BY BRAM BESSOFF / AJT //
How did I get here? I’m sitting at a Holiday Inn Express desk in Lubbock, Tex. asking myself this question.
Not more than a few hours ago I was telling my life story to my new found friend and colleague, Wade McNutt, a fellow live music producer-in-training who teaches at the Creative Arts School of South Plains College.
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I’m now an advisory board member of the school and about to present a talk to 250 aspiring musicians on how to make it in the music industry. So is this bashert? Damn straight.
No one really knows where their life will end up. It’s funny how one life event that feels like the end-all-to-be-all only leads you to the next, even bigger event. My younger self would tell you the only way I’d be in Lubbock right now was on a national tour still playing with Soup.
Bashert, the Yiddish word for destiny, is most commonly used to describe a soul mate; to me it means a lot more: “it was meant to be.”
This is the mantra of my life and the focus of my wedding. I did marry my soul mate, it was bashert.
We first crossed paths when I was playing a show in the east village on Sullivan street in Manhattan, just the slightest passing of two people in a crowded bar right after I got off stage. Not two months later and I was in Charlotte, N.C. playing at the Original Amos’ when it happens again.
The same girl is there.
We quickly begin talking and I learn she just moved down from Jersey with her family, although she no longer lives at home. We started a very long, drawn-out distance relationship.
The next time we met was in Asheville, a lovely mountain town known for its bluegrass and hippie scene.
It’s a place we played often with the likes of Jump Little Children, Cravin Melon, Soul Miner’s Daughter (Jennifer Nettles way before Sugarland) and a mess of other regional touring acts.
We played rooms like Stella Blue, The Orange Peel and this time Barley’s: the finest menu venue in the Carolinas and Tennessee. The best part of playing Barley’s was that the soundman had this killer cabin up on Black Mountain that was inaccessible by car.
So we would hike up after the show with instruments in hand and hang all night playing music under the stars in this handmade palatial cabin – some of my best times on the road – and this time my bashert was with me.
In fact, it was the first time we spent the night together. There was no hooking up … yet. We were just two people getting to know each other much better. This went on for months, hundreds of minutes burnt on the telephone in a time way before unlimited calling and we paid for every second – the record was 254 minutes on the phone.
We could have eaten at Ruth’s Chris for the price of that call.
All night phone convos turned into weekends back and forth that bled into missing days of work, and then I flew her out to Colorado to do some skiing with my brother. For some unknown reason, my biggest life events revolve around traveling out to see him.
It was on this trip that I proclaimed my love and she got mad – we barely spoke for the rest of the trip. Of course, everything smoothed out and it wasn’t long that I moved her down to Atlanta.
We dated for three years. During this period my brother went to live in Beijing. So when it was time for the family to take another of our world famous trips, it was off to China and Anne was invited.
I had already decided I was going to marry this girl; I proposed to her at The Great Wall. The strange thing was we were scheduled to visit the wall on the first day in China which, for me, was too soon to pop the question.
So we changed the itinerary at the last minute and I wound up taking a knee on the most distant part of the wall, at the highest point possible, using my mother’s ring on the same day my parents got engaged – that’s bashert.
Anne wasn’t Jewish by birthright, but her father was a token Jew. His favorite memories were working food service for the Hebrew Home in Rochester, N.Y. and he always said “if I wasn’t Greek, I’d be Jewish.”
Naturally she converted of her own free will; it was meant to be.
Everything for me comes late in life, so holding onto this mantra is the only thing to keep me going when it feels like everyone else’s ship has come in and I am still struggling to find my way. Which is how being here in Lubbock is also bashert.
When I first started playing in Soup I believed we were going all the way. But it truly was only meant for me to find my soul mate.
Once we started a Jewish family and I got back into attending synagogue and sending our kids to the JCC’s Sunshine School, I started Shabbat Rocks; that that led me to working with the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival and, ultimately, to becoming a contributing AJT writer for you.
Being involved in the music industry as a “non-performer” post-Soup brought me to Indiehitmaker, which should have been my entrepreneurial coup d’etat (still in the works six years later), It has ultimately led me to shift my career to becoming a live music producer, bringing me to the heart of Texas.
At 42, I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life: help artists create amazing live shows. But if I look back on my history, will this be my final play?
I’ll leave that one up to destiny. Nothing happens by coincidence, so pay attention to events when they occur and follow your life’s path whichever way it may take you – it’s bashert.
About the writer
Follow Bram’s experiences on, off and backstage @bram_rocks. Interact with him at #InItForTheMoment and share thoughts, comments and ideas about this column.