“It’s your life. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for living it your way.” ~ Unknown
After yesterday’s recording session, Bree and Eric Chapman took me for a tour of their gorgeous corner of heaven. We came to a place so beautiful that I needed to photograph them in it. They were sweet enough to let me. The strong sunlight through the canopy would not cooperate, but I shot a few anyway. Looking through them today I found the leafy silhouettes are actually perfect for Eric and Bree. They’re the quintessential Earth God and Goddess, so why wouldn’t they be showered with leaves? They would. They are. It’s so them.
I met Eric first. It was many, many years ago – 1995-ish – when he came to the studio to lay down guitar tracks for Tangled Roots, Angie Bliss and Bruce McCain’s first band. Eric’s BFF Duane Adams, whom you met the first year of the outhouse, was the owner and engineer of the studio where we were recording Angie and Bruce’s record, and it was he who brought Eric in for the tracks. Little did we know that we were cementing a friendship that would last a lifetime, a lot of miles, untold broken strings and drumsticks, a few tears, and more love than I can tell you about.
Fast forward a few years when Eric and I found ourselves with his beautiful, gifted wife Bree, and their insanely talented son Johnny, as the supporting band for Wishing Chair. That’s when they became the Von Chapman Family. We had so much fun playing together, and it was amazing to watch Johnny, then just a teenager, hone his skills to become one of the most gifted musicians I know. It didn’t last nearly long enough. Like most bands, there eventually came a rift. It affected me so deeply that I stopped wanting to play music for the first time in my existence. That was uncharted territory for me, and a place from which I haven’t yet fully returned. Feelings of being a lousy bandmate and friend made it increasingly hard for me to put myself out there and just go play. The Chapman’s forgave me a long time ago, but I forgot to forgive myself. Now, I’m much older and extremely out of shape. It’s a serious challenge to play as well as I used to. That’s why yesterday was so monumental. Not only did I have a chance to play for Scott, whom I absolutely adore, but I had the chance to hug three people I have always loved from the bottom of my heart, look them in the eye and tell them I love them, and lay the sad state of my musicianship at their feet without feeling judged. Instead, I felt loved. I felt encouraged. I felt welcomed. I felt valued. I felt the power of forgiveness wash over me like the first warn sun of spring. I am blessed to have The Chapman’s in my life. Theirs are friendships worth all the gold in the world.