What an amazing week we had here at the Nashville Jazz Workshop, working with my very dear friend and musical soul sister, Donna McElroy! We had been trying to plan a return visit and performance to Nashville for quite a while, and it finally happened August 29th, 2015. The last time Donna performed at the Workshop was in 2007. So it was definitely time for her to revisit and do what she does best . . . PERFORM!
A few days before the concert we began to carefully plan our sets for Saturday night’s performance, and in an unplugged duo setting, we recorded and video’d seven original songs: “Nothing’s Second to Love,” “Why Can’t We Live Together,” “Just Your Smile,” “No Hallalujahs,” “While Morning Waits,” “Let Me Waste No More Time,” and “I Like Being in Love.” Donna’s voice was in the best shape I’ve heard in many years. She was clear as a bell and effortlessly executed all the licks and phrasing she wanted to do. It was perfect in every way!
The night of the performance was filled with excitement, not only from us but also from Donna’s many fans. They saw a show they will never forget. From the downbeat, Donna stepped into the most beautiful light and was totally in her body. We were a little nervous the first few tunes, but then it started to click.
Donna was passionate, beautiful, soulful, very funny, and most entertaining. She told wonderful stories, some funny and some heartfelt. I was so proud to be beside my musical bestie that I could hardly breathe. Plus it’s always a little nerve wracking when you have three great pianists sitting directly behind you: Beegie Adair, Jeff Steinberg, and Derrick Lee. YIKES! The room was filled with “Who’s Who” in the music business, along with many awesome students and instructors from the NJW.
Donna and I have always had an amazing trust with each other on stage, and it was great to feel, after 20 years, that it was still there. I could feel that both of us were channeling each other so much that I knew her every move and every breath. I know I have never felt that “in tune” with any other singer – maybe because Donna and I have written so many songs together. But whatever it is, it fills my soul and certainly heals my heart.
We also had a great band with us: Marcus Finnie, Roger Spencer and Don Aliquo. We only had a two-hour rehearsal before the show to run through everything, but it felt as though we had played together for years.
I am very thankful that Donna made the trip to Nashville, and I am also very thankful that so many people were able to experience our joy. Thank you Donna.