Don’t mind me and my goofy face… I want to share why this is my favorite shirt. And I want to share why music is so powerful and important to me. There definitely a list of musicians that have changed my life in many ways… but Ray LaMontagne and his work are very special to me. I was first introduced to his work by a sweet girl I had a crush on in a music appreciation class in college way back when I still had hair. She gave me his first album on a burned CD. Remember those? I remember liking it, but I didn’t quite get it because at that point in my life my musical horizon was very narrow. Anyway… I just want to share the songs he’s made that have been most important to me in my life, and why they have been. 1.) “Empty” - this song pulled me through the first difficult time of my life, when my mom nearly died, and I felt like it was my fault. A never ending headache turned into doctors stupidly stacking her on 15 or so different prescriptions… resulting in my mom trying to take her own life. I listened to this on repeat… sometimes all day long because it was how I felt… and knowing someone else out there understood that made me not feel alone. 2.) “Let It Be Me” - My mom finally got better, and probably most of the credit for that goes to my dad… I flunked out of college and moved back home. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. And this song… the first time I heard it… I cried instantly. Every single lyric fit my life to the T. So again… knowing someone out there understood where I was at… was beyond comforting… it was like therapy. 3.) “I Still Care For You” - this song helped me get over an unhealthy relationship, but I also think it helped me grow. I became a truck driver… and listened to this song, and this album constantly. 4.) “Burn” - I finally moved to Nashville, and this was the very first Ray song I ever learned to play and sing on my little guitar… (that I never talk about because I’m not a musician on that Nashville level). This song was very difficult for me to learn… but I did it. And it’s so genuine, and gritty, and real… just pouring out your heart on the floor… it meant a lot to me to even be able to scrape my way through it from beginning to end. 5.) “Like Rock & Roll and Radio” - This was the second song I ever learned by Ray. And the only one I ever played out in public in a venue. That was a bucket list thing for me… and after I played it, a man from Tibet came up to me and told me that he truly appreciated how genuine I was, how heart felt I sang, how I really gave it my everything… and I cried right there because all I ever wanted to do was give to someone what music gave to me… even if it was just one time. 6.) “Wouldn’t It Make A Lovely Photograph” - I’m sure you can’t tell at all where this is going… When I first moved to Nashville I knew that I wanted to do something creative with music and art. I would have loved to have been a singer songwriter… but that just wasn’t in the cards for me. But then I got a camera by accident… so last December I find myself in a hospital as my dad is having some serious surgery… and at his age having to go under is scary. I was 7 months in as a full time photographer… and I’m listening to Ray’s newest album… and the very last bit of the very last song… he belts out “Never gonna hear this song on the radio… but wouldn’t it make a lovely photograph”… and it absolutely wrecked me. Ray LaMontange just gave me reassurance… in such a specific way that it’s ridiculous. I’m doing what I’m suppose to be doing. I’m pursuing the right passion… and it’s hard as hell… but I know it’s the right thing. And not only has he helped me through the hard times, given me hope, let me know I wasn’t alone… he’s also encouraged me and built me back up. This all probably sounds insane… and I’m not sure I’d ever want him to read this “crazy fan blog post”… but if I ever could thank him… I don’t even know how I would. So long nonsensical story short… music is much more than entertainment to me. It’s likely the reason I’m still alive. It’s one of a few reasons I still believe in God, in people, in hope… and love. I hope you all are well today. Thanks for reading. I love you all.