Wonderment of Growth

Carter Age 2
Most children the same age as my own more than likely spent snow days playing video games, coloring pictures, or playing with favorite toys. Which my children also do, but many hours of these snow days, for my oldest son, Carter, have been spent with a musical instrument in hand (bass/guitar). For him, I guess that would be considered his favorite toy. He has been practicing chords that his dad recently taught him. Recently meaning, the day before yesterday. I have to admit, it’s been kind of nice to hear some sense coming of those instruments considering that for the past seven years it's mostly been beating and banging. The reason being, Carter has chosen a guitar over toys since before he could walk. It’s pretty amazing to be a witness to talent coming to life in your children. It’s all in all a pretty special gift that God gives us parents. We get to be witnesses to our children’s gifts, watching them grow and develop the things they are good at. No matter what the talent might be, it’s just a special thing watch it unfold into something beautiful. That is if us parents take the time to stop, and in my case, listen to the music.

Carter at age 8

An Influence for Generations

Tucked away in the quiet little community of Allons, TN, lives one of The Garrett family's living legacies. Edwin Garrett, or more commonly known as Grandad to the family, was born in Overton County, Tennessee, as he says, way back in 1933. I am guessing back then Edwin had no idea what an influence his love for Christ and music would make on his family throughout several generations. For years, Edwin has been a staple in the Allons community as a deacon at Allons Baptist Church, a beloved retired school teacher, elected official, a legendary storyteller, a warrior for Christ, cherished friend to many, farmer, and music lover and entertainer, among many other things. To his family he is simply Grandad and always a loving tender hearted man willing to give a listening ear and a good word of advice to any of us in need of such a service. Edwin is where much of the Garrett family tree has gained it’s passion for music and it's nothing out of the normal for the family to set around listening to his stories or picking up guitars and jamming to old gospel tunes. So this, folks, is where the dream all started….way back in 1933. Not because it was planned or sought after, but just because music and love was rooted in the very heart of the Garrett family clan.

I asked Grandad if he would take part in a little interview and he graciously accepted and the results of that interview went something like this.

Can you tell me a little about your background in brief detail?
I attended a one-teacher school, Cedar Grove near where I was born. We walked to school and enjoyed playing games that we "made up." My parents Ove and Booz Garrett and Maxine, my sister, lived in the house where my dad and his dad were born. It was built by Arture (Arter) Garrett who was my great grandfather.

Where, and when did your love for music show up?
So far back I cannot remember. My mother said I would hum the tune to songs before I could talk.

What kind of effect has music had on your life?
It has influenced me in many ways. I am inspired by good Gospel and Country music and learn something from almost every song I sing or hear.

Can you imagine your life without music?
I cannot imagine that. It's so much a part of everything I think and do. I find a song title in almost every phrase I see written or hear spoken, even in your blogs.

How important has music been to you throughout the years?
It lifts me when I'm low, solaces me when I'm sad, and comforts me when I'm alone.

What style of music do you prefer over most others?
Old Country & Gospel.

Do you remember the first song that you fell in love with?
We had an old RCA Victrola and some Carter Family records that I listened to a lot. But I guess the first song I fell in love with was "The Great Speckled Bird" by Roy Acuff. Then when I was around 18 years old Hank Snow, the Singing Ranger, released "I'm Moving On" and I fell in love all over again.

Whats your favorite instrument(s)?
Well, the guitar is the only one I play so that would have to be my favorite. If I could play it, the fiddle would probably be the one I would choose.

Whats your favorite song right now, and why?
It's really difficult for me to pick one song above another because they all touch me in different ways. Recently I ran across a copy of the old Gospel song "I Won't Have to Cross Jordan Alone." What a powerful melody and lyrics it has!

What other musicians have influenced, and inspired you on your musical journey?
Earnest Tubb, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, and Hank Williams, and the two great singing cowboys from the movies, Roy and Gene.

As a retired public educator what are your thoughts on music in the public education system?
That's an easy question with a simple answer--not enough. As a teacher I used music to teach almost every subject, especially history. Ask a few of my former students about me and they'll almost always say, "Oh yeah, he used to sing 'The Battle of New Orleans' all the time." There was always music in my school. I've said for years that there is so much musical talent in these hills, and it should be developed more in our schools.

You and your wife Peggy have celebrated how many anniversaries together?
We have celebrated 55 happy years together, and on February 13, 2011 we plan to celebrate another.

How has your wife influenced your musical journey?
Peg has been my strongest supporter and greatest critic. She also gave me the greatest compliment I have ever received although I cannot relate it here.

What do you think about your grandsons, Stephen and Russell's career paths in the music industry?
I am very proud of them. They both seem to be where they want to be at this point in life. They are both talented young men and I predict they will go far in music.

Your legacy has grown quite large, and now spans several generations. How does it make you feel to know that you have passed down such a passionate love for music to your children, grandchildren, and now your great grandchildren?
I am greatly humbled by the fact that I have been able to perform with my children and grandchildren, and, hopefully, my great-grandchildren sometime very soon.

Any advice or stories you would like to share to wrap up this interview?
My advise would be to follow their dreams as far as they take them and keep singing and writing songs just as long as you have one in your heart. Stories? Far too many to tell here.

*Photo credit to Terasa Lewis

The Dream

The history behind the idea of this blog goes a little something like this. Since I was around the age of 14 years old, my life has been surrounded by music. Introduced to music by my, then boyfriend and now husband of ten years, Stephen Garrett. My husband’s family are all pretty much musically talented with the exception of his Mother, Lounetta (whom I have heard rumors she has a hidden singing voice, but I have never actually heard her sing). She is however the heart and soul of her family's support bracket. I have much to learn from her abilities to bless her family with so much selfless support. Her face always lights up and she has this beaming glow of pride about her when engaged in conversation about the musical talent in her family tree. Marty Garrett, her husband and a talented songwriter in his own right, and both of her sons Stephen and Russell all possess this musical gift that I Swear is written into this family's DNA.

Both Stephen and Russell have found themselves in Nashville, TN digging out their own little niche in the music industry. A process that is both exciting, challenging, and not without its sacrifices. This blog is about all of it. It’s about the pretty little melodies written into the lives of the Garrett Clan. It’s also about the legacy that music is breeding into the lives of my three sons, along with the difficulties, the challenges that have come our way. Most important, it’s about making it work and chasing after the dream that has been passed down for generations. All of this from the perspective of a wife and mother who was not born into the dream, and actually has not one ounce of music talent running through her own veins, but finds herself smack down in the middle of world overflowing with musical talent. While I find myself not necessarily passionate about the lyrics, but deeply passionate about the love behind the scenes. This is our journey, our hopes, our dreams…..Welcome to Lyrics & Love a blog about music, love, and the lives that are surrounded with both.