For me there was an oddly redemptive quality to the entire night. When I was a young guitarist-pup, it was known as Hoster Brewing Company. It was exactly that too; huge, two-floor brewing vats took up a majority of the space closest to High Street, and the rest of insides were a restaurant and bar that featured live music on weekend nights. For what it’s worth, they also had just about the best beer-cheese soup on earth.
One summer night in 1991, several of my relatives from out of town had come to see me (and SFB’s own Tim Perdue), performing with an R&B/Funk band. My rowdy, Greek relatives begged us to play one of my original tunes, but the band leader said no. He didn’t care for the song and didn’t think it fit the band’s image. On a set break, several of the musicians and I crept back onstage and did the song anyway, which although well-received, resulted in my unceremonious (but probably justifiable) firing two days later.
Since then Hoster closed and became a few different restaurants over the years, all of which were visited by me and my courthouse coworkers. Still, every time I dined there, the unfortunate memory of that experience in 1991 would return to me, much as it did on October 1st when I walked into High Line to set up my gear.
I couldn’t help but notice, though, that the overarching theme of the wedding, present in some form in each speech from wedding party members, was how sharing life experiences with the family and friends we love so much is really the only thing that matters when you get right down to it. I was so moved as I listened to the matron of honor, the bride’s older sister, recount that their family’s togetherness during all of their major life-events was the best thing she could have ever experienced in her life. Even if the events had been sad, it was clear that she wouldn’t trade that togetherness for the world.
That stuck with me as we took the stage for our sets. The crowd were dancing machines, and we had another amazing night, beyond any doubt. Even the many diehard Clemson alums were occasionally drawn away from the game on the special TV that had been set up, just to join the dancing throng for a number or two. (And the Tigers won, so even better!)
Every experience I’ve had in music led me to end up with the amazing bunch of people that comprised Sharp Circle and now Scarlet Fever Band, and I am eternally grateful that I get to bask in their talent for a few hours, a couple nights per month. Every life experience, good and bad, that the bride and groom had in their lives led them to find each other and begin their new life together.
If I had a glass in my hand right now to raise a toast, I’d do so for Matt and Maria, to celebrate their future together. I’d do so for all the couples who have allowed this band to be part of their most special evening. And, I’d do so for the eight other people who make up this band—2016 is winding down for us, but 2017 will find us back at it, making lips smile, making feet dance, making memories for all the paths of togetherness we encounter. Cheers, everyone.