If you're a singer or player, maybe you can relate to my dreams as a kid. Imagine it. You have your tickets to see your favorite group. You know there's a chance he might walk into the crowd, stick a mic in your face prompting you to sing a verse. Or maybe. Just maybe the keyboard player will become violently ill and they'll need you to step in and save the concert. [Yeah, I had the horn parts down for ["Trumpet of Jesus"!]
For me (in high school and college) it was Russ Taff and the Imperials. They forever changed CCM. For those of you who don't know, Russ Taff is the Steve Perry of Christian music ~ the quintessential male rock voice.
Tim Miller called Monday telling me his father, Jay Miller, had passed away early that morning. I told him how sorry I was and asked if there was anything I could do to help. He called me the next day. Russ Taff was a close friend of family and would be singing. Could I learn the songs and come play for him? Of course, I said.
It wasn't until later when this rush of embarrassed emotion came flooding over me. Instantly I felt 17 again. Not only was I going to meet Russ Taff, I was going to play for him!
Now, I've been playing and singing in front of people for 30 years. (37, if you count that whole "VonAdcock-Family-Singers" thing Mom put us through when I was 7. Probably still have the matching shirts she sewed us!) While there's always that adrenaline when you're on stage, I don't get that "fingers shaking, panicky sweaty" feeling anymore... until yesterday. It totally caught me off guard!
What an amazing service. What an amazing voice and person. Russ (we're on a first name basis now) was so warm and gracious. And still has an amazing voice. He even asked me for my autograph... well, it was more of a "name and phone number" thing. But, it's my story...
I have friends who never want to meet their "hero" because he'll never measure up. I'm proud to say, I'm glad I got to know this one.
SONGLIST: "Unto The Lamb" and "Kathryn's Song"
Russ Taff, winner of 7 Grammy Awards, member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, can be seen frequently on the Gaither Homecoming Tours and television.
UPDATE: Part of Randy Elrod's Watercooler Wednesday.