About Zach Clayton

Zach Clayton started Music Musings in 2013, but isn’t a stranger to music. While he may be a mild mannered accountant by day, he always has tunes going and forces his staff at work to play music trivia when they enter his office. He is a self-proclaimed lover of all music genres with over 3,500 songs in his iPod. Zach’s first concert was Eddie Money in Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym in 1979 and claims to have seen Van Halen (all three incarnations) over 25 times. There have only been one or two years since 1979 that Zach hasn’t been to a concert. He also has the uncanny knack of getting to know several folks in the music scene – both out front and behind the scenes. Zach is in the process of indoctrinating his two boys into the rock and roll way by exposing them to concerts and various music while holding them hostage in his truck screaming the mantra – “rap is crap!”

The Saddest, and yet Proudest Song Ever

music musings, beaverdamusa.comYeah, I’ve been gone for a while. Part of it has been writer’s block and part has been that my personal life has taken up a lot of my time and energy. You see, my parents have been ill and in and out of various medical facilities over the last few months. Like my blog host and dear friend, I am an only. So, it has all been on me

Without going into details that many of you already know, let’s just say it has been a race on which parent was leading the dementia train. Well, my father won because he passed away on April 18 due to a fall and subsequent brain injury. It is okay. I know he is in a better place and like I keep saying – “if we believe what we say we believe, it was a glorious day for him.”  Grief is for those who are left behind. In all honesty, I lost Dad about a year and a half ago when dementia took over.

To tie this event in with music, I had to pick the music for my father’s funeral. Do I pick songs with meaningful lyrics or his favorites?  In the end, I went with both and decided to have the attendees sing with us. I chose these hymns:

  • Blessed Assurance – because this is a song about hope and security.
  • How Great Thou Art – because it was one of Dad’s favorite hymns. 
  • Amazing Grace – because it is Amazing Grace. 

Standing and singing these hymns with those in attendance uplifted the entire family. It also warmed the cockles of my heart to look over and see my 85 year old mother singing these as well. It warmed my soul to see her singing these songs that she has sang for decades. 

However, the saddest, yet proudest, tune was still to come – Taps. I’ve always heard folks say that the song takes on a completely different meaning after a loved one passes. It is true. Dad was a Navy veteran of the Korean War. As part of the service, I chose to have the military honors performed at the end of the service. This included Navy personnel folding the flag in the most perfect way that had been on Dad’s casket and presenting it to Mom on behalf of the President, the Navy, and a grateful nation. Regardless of your politics it gets you. After that, taps is played. You could have heard a pin drop during the flag ceremony and Taps. 

Taps is saddest because it reminds us of death, yet proudest because not everyone gets to have it played at their funeral. It is reserved for those that have selflessly served their county. It will now hold an even more special place for me for years to come. 


P.S. – if you are interested, here is Dad’s obit. 

Only Children: We’re Not Bad, Just Misunderstood

music musings, beaverdamusa.com(Originally published in 2009)

I bet your mind immediately went to a visual of a screaming, kicking child who wasn’t getting his way and was having a “come-apart.”  Right?  Well, this entry isn’t about that, but we will explore the deep complexities associated with folks who are only children.

Hi, my name is Zach.  I am a Tennessee Squire and an only child.  There, I said it.  Some maybe saying “Oh, that explains it!” or “Wow, he is very well adjusted socially to be an only child.”  Put your seat belt on because here comes another revelation – I am an only of two onlies.   Yep – Mom is an only and so is Dad.  No aunts.  No uncles.  No cousins.  Family reunions could be held in a Mini-Cooper.  I give you this background because Momma Squire and I had a discussion the other day concerning kids being at the house that weren’t our offspring.  So, I thought it would be a great public service for me to share some insights into only children and how we think.  Maybe this is worth what you paid for it or maybe it will be a revelation that will help you break through those relationship issues with your only child spouse or it will give you something to read while you are eating lunch.  Bet you thought I was going to say reading while in the bathroom. (But are you really coordinated enough to carry a laptop in there with you?) For typing ease, I will use OC.

