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Caitlyn Smith / NIVA

Every room, every stage has a story. Its own special energy. Years of spilled drinks, sweat, and sparkles still remain - to me, it's a holy place. A place we go to have our souls cracked open a little. 

Ghosts of melodies, memories and emotions are living in these walls. How lucky are we to have spaces in the world like this? A place for us to connect. A place where we get to feel the bass drum rattle the middle of our chest. A place to go where we get lifted outside of our heads for a minute and immerse ourselves in the music that we love the most.

As a storyteller, stepping back onto these stages after they’ve sat empty for over a year has me aching for what they’ll feel like again when live music finally returns.

Over the last few months, I’ve been returning to these stages, playing tiny shows for country radio programmers on my “I Can’t Tour… Tour”. It’s just me and the station. The sound guy is blowing dust off the soundboard while we’re checking guitar levels. The owner comes to shake my hand, grateful to have humans back in the building. For most, it’s their first time back at work in a year.

To say it’s been surreal is an understatement.

While this last year has been hard, it has hit these dreamers the hardest. They were the first ones to close and will be the last ones to open.

It’s why when we went in to create a visual element in the music video for “I Can’t,” I couldn’t shake the reality of their lives.

This video shows a future I hope we never see. It’s why we’re using this moment to support NIVA — National Independent Venue Association.

Please take a moment to learn about the great work they’re doing. May they continue to inspire for generations to come... so even when the lights go down, they never truly burn out.

Join me in supporting NIVA and thanking these incredible pioneers for their work in our communities to save our stages so we can keep the music playing.

Caitlyn Smith Caitlyn Smith
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NIVA is securing financial support to preserve the national ecosystem of independent venues and promoters. All proceeds from every shirt sale directly benefits NIVA and the Save Our Stages movement.