We are sitting there at the front of a huge round table facing the band. Daddy and I have front row seats and we turn and smile at each other and he says, Look at that banjo player, Shea.
Yep. He's good.
You think? He starts giggling. I think he's just showing off.
I pat Dad on his arm, on his right shoulder, his upper back.
I have to write a six hundred to eight hundred word essay on Tyler Carroll. Will you do it please? Containing that kid into a certain number of words is well. threatening.
Let's look at the notes.
He started playing guitar when he was in the fifth grade but soon put it down 'cause there was nobody to play with.
Then in November of 2008, when he was a junior in high school, he saw The Marty Stuart Show beaming through his living room a clawhammer banjo played by Leroy Troy. He was seventeen years old when something, I don't know what, but something caught him to the point his Mama says, He just started recording it on the DVR and stopping it and rewinding it and playing it back. I asked him, 'Tyler, what are you doing?' And he said, 'I'm seeing where he puts his fingers.'
That was it. That's all it took for Tyler to become a bluegrass musician. An only child living amongst sugar cane and grandparents and uncles and before long, other musicians.
I stand out on the front porch, record a conversation and notice over some shoulders and down to the right Tyler is helping someone get to their car 'cause not only is Tyler a musician, a senior at a state college, an aspiring teacher, a farmer and producer of his own syrup, he is also a great guy with good manners and a gentle, sweet, old soul care for others. Where do I start?
600-800 words for this magazine.
Coming in February.
Today I am grateful for the people I meet, for a responsibility I feel toward their dreams.
Plus every now and again we have to sleep.