It means more to me than some others. Some people say the Grand Ole Opry is just OK and it’s just an old-timey show. For somebody like me who had a granddad and drove him around and talked about the Grand Ole Opry and how wonderful it was even though he never got to see it before he died, knowing that I had a song that played there after my granddad told me about it my whole life, it’s phenomenal.Braxton Calhoun
RINCON — Springfield’s Braxton Calhoun finally made it to the Grand Ole Opry.
A song Calhoun coauthored with longtime friend Scott Bass was performed by Bass at the venerable Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday night.
“I was surprised,” Calhoun said. “It just kind of came about a couple of weeks ago.”
Bass frequently performs with Kent Wells, Dolly Parton’s lead guitarist. They joined Calhoun, a 2002 Effingham County High School graduate, for a raucous concert at the Mars Theatre in April 2019.
“Scott is continuing to work with Kent throughout the year, of course, and Scott I have continued to write just like the past several years, and Kent had a benefit concert that he put together and it had Dolly and a few folks from Lady Antebellum, and just some different people like that who came together for the benefit concert,” Calhoun said. “Kent wanted to showcase Scott so Scott got to come out and sing a song and he said, ‘I’m going to sing one that me and Braxton wrote.’”
The song is called “Neon.”
“They said he got a standing ovation and everyone fell in love with it,” said Calhoun, who was unable to attend the momentous event. “There were a few people we know who got to go and they said everybody loved it. Everybody was talking about the new guy Scott Bass.”
Calhoun, who toiled in Nashville about 15 years, described “Neon” as a classic Nashville “dirty bar song.”
“Having a drink in a bar and looking at women ain’t never going to change,” Calhoun said with a chuckle. “We wrote it about a year and a half ago.”
Calhoun and Bass were performing in honky tonks regularly at the time.
“That’s just kind of the mindset we were in at the time,” Calhoun said. “I started rocking with these chords trying to get in a groove and he kind of had a line in it that went, ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the drunkest of them all?’
“That sealed the deal. It was written in about three and half minutes after that.”
“Neon” has a rock feel to it, Calhoun said.
“I think Kent believes in that song,” Calhoun said. (He and Bass) are in the process of recording it now. I think that is a song that will do well for Scott.
“That’s what we are hoping.”
Scott was ecstatic after the show. He made the following Facebook post:
“Thank you Braxton Calhoun for writing this amazing song with me! I love you man! People screamed man people screamed!”
Calhoun hopes to match Bass’ Ryman accomplishment one day.
“I’ve been in Nashville a long time and I didn’t necessarily move here to play music constantly like everybody does,” he said. “I kind of moved in and could barely play guitar. I just wanted to be part of the scene, you know?
“The fact that I’ve made it to where I have as far as playing so heavy and to even hear a song of mine played on that stage made me feel like I had accomplished it.”
Calhoun gets emotional when he talks about the Grand Ole Opry.
“It means more to me than some others,” he said. “Some people say the Grand Ole Opry is just OK and it’s just an old-timey show. For somebody like me who had a granddad and drove him around and talked about the Grand Ole Opry and how wonderful it was even though he never got to see it before he died, knowing that I had a song that played there after my granddad told me about it my whole life, it’s phenomenal.”