Only Child Time – OC’s are used to being by ourselves.  We typically think it is ok to eat alone in a restaurant.  We grew up alone and have grown like having solitary time.  Most OC’s require a certain amount of alone time each day.  Mine is early in the morning from 5:00 until it is time for the rest of the family to wake up.  This is why we get grumpy on holiday trips or vacations when there are people around us 24/7.  It is also why we will disappear during family events, weddings, etc. and our spouses will find us on the back porch or in the car.

Inappropriate Games – Please think before purchasing a game for an OC.  No, I’m not talking about Halo or Grand Theft Auto.   I am talking about two person games.  I remember receiving Candyland as a present one year – Yes, Mom was a stay-at-home Mom, but really?  Who would sit and play Candyland with me?

I also got a croquet set.  Really?  You think I would set up the hoops, sticks, and then go around the yard banging a ball with a mallet?

I also got Yard Darts (Yarts!) one year.  Use some common sense people and I’m not talking about stabbing myself in the temple with one.  That would be hard for an only child to do.  Wait – maybe Yarts could be only for only children; but I would get tired of throwing them and then having to fetch them since no one was there to return them.   Having these multi-player games actually make only children more creative.  We had to figure out how to play them or change the rules so we could enjoy them.

Touching stuff – Yes, we have issues with people touching our stuff.  I really don’t think it has to do with selfishness.  It has to do with location.  If you touch my stuff or play with my stuff, it won’t be where it was the next time I want it.  That’s why I don’t let people read my newspaper before I do.  You will probably turn it inside out, get it out of order, or the worse thing – when it is time to read the next session (yes, I have a particular order), you will have that section.  This is where the discussion with Momma Squire centered the other day.  She asked me whether I ever had folks over to spend the night with me when I was a kid.  My response – “No, because they would touch my stuff.”

Hopefully these points will help you understand OC’s.  We really aren’t bad – just misunderstood.

Zach, A Tennessee Squire and an Only Child


You Can Go Back

music musings, beaverdamusa.comNestled in the rolling hills of southern Tennessee is Martin Methodist College (MMC).  MMC is a small liberal arts four-year college connected to the United Methodist Church.  I attended Martin way back in the early 80’s when it was a two-year college before I went to UT-Knoxville.  Martin was even smaller back then with a class of less than 100.  While not offering a lot of activities, Martin offered an opportunity for close friendships to form—the kind of friendships that last a lifetime. 

Darryl Worley plays a homecoming show at his alma mater, Martin Methodist College.

Darryl Worley plays a homecoming show at his alma mater, Martin Methodist College.

It had been a long, long time since a lot of our class gathered in Pulaski for homecoming.  While a lot of us keep in touch, like most classes, a lot don’t.  Typically, homecoming announcements come and go without much attention paid to them.  Homecoming 2019 was a bit different though.  It was our class’s 35th anniversary and in addition to the usual ballgames and receptions (for old folks), there was a concert that caught everyone’s eye: Darryl Worley.

Darryl was a classmate of ours at Martin.  If you don’t recognize the name, Darryl is a country music singer/songwriter who hit the charts in the early 2000’s with “I Miss My Friend” and his largest and most recognizable hit “Have You Forgotten” about the 9/11 attacks which spent several weeks at the top of the charts.  

The funny thing about Darryl’s career is that he wasn’t one of those who constantly walked around with a guitar, singing and proclaiming that he was going to be a country star.  Far from it.  He was just a good ole boy from West Tennessee who went to class and lived the life of a typical college student.  I am not surprised that he made it as a country singer if he decided he wanted to be one.  Darryl is one of those who backs up what he says.

Darryl and fellow Martiin classmate Zach Clayton, of Music Musings fame, talk about the old days after the show.

Darryl and fellow Martiin classmate Zach Clayton, of Music Musings fame, talk about the old days after the show.

So the concert was held in the auditorium where we used to gather for required assemblies.  While it has been remodeled, it brought back old memories of sitting there, waiting for the thing to be over.  I was surprised that Darryl brought the full band.  I expected just him with maybe one other player.  You can tell this band has been together for a while as they were tight and played as if they were in a full arena instead of a 400-or-so seat auditorium in Pulaski, TN.  

