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The Long Way Home - Shawnee Kilgore

I drove all night to reach Austin for the first time, and did so by Google Map directions written on a yellow pad of lined paper before I left LA.

Looking back I have no clue how I got here, as the last few hundred miles were on the farthest of back roads, 50 mile stretches at a time to the next fading sign indicating a turn that only marginally matched what I had written. If I went the wrong way it would be a real long time before I found out.

I’ve done a lot of reckless things in my life, but sleeping in my dark car on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere/the night didn’t feel smart even to me so I pushed on. I had called my mama at 10:30pm and told her I was almost there so not to worry. That felt like an eternity ago.

It was starting to get light when I finally saw a small sign on the side of the road that said Austin, 70 miles ahead. Eliza Gilkyson’s song Coast was playing and I realized how few chances I ever made to watch the sun come up anymore. I pulled over and turned up the song, left the car door open and wandered out into this strange and peaceful new world to breathe in the waking day. I didn’t know what was coming, but damn I felt the beauty.

Sometimes we don’t get to know until we look back on a moment just how transformative it was, the new wings of a heart that began in that breath and strengthened with each that came after, a golden thread from there to here, always leading home.

That was November of 2010 and my gratitude for the beautiful community that has welcomed me here is overflowing. I work hard, I watch my friends work hard, and at the beating heart of it all is love and music. That’s something special. That’s something real.

I can’t wait to share a night of love and music with Butch Hancock on February 9th and we hope you’ll join us.

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