I'd be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to say how thankful I am for opportunities like this that come up in this journey. I stepped off the plane last week in Portland, OR preparing for the Willamette Country Music Festival with artists like Diamond Rio, Alan Jackson, Little Big Town and Blake Shelton only to find a text message from one of the biggest promoters in the Pacific Northwest on my phone. It read... "You're IN for Kenny Rogers." Period. That's it. No, not quite eloquent, but damn fine in spirit and "cut to the point"-ness.
I literally was Tweeting (as in Twittering) and Facebooking in the car rental line "just got asked to open for Kenny Rogers. Is hellfrickinyeah one word or three?" Over 50 comments and 120 likes later I realized the magnitude of what was just presented to me on a platter. Dude, you and your band are going to open for one of the greatest ALL-TIME country artists. I mean, a guy you grew up listening to on the portable AM radio that ran on batteries out in the fishin' boat with Mom, Dad and your brother.
Do you think I knew, (at age 5-ish) while I was casting away tryin' to keep up with the rest of 'em at a game of "whose stringer of bass was fullest", that I'd be sharing the stage one day with THAT GUY?! No way... the gravity still escapes me. It usually hits right about showtime when we (the boys from CrossWire and I) are about to step on stage. The headliner bus, limo, van, whatever pulls up and I catch a glimpse of Dwight Yoakam, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Alan Jackson or that guy (Kenny Rogers) on their way to their hospitality trailer. That's when it hits me. I have 30-45 minutes to engage an audience and prepare them for a legitimate star. No, not someone who just dresses the part or got to where they are because "daddy had some money" but literal "stars." I mean, people who ooze talent. And here I am, former high school teacher, CMT winner with a band full of talented musicians but still a kid from rural Montana responsible for flipping the switch. That, is the moment. That's the high. That's the challenge. And that, is why I love what I do.
Tonight, I'll be on stage with Paul, Ray and Brian "flippin' the switch." Wanna know how the story ends? It doesn't... but I'll try to keep you updated along the way through Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/chancemckinney), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chance-McKinney/160688966444) and Website (http://www.chancemckinney.com) if you're interested in taggin' along.