The first 6 months were difficult. But when I came back to the song, the message had shifted. ‘Step into a new day, We can rise up from the dust and walk away, We can dance upon our heartache’. It became more about hope and possibility. After all I’d been through, I was able to move on, move forward, be happy again. And still today, a year later, when I hear that song it means even more to me, it reminds me that I couldn’t have gotten to this point in my life without the struggles I’ve endured. I feel like it’s a song that will be with me forever, reminding me of the past and evolving with me as I look toward the future.”

You go to Avett Brothers shows to not just see the band and listen to the songs, you go because you’re chasing something. For some people it’s a song or a feeling. But for even more people it’s the connection they make with other fans. You get to hear and share stories about about how the music has changed and shaped so many peoples lives. My story? Well, I was in a relationship for almost three years when I asked my girlfriend to marry me. She said yes! We were so happy and excited. But just a few weeks later she changed her mind and ended up leaving me. That experience really kind of warped my perspective on love, and the world. It hit me hard and for the better part of 2019 I was pretty miserable. But I was blessed to be an Avett Brothers fan and have their music in my life. “I Wish I Was” helped me realize that it didn’t matter how much I loved her, she wanted me to be something different. And you know, I wish I could be different in some parts of my life. But I’m just me, I’m just a man, all I have is my love. And I wish I could have given her more, but I gave all that I had.

Deadhead

Yeah, maybe you have to go to work everyday to take care of your family, pay your mortgage and be responsible. But at least you have the ability a couple times a year to go out and be part of a scene that’s very different from your normal, stress filled life. That’s a really important part of why a lot of people came to Dead shows back in the day and come to see Dead & Co. and Bobby’s shows now. When the music starts, and you’re really into it, and you’re dancin’, and you’re feelin’ it. You’re not thinkin’ about who you owe money to, who owes you money and things like that. You forget all about the stuff in life that gets you down and depressed.

And when we all give ourselves to the show it becomes like this group meditation. There are thousands of people all moving to the same feeling, the same vibrations, the same energy. For a few hours we’re all completely inside of the music. And all our problems? We can worry about them later. It’s a very necessary thing for a lot of people.