The Cancer Year

Last week I saw on Twitter that Matt Maher was going to be playing in Nashville.  I wasn’t sure if Matt’s recent move to Nashville would necessarily translate into concerts, so I was pleasantly surprised to already see him playing here.

When I looked into it, I saw that it was a benefit concert put on by Audrey Assad and her husband Billy for those struggling with debt incurred by medical bills.  Audrey is another great Catholic musician, and she and Billy produced an EP called “The Cancer Year” to help pay for the medical costs they incurred when Billy was diagnosed with and fought Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Today Billy is cancer free, the EP was a success, and they wanted to have a concert to help others.

I was grateful that my friends Maria and Manda wanted to go too, because I was sort of unsure what to expect.  It seemed like it was going to be a small, intimate group of people… was it just going to be Audrey and Billy’s friends?  Would we stick out?

It was worth the risk.

It was a small, intimate gathering (sixty people tops), and most of the people knew Audrey and Billy personally.  But it wasn’t a big deal that we didn’t, and I knew a lot of people there and felt perfectly comfortable.  It was a blend of Catholics and hipsters.  And it was awesome.

It was in a converted warehouse  that is now a venue with rooms of varying size.  The room we were in is actually a “member’s only” coffee shop. Who knew such things existed?

One of Billy’s friends is in Second City in Chicago and did stand up comedy.  There was beer and coffee and food.  And all the artists from the EP played — first Erin Gauvin, then Audrey, Audrey with Matt, just Matt, Audrey again, Audrey with Marshall Altman.

It was very laid-back and exactly what the night should be… just a bunch of friends hanging out and playing music.  We were standing in the back with Matt Maher for awhile, and it was no big deal — he was just a guy hanging out with his friends.  Audrey sat in front of us while Matt played – and again, it was just a girl watching her friend perform.

It was just a bunch of people hanging out and celebrating.  Except these people were professionals.

Have I mentioned that I love this town?

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