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  • Annette Dawm

A Thank You Letter to The River Town Saints (and Other Artists)


My blog is going to be a little backwards over the next few entries! I was so excited about my CMA Ontario Awards Photos that I posted them first. There were too many to put on my blog, so they went directly on Facebook, which made it easier to tag the artists in. It turned out other people were excited too and I got over 3000 views! I did this last year for The CCMAs and that's what gave me the idea for this blog in the first place. Not just the artists, but their friends and families were liking my photos! I remember Chad Brownlee's mom liked a few of them and they weren't even photos of Chad, which is kind of sad, actually.

Someone told me yesterday that I make good connections with my favourite musicians because I am not starstruck all the time (I am, but I don't scream and cry until maybe later). I usually try to be quiet and respectful.

On a side note, another person told me to hug Eric Ethridge the other day and I'm not a touchy-feely person, but I looked at him and he looked at me, and it was just like, "Okay." It turned out to be an awesome photo which will be on the blog next week, but you can see it on the Home page now.

I am always more starstruck when it comes to entertainers that were part of my growing up, and one of those bands for me was The Wilkinsons. I met Amanda and Tyler a few years ago as The Small Town Pistols, but last year I got to see them perform with their dad, so of course there were tons of photos! I put them on Facebook and tagged them, as well as many other artists. I didn't think much of it, but then I started getting notifications within minutes:

"The Abrams like your photo."

"Marie Bottrell commented on your photo."

"Stacey Lee Guse made your photo her profile picture."

Wes Mack wrote to me and said he loved every picture I had with him. It just kept getting bigger.

I kept getting notifications that said, "Steve Wilkinson likes your photo". It took me a minute. Steve Wilkinson? No, not THAT Steve Wilkinson. Um, yeah, it was that one. Things like this happened for several days. Then I found out The Small Town Pistols shared the entire album they were in on their Facebook page and the number of views kind of exploded. In my opinion, these weren't even the best photos since I wasn't allowed to use my flash, but it didn't matter. All of these people I loved actually loved these photos-- my photos. What the Hell? That's when I started thinking I could do this.

I had already been interviewing artists and other people who loved their jobs for WorkStory for about two years, which was starting to lose its excitement for me. It was not that I didn't like it, but people weren't responding when they said they would. Then I just started running out of interviews, which has actually started to happen on this blog.

However, last July, months before this blog was even thought of, I became friends with The River Town Saints. Any time a band is nice to me, I always question it, like, "Are they really my friend or are they just being nice?" If you asked me that when I was 17, hands down, the artist was my friend, or today if I hear Brad Paisley on the radio, I'm like, "There's my friend!" because he hugged me two times and that's a big deal haha. (I cried after that.) But when I was 18, I showed some concert photos to my Gramma, There were people I absolutely loved in the photos with me: Jaydee Bixby, Johnny Reid, Willie Mack, Aaron Pritchett, Jessie Farrell and the list goes on. They were all so kind to me. Jessie even got me a refund when my seat wasn't accessible and I had to upgrade my ticket! But my Gramma said something that absolutely gutted me and still bothers me every day: "They don't like you. They just like your money," I even had a picture of a classmate in the photo album and she said, "She's too pretty to be your friend." So I think my self esteem was pretty much shot from then on. I just hide it well.

So when I met The River Town Saints, it was such a weird thing, We were taking pictures after just

meeting-- which is weird in any circumstance-- but I always take two in case I blink. Then Chris Labelle kept saying, "One more! One more!" and I was thinking "Why does this guy keep taking pictures with me?" Then without notice, he just wrapped me up in this big bear hug and the whole time I just questioned everything. Like, "Who does that?" "Why is he doing this?" A few months later, I saw Chris again at The CCMAs and he tried to jump a fence to take a picture with me, but he wasn't allowed. That's when I realized he wasn't faking this. He actually wanted to take time out of his day to be a friend, even when he couldn't.

A few months after that, I knew I was going to stop doing stuff for WorkStory but I kind of wanted to go out with a bang, so I asked Chris. Something told me he was going to say no. He did, but not in the way I thought. He said, "I'll only do an interview with you if you do it under your own name." So rather than my last WorkStory being a big one, my first blog on annettedawm.com was huge. I have posted over 40 things on this blog since then and nothing has come close to it. It reached over 6700 people and most of that took place in three days!

I have been so lucky to see this band multiple times in the last 11 months, to see them win their first award, and to be greeted with a genuine hug every time. I no longer question it. That's just what they do and they mean it. It doesn't sound like much, but as they say, "A Little Bit Goes a Long Way" and I'm just so thankful to call them my friends! So if you've ever wondered why there's so many things about the River Town Saints on here, it's because I can't say enough good things about them.

Since it has been hard to pin down people for interviews, you may have noticed that I am just trying to post pictures now, and I think it has been going pretty well. All I can say is thank you. Thank you to every single artist that has spent time with me over the last nine years, whether you were just starting out or you happened to be somebody like Jason Mraz, Carrie Underwood or Brad Paisley. Thank you to every one of you who were part of my 200+ encounters. (I've met a lot of people multiple times.) Thank you to your friends and family and fans for liking my photos and reading my blogs. Thank you for remembering my name and running across parking lots to take pictures with me, even though I shouldn't be there. Thank you for treating me like a friend even when I questioned you. It means more than you'll ever know. Lastly, thank you for reading this blog in particular, since it was just supposed to be a bunch of photos I took the other day of Kyle Dunn and The River Town Saints getting hit in the face with pie.

Annette


He meant to say Pembroke.


© 2020 By Annette Dawm