In between songs, Darryl would reminisce about the Martin days or tell stories.  Thankfully, he didn’t go into too many details either because the statute of limitations hasn’t run out or his daughter was on the front row – I suspect the latter.  I must say that his voice was still strong as it was singing Happy Trails in the cafeteria back in the early 80’s.  Highlights of the show for me were:

  • Bringing out first responders and recognizing them.  He has done over 15 USO shows in the sand and has always been a supporter of the military.
  • Mentioning some old haunts such as the mines and the Hill and telling the story of how he tried out for choir the first couple of weeks he was at school.  He didn’t make it and didn’t even get a call.
  • Telling the story of rolling in on little or no sleep (and looking rough) to the aforementioned required assembly and winning an American History award.  Darryl said all he could think about was his mom looking at the picture.  Evidently, she didn’t let him down.
Zach and his patient and loving wife Lori with Darryl.

Zach and his patient and loving wife Lori with Darryl.

Be on the lookout for his Greatest Hits album coming out this spring.  It will include eight hits and seven new songs.  Darryl played a couple of the new songs and they sounded great.  Besides getting to see an old friend, the moment of the night was his closing song.   It was just Darryl, an acoustic guitar, and some of his old friends in an auditorium from days gone by singing Whistle Dixie.  Whistle Dixie is a song about being content because the singer is going to see their Lord.  I must say Darryl looked content standing on that stage after coming back.

Musing in Nashville

Zach, 1984 Martin College Alum

Set List:

  • Calling Caroline
  • Good Day to Run
  • Living in the Here and Now  
  • I Miss My Friend
  • I Just Came Back from a War
  • Lonely Alone
  • Family Tree
  • Tequila on Ice
  • Tennessee River Run
  • Living the Dream (new song)
  • Second Wind (my favorite DW song)
  • I Need a Breather
  • The Night (new song)
  • Sounds Like Life to Me 
  • Nothing But A Love Thing – (told story that his mom was embarrassed by this video)
  • Have You Forgotten
  • Awful Beautiful Life
  • Whistle Dixie

Long Time, No See

music musings, beaverdamusa.comHi. Remember me?  

Maybe not, but it has been a spell since I mused. One of the main reasons I haven’t is that I have been caring for aging and rapidly declining parents. Let me just tell you, getting old sucks. If nothing else, I have decided to wander off into the woods like an old dog when it is my time. The question is, will I know when it is my time?

Looking into 2019, I want to get back into writing. I have missed it and hopefully some (maybe one?) of you have missed it as well. I may also delve into topics other than music. Now, I will probably leave politics to the other writers – it seems there are plenty of folks with an opinion – and they all seem angry.

There were several musical events over the last few months that would have made great material, but I won’t try and give them full treatment, but more like an executive summary. So here has been Zach’s musical adventures for the past few months:

  • Ventured into Fan Fair to see a writers’ night with one of my favorites – Mac McAnally who brought along Don Schlitz, Vince Gill, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Big mistake in not seeing Don before. The more I hear and see Vince, the more of a fan I become. Be on the lookout for his new album and a song titled “When Amy Prays”. It will stop you in your tracks.
  • Saw Poison with Cheap Trick and Pop Evil. The more I see Cheap Trick, the more I love them. Pop Evil was the surprise for me. They were loud and angry, similar to Disturbed. Became a fan immediately.
  • Got to see John Waite again at the Franklin Theatre. This was a full band show which included more of the rocking songs vs the last acoustic show of his I saw. He did include one of my favorite deep cuts – Tears. 
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd is on their farewell tour for the next couple of years. They sold out Bridgestone arena in October. It had been many years since they played Bridgestone and had most recently played Ascend Amphitheatre. I will tell you that it was probably the best I have seen them perform. The music was spot on and very upbeat with outstanding lights and sound. You should catch them if you can.

I do have tickets for the last time (yeah, right) that KISS is coming through Nashville. It should be a great show. So, hopefully, it won’t be so long in between musings in 2019. I still think I have a lot to say. See you next year.


A Left-hand Turn Down Memory Lane

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI realize it has been a minute or two since I mused.  The subject matter (three great shows) is there, but the words just won’t come out of my head.  

