In early 2007, my wife Joey and sister my Marcy opened up a little family cafe just down the road from our farmhouse called "Marcy Jo's Mealhouse." Our slogan was (and still is): "Changing Lives, One Bite At A Time..." and I believe the restaurant does just that. It has sure changed ours.
A hundred years ago, it was a thriving general store... but now, a century later, the building is leaning hard to the south, and there are holes in the floor that keep it cold in the winter and unbearably hot in the summertime. But that old run-down place that my sister Marcy still runs is truly a little piece of heaven.
We can only seat about 45 people, and that’s if you huddle together tight. But we’ve got a big table in the back where locals get together in the mornings and drink coffee and talk about the problems and news of the world. Not so much the global news that the internet pumps to us through our computers and smartphones all the time... but the actual world that we’re part of. Our community and our neighborhood and the people and the businesses that are part of my life and I’m a part of theirs. The place where we can truly make a difference.
Over the last dozen years or so, that little restaurant has become quite a hub. A place where people can gather and meet their neighbors and at times, also meet their neighbor's needs in the community.
On my new album that comes out in June, I recorded a song about the restaurant called "Small Talk Cafe." I didn't write it, and it wasn't written about Marcy Jo's in particular, but it might as well have been. It's about a place where small town community is alive and well. Where people see each other on a regular basis and share the happenings and goings-on in their little worlds... a place much like the Mealhouse. Our little family cafe has been so well loved the past few years, there are now three locations where locals are gathering and sharing their lives, around a hot cup of coffee and a warm meal.
So we didn't have to look too hard to find the right location to shoot the music video for the song. We just carried my guitar and a couple of cameras to the bakery, turned the oven and open sign on, and pushed RECORD...
Fortunately, there was no need to look for actors either. Our community is filled with characters and people we love who regularly get together in the mornings.
Besides me at the big table that day, there was cowboy Danny and farmer Billy Hazelwood, and Dr. Theron, and Muletown coffee's Matt Johnson, and Russdriver, and our neighbor Don Lockhart, who keeps honeybees. And at the other tables were Russ's mama and sister and Sharon's daddy Max, and Penny and Les, and Danny Potter, and Kim. All of them wonderful neighbors and wonderful friends of ours. And of course, my sister Marcy and some of the family and friends who work there every day (...thank you all for being part of not just a special day, but a special place for all of us).
Small Talk Cafe was written by my buddy Wynn Varble and Steve Leslie and I think they captured the essence of what makes these little cafe's in small towns so special. It's just one of more than a dozen story songs on the new record that I'm so proud of.
Ricky Skaggs and his wife Sharon are singing the beautiful harmony parts on the recording. I'm such a big fan of theirs and am excited to not only have them singing with me on the album, but they're going to be coming to our farm and performing at a fundraiser for a local church this weekend. You can find out more info about that event here.
I'm also excited the my new album Gentle Man goes on pre-sale tomorrow morning. Stay tuned... I'm hoping to share more about that then.