Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Joe Pagetta

Thank You for Your Song

What do we owe the writers who get us through our darkest days?

After a series of embarrassing encounters, it should be clear to me by now that a songwriter’s need to be thanked by a fan is in no way commensurate with my own need to thank every single one of them, but still I persist.

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Two Wheels and the Truth

What if, instead of cyclists, drivers saw people on bikes?

March 3, 2014 Faced with fleshing out the facts, I didn’t immediately think of the guy who tried to run me off the road. I thought of the baby who got me over the ridge. As I wrote, what I remembered of that day was not the fear that was still gripping me. I remembered the innocence that inspired me.

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Sleeping on Couches

Waking up on someone else’s sofa can be the loneliest feeling—or the perfect emblem of hope

January 7, 2013 In 2005, I released a record with some of Nashville’s finest musicians and a few guest singers. It was the closest thing I had to a breakthrough. There was critical acclaim, in the states and overseas, healthy airplay on college radio throughout the country, and I hit the road for some gigs that actually paid. Then I woke up one morning on another musician’s couch, and I realized I couldn’t do it. After working so hard to make something of myself, I just couldn’t spend any more time sleeping on other people’s couches.

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In Italy

A troubled father and son find each other on a train in the home country

We met on Franklin Street in the Heights section of Jersey City. It was the night before I moved to Nashville, and my father had asked me to meet him at the club where he frequently played cards with his friends from the old country. We each had an espresso, and then we took a walk. Not far from the club, he handed me a thousand dollars and said he wished he could give me more. He told me to be careful. He hugged me. As I walked back to my car, I tried to control my breathing and hold back the tears. Something was ending, and something was beginning, but there was much I was leaving unfinished.

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