We have been cleaning out my parents’ house and I discovered something that got the ole creative thoughts going.  Backstory – like most folks of the Depression era, mine never throw anything away.  No, it wasn’t the 2003 UT National Alumni Directory in hardcopy format, it was this:

8tracks1For those of you under the age of 45, the black rectangles are called 8-tracks.  In the upper right corner is a form of vinyl called 45’s or singles.   The hoarder in me wanted to hang onto to them – especially the 8-tracks.  There was one small problem.  I didn’t have anything to play them.  

I did use the opportunity to explain to my boys how an 8-track worked – from the faint song from another track playing during silence to the familiar fade-out and fade-in right in the middle of a song while the track switched.  I can still remember the spot on specific songs where this would happen.  I explained to the concept of an “A” and “B” side of a single.  For those of you who don’t know the difference, the “A” side was the song the record company/artist wanted you to hear.  The “B” side was typically a deep cut on the album that they didn’t really think would be popular.  Often, the “B” side would gain momentum and become the more popular song.  Now, singles are stand alone and released via streaming outlets. 

While I was going through the crate of 8-tracks, I ran across this one:


“The Grand Illusion” by Styx

This is one of the albums which I have had on several forms of media.  I have had this great album on 8-track, vinyl, cassette, and digital.  Reel to reel is probably the only media left.  If you notice the label, you can see the RCA Music Service tag line.  So this means that I got this, along with 12 others, for a single penny.  Music clubs from the 70’s and 80’s are a topic for another day.

Did I keep the singles and 8-tracks?  Nah.  Didn’t have an 8-track player and my bride would have frowned upon it.  But finding them allowed me a chance to walk down memory lane.  I hope you enjoyed it also.

Musing and reminiscing in Music City


But Officer, the Music Made me do It

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI was recently driving back from the family beach trip and looked down at the speedometer.  Holy crap, I was splitting Birmingham wide-open on I-65 doing about 85 MPH.  First of all, I was getting passed by a bunch of crazy drivers and secondly, I realized the music made me do it.

We all know those songs that when we hear them, we just have to speed up.  For some it is the beat of the song, and for others, we may associate it with a movie or something that involved a speeding car.

While thinking of this topic, I jotted down a few songs that will naturally make me want to drive fast.  

  • I’m So Excited – Pointer Sisters
  • (You Can Still) Rock in America – Night Ranger
  • Dream Police- Cheap Trick
  • Surrender – Cheap Trick  
  • Get it Up – Chickenfoot
  • Rock City – Damn Yankees
  • Can’t Keep A Good Man Down – Eddie Money
  • Reach for Me – Jackyl
  • Detroit Rock City – KISS –it also helps that the song is about driving fast
  • Ridin’ The Storm Out – REO Speedwagon
  • In a Simple Rhyme – Van Halen
  • Unchained – Van Halen
  • Rockin’ with the Radio – Blue Tears (Google the band)

And finally, the ultimate –

  • I Can’t Drive 55 – Sammy Hagar, ultimate

How many of these impact you the same way?  Do you have others?  Let me know.

Speeding Along in Music City 


P.S.  No, I didn’t get a ticket in Birmingham.

I Can’t Think of a Song

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWhen I write my weekly, bi-weekly, monthly musing, it is generally about something musical – either an artist, song, album, experience, etc.  Today it is not.  I actually thought about trying to force it, but like bolts that won’t fit or bad relationships, you just can’t force some things.

You see, eight years ago on May 1 – 2, disaster hit Middle Tennessee where I live.  My town of Kingston Springs was one of the hardest hit areas by the Great Flood of 2010.  There wasn’t anything funny or musical about it.  There was some magic that happened when our community (and greater Nashville) banded together and helped each other.  We didn’t loot, burn cars, or sit and wait with our hand out for the government slop trough to roll into town.  

Prior to my Music Musings blog, I had a blog entitled Squire Ponderings.  A few days after the flood, I blogged about it and people’s reactions and included some pictures.  I read it last night and it is still hard to believe it happened.  You can find it at Flood Ponderings.  The executive summary of the blog is 1) it rained, 2) it rained some more 3) water got deep 4) people helped each other.

I was wrong – there is a musical connection that I left out of the blog.  Many travelers got stranded at our exit (I-40, #188) due to flooding on I-40.  One group that was stranded was a polka band from Pennsylvania.  They set up and played outside a service station at the exit.  I mean, you have instruments and beer – why not play?  Because of the hospitality afforded them, when they finally returned home, they played a benefit show and sent the money raised back to help the people of Tennessee.  I guess music does bind us all together.

