First and foremost, even putting the pictures together to write this blog almost made me cry.
Everybody, I want to formally introduce you to two people I am so proud of I could just scream. In no particular order..
I met Kyle in 2004. Friday, February 13th. He opened for John Mayer in Kelowna, BC. While he was playing I said to my friend “it’s a shame that singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen, because this guy has no chance.” It wasn’t until afterwards, when I overheard him say he was only 16, that I was impressed. So I went and saw him a few months later when he was in Seattle (the top picture to the left). As he continued to improve on his already phenomenal music skills, I realized how wrong my first opinion had been.
Kyle is one of the most talented and driven people I have ever encountered in my entire life. Not only is he a phenomenal musician, he’s a brilliant actor as well. After he appeared on a Canadian TV show, he landed the role of Melchior in Broadway’s Spring Awakening, which he then took on the road in the touring cast. I was able to see him, and I cried. There was one part towards the end where the spotlight was on Kyle singing by himself.. and before he’d even finished his note, someone in the audience screamed “YEAH!!!” and started cheering. I cried some of the proudest tears I’ve ever cried. Then, as if things couldn’t get any better.. when I was going to the bathroom, the girls in the stalls on both sides of me were talking about how hot the guy who played Melchior was. It took everything in me not to scream “ISN’T KYLE GREAT??” but instead I just had a big smile plastered on my face.
These days he’s getting ready to be in Broadway’s HAIR. You too, right? hah.
#2. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the apple of my eye. Charles Kelley.
Many moons ago, I fell in love with Josh Kelley’s music. Josh would frequently talk about his younger brother Charles. My friend Carly, the only other JK fan with whom I was equally yoked, and I would frequently google search “Charles Kelley” in hopes of finding this allusive younger brother.
Then, he went on tour with Josh. The year was 2005. He was amazing, and to top it all off.. he was going to start doing his own thing. So this mysterious Charles suddenly had a MySpace and a face and overnight became a person. To this day, there is little I’ve ever believed in as much as I believe in Charles. He is one of the kindest, funniest, and most patient (anybody who deals with me has to be) people I’ve ever met in my entire life.
He got hooked up with my good friend Ernie, and they went on tour together on the east coast. So naturally, I went. The first time I saw Charles performing his stuff was at Joe’s Pub. We were sitting right up close, and we were eating very salty french fries. Right before Charles came onstage, I rubbed my eye and got salt in my eye.. so when Charles started singing, I had to keep clarifying that I wasn’t crying over him, but the salt.
The last time I saw Charles was July of 2006. I ventured down to San Francisco and saw Charles, Ernie and Dave Yaden. Others, too.. but those three are some of the biggest investments my heart has ever made. A little while later, Charles started talking about this side project, Lady Antebellum…. and Ernie told me a few days ago that they won two Grammy’s and John Mayer mentioned them on Twitter. Dang. It’s less of a side project for him these days… 🙂
So everybody remember to think double fondly of these two if and when their names should appear at any time in your life. I am so proud of who they are and what they have accomplished. It’s an honor to have witnessed the journeys up to this point.
ps. at one point during the initial planning of the aforementioned Ernie/Charles East coast tour, there was a rumor that Kyle was going to be touring with them. I called Charles to confirm and FREAKED OUT when he said “yeah, Kyle Riabko.” things didn’t work out… but my gosh.