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Posted July 09, 2009


How many people have sung along with the music and lyrics to Everlasting Love?

When the subject of Rock n' Roll has cropped up, how many times has it been associated only with the bad stuff? However, with all things, even Rock n' Roll, God can turn it around for good.

When the song first hit the air waves, what most people didn't know was that the writer who co-wrote the song with Mac Gayden, Buzz Cason, was a Christian and had read through the Bible as a young man growing up in Nashville.

In his book, Living The Rock n' Roll Dream, Buzz said, "I would read a chapter of my Bible nightly..."

When he reminisced about co-writing the song with Mac Gayden he said, "In the Old Testament, in Jeremiah, the Scripture reads, 'Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love.' Whether that verse was the inspiration for the song's title I can't say for sure, but I wrote the simple lyric, which soars over Mac's beautiful counter line that runs throughout the chorus."

He also stated, "I believe God puts certain people in your life to be there for you at crucial times like I was facing then." And, "I pray they (my children) seek divine guidance in all they set out to do and pursue their goals with great passion."

I first saw Buzz perform in a grocery store while sitting at the end of the green bean aisle, somewhere close to the canned pumpkin and produce section. As an aspiring lyricist who once had an invitation to go to Nashville to talk with Glenn Campbell Studios, but turned it down because I had two young daughters, I was recently advised by a successful songwriter, "You need to go to Puckett's."

"What's a Puckett's?" I quipped.

He enlightened me. I discovered Puckett's was a small town grocery store in Leiper's Fork, TN where songwriter's performed, spinning their magic in front of a small audience, after the crowds had been served a down-home cooked meal.

I'd never heard of Buzz Cason but was in for dessert richer than bread pudding and hard sauce, my favorite. When he belted out Everlasting Love, I realized Buzz co-wrote the song I practiced dancing to, holding onto the door jamb of my bedroom as partner back in the sixties. The song had touched souls for decades with Robert Knight ('67) Carl Carlton ('74), Rex Smith and Rachel Sweet ('81), Gloria Estefan ('95), U2, and Clay Aiken of American Idol having kept it on the charts and in our hearts.

After an introduction to Buzz, I bought Living the Rock n' Roll Dream - The Adventures of Buzz Cason and couldn't stop turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. A member of a group called "The Casuals," which was generally recognized as Nashville's first Rock 'n Roll band, Buzz and the band were Brenda Lee's back-up group. He was also back-up singer for Elvis, Kenny Rogers, Kris Kristofferson, Jimmy Buffett, Conway Twitty, Roy Orbison, and Billy Swan. Jan and Dean recorded Popsicle and the hits kept coming with The Beatles and Pearl Jam recording Soldier of Love.

After Buzz opened his own facility in Nashville, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, The Judds, The Doobie Brothers, The Gatlin Brothers, Leon Russell, Olivia Newton-John, and Emmylou Harris all recorded there.

When Buzz heard my daughter had moved to Nashville, he invited me to drop by the studio when in town. I was in luck. He was dog sitting his son's pet, Ollie, the renowned terrier howling in tune on the song Ain't Nobody (To Love Me But The Dog), recorded on his latest Hats Off To Hank CD.

The consummate host, Buzz gave me the grand tour through hallowed halls. I'd never seen so many memories hanging on sheetrock. Buzz played me a tune on the grand piano Ray Charles used for a Johnny Cash song. There on the walls were gold records. Cason's Love's The Only House was a hit on Martina McBride's Emotion platinum album in 2000 and her Greatest Hits was double platinum.

On a table were pictures of Buzz with the artists whose voices had crooned me to sleep at night. Leon Russell's picture nudged to the fore memories of a shared quilt with other concert attendees on the historic Engel Stadium baseball diamond grass. While the heavens poured down rain, Leon graveled out Tight Rope.

Buzz also had a hand in shaping Jimmy Buffett's career and Jimmy's picture reminded me of a performance around five o'clock somewhere. No wait - it wasn't just somewhere - it was at Chattanooga's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium. I was there.

Jerry Reed's photograph grinned back at me and I remembered meeting the Smoky and the Bandit star and recording artist at the Sligo boat dock outside of Nashville back in the 70's while taking in a day of sun and fun. Close to Kenny Rogers was a picture of the Oak Ridge Boys before William Lee Golden's hair had a growth spurt. And, right in the middle of the mega memories was a spry James Brown back in his feel good days in front of an icon of the same that danced and sang I Feel Good when Buzz pushed his button.

However, the best part for me was to relax and breathe in the creativity suspended in the air of the room where the writers hung out to co-write tunes, stringing together words. Language-meisters of lyrical magic. And so many of the country tunes referred to God or Jesus. One of my favorites that Buzz cut was Hooked Up With the Man.

Buzz delighted me with a sneak preview of two songs coming out on his next CD and when asked my humble opinion, I assured him they should both be hits - all hats off to Buzz. Ollie howled in agreement on the last song, a sure sign it would rock the charts.

Buzz Cason was still making magic while singing and strumming as the quintessential guitar man.

He'd said, "I'm determined to remain positive and to continue in the wonderful world of writing as long as God wills it."

Check out Buzz Cason's Myspace site for upcoming tour dates and click on Ain't Nobody (To Love Me But The Dog) to hear Ollie's howling debut.

Now it's time for a nap!

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