Musing on flood waters


Backstage Without a Pass

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThis is a line in the Chickenfoot song “My Kind of Girl”.  It alludes to a lady who evidently gets backstage to party on the weekends.  For many years, the image of being backstage at rock shows conjured up images of scantily clad folks, beer fountains, and overall debauchery.   A while back, I mused about this in the classic Backstage: Sex, Drugs and… Bar-B-Que? musing.   Besides reveling in activity that would make your Sunday School teacher blush, one of the benefits of being backstage allowed you to meet some of the very people you were there to see perform.  

How does one get backstage?  You could be lucky enough to know someone in the band/crew or win a radio contest.  Often, someone gets picked out of the crowd by the band to join them in “social interaction” after the show.  They get noticed because they flash the band during the show.  I tried that once a few years ago – luckily I could hide from Stevie’s security detail.  I apologized to her for making her laugh during a song.  Over the last few years, there has evolved a new way to get backstage – you pay for it.  

Yep, you can now plop down that ole credit card and buy your way backstage.  There are various VIP packages you can purchase from Ticketmaster for some artists.  I browsed some coming shows to obtain a sample of what you could get.  Here’s a few examples:

  • Cheap Trick – for only $325/ticket at the Ascend Ampitheatre, you sit in the first five rows, get a shirt, a limited edition print, a Dream Police badge, and a meet and greet with the band.  [The meet and greet session is typically a production line where you walk in, get a pic snapped, and are ushered out].
  • Taylor Swift – for $546 at Nissan Stadium, you will get a seat and a custom memorabilia box with a personal message from Taylor herself.  No meet and greet though.
  • Def Leppard – for only $850, you get a front row seat, meet and greet, picture, autographed picture, and a luggage tag among other items.

The creative spark for this musing was an interview I heard with Gene Simmons (of KISS if you must ask) about him coming to Nashville.  He is pitching the Gene Simmons Vault which is a collection of recordings and pictures throughout his whole career.  Somewhat intrigued, I checked out the website and then proceeded to laugh.  Big Gene wants $2,000 for you and a guest to come see him play a few songs and hand you your autographed copy of the Vault.  Scary thing is that there is a list of about 40 cities where Gene is going – that means that people are paying this amount.

If you can buy your way backstage just like Jim Ed Bob in McEwen can, it loses some of its luster in my mind.  Maybe you could buy your way backstage and come up with a great story about how Stevie picked you out of a crowd and wanted you to feed her grapes……

Dreaming, uh musing in Nashville


The Eagles Touch Down in Nashville

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI remember going into the Service Merchandise store on Nolensville Road (in South Nashville) when I was probably 12 or 13 and purchasing the Eagles’ Hotel California on 8-track.  It was my first “album” that I ever purchased.  I never go to see them since I was too young for concerts when I was 12 and I don’t think they came to Nashville in support of The Long Run when I was in high school.  

Needless to say, when hell froze over and the Eagles reunited and toured in the mid-90’s – I was there.  I saw them in 1995 at Starwood Amphitheatre (RIP) where they played for two consecutive nights.  I remember the local paper ran a review of the first night’s show and the reviewer questioned whether Don Henley was actually the one hitting those high notes during One of These Nights.  Henley must read the locals because he invited the reviewer to the second night’s show and sat him next to his drum kit and when the high part was coming up, Henley turned to the reporter and mouthed “watch this”.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Well, fast forward 20 years and the Eagles are playing two nights at the Bridgestone arena.  The line-up is different – Don Felder was kicked out of the band and sadly Glenn Frey passed away in January 2016.  Besides founder Don Henley, the current line-up is Joe Walsh (joined with Hotel California), Timothy B Schmidt (joined with Long Run), Vince Gill (country superstar) and Deacon Frey (Glenn Frey’s 24 year-old son).  They did not disappoint the sold out crowd for 2.5 hours as they sang hit after hit.  Rather than try to weave my observations into paragraphs, I will resort to the lazy way – bullets (in no particular order):

  • Vince won the crowd over by simply coming out in a Nashville Predators jersey (sweater).  He fits right in with not only his guitar work, but his vocals.  
  • Steuart Smith was the unmentioned guitar player on stage (in addition to other backing musicians) who could trade licks with Joe Walsh and the best of them.  
  • Timothy B Schmidt spent the entire show sitting on a stool with his foot in a boot.  He later explained that he had fallen in the shower and broke his foot.
  • Strings and horns were added to several songs which added a nice touch.
  • Don Henley played drums on all the songs prior to Long Run, except Life in the Fast Lane.
  • Pretty brave to open the show with the acapella Seven Bridges Road. 
  • Henley gave a big shout out and plug for Ashley Monroe’s new album coming out.  This was probably worth 5,000 sales/downloads alone.
  • Deacon jumped right in and sang Take It Easy as the second song.  
  • Speaking of Deacon, he sang his father’s songs that were lower and he sounded just like him.
  • Joe Walsh played four of his solo songs and Vince played one of his hits, while Henley played none of his.  I’m curious as to why?  It isn’t like Henley doesn’t have the material to play.  I would have given up one of Walsh’s solo songs for Heart of the Matter or another Eagles’ song.

The entire evening was an opportunity to travel back in time and relive a lot of my teenage years with these songs. If you have a chance, go.

Still humming those great Eagles’ songs


P.S. Here is the set list from the 03/23/2018 show:

1.      Seven Bridges Road

2.      Take It Easy – sung by Deacon

3.      One of These Nights

4.      Take It to the Limit – Vince.  Yes, he did go after those high notes at the end that Randy Meisner wouldn’t attempt most nights.

5.      Tequila Sunrise – Vince 

6.      Witchy Woman

7.      In the City – favorite Eagles’ song by Joe Walsh

8.      I Can’t Tell You Why

9.      How Long

10.     Ol’ ’55 – deep cut that hadn’t been played in 18 years – sung by Vince

11.     Peaceful Easy Feeling – Deacon.  Song ended with picture of Glenn Frey on the screen.  It got very dusty around this time. 

12.     The Best of My Love

13.     Lyin’ Eyes – Vince  

14.     Love Will Keep Us Alive

15.     New Kid in Town – Vince. 

16.     Next Big Thing – Vince’s solo song.  He proclaimed that he was the “new kid”

17.     Those Shoes – deep cut from Long Run

18.     Already Gone – Deacon

19.     Victim of Love

20.     Walk Away – Joe Walsh solo song

21.     Heartache Tonight – Vince

22.     Life’s Been Good – Joe Walsh solo song

23.     Funk #49 – Joe Walsh solo song

24.     Life in the Fast Lane.

Encore #1

25.     Hotel California – had a horn intro that was killer

Encore #2

26.     Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh solo song – unusual to be an encore

27.     Desperado – great way to close.  THE Eagles song.

I Knew Her Back When…

music musings, beaverdamusa.comOccasionally, you may be lucky enough to catch an opening act at a concert who goes on to make it big, or if you are in Nashville, you may get to boast that the latest hot artist used to wait on your table at the local restaurant.  Seldom do you have a chance to see someone grow in popularity as she grows up.  

2016-12-07+21.09.50-1Several years ago, my oldest son Will emceed the middle school talent show and proclaimed to the audience that we should remember one of his classmates because she would be going places.  He does appear to have the talents of Carnac the Magnificent, because it appears that Kingston Springs’ own Savannah Conley is taking off.  I mused about one of her Nashville at journey resurrection & savannah

Savannah recently signed a recording deal with Elektra and issued an EP entitled Twenty-Twenty which can be found at all the usual digital and social media outlets.  My favorite cut on her most recent EP is Same Ole Eyes in which she wishes she could “…see her father the way other people do and not through the lens of a daughter.”  Elektra classifies her as a folk artist, but I classify her as a singer with a great voice and vocal range.

It is great to watch her progress from the Harpeth Middle School talent show some eight years ago to going on the road with Brandi Carlile and opening for the one and only Willie Nelson.  My favorite Savannah memory though is her high school graduation night.  She wrote and performed a song for her classmates that night.  I couldn’t tell you any of the lyrics, but the dust was clearly stirred up that night.

Do yourself a favor and snag some Savannah Conley for your music library.  You won’t regret it.

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