As an entrepreneur, it’s hard for me to get time away. But for Live in the Vineyard (an event held in Napa Valley that pairs food, music, and wine), I will not only clear my schedule but also volunteer my own time and money for travel. Why? The food is great. The wine is incredible. The people are awesome. But what’s the most special for me is the music. There is nothing like it. Raw. Human. Magical. It touches me in ways that are hard to put into words.
The organizers of Live in the Vineyard, Bobbii and Claire, put together an event that is nothing short of genius. My wife and I have been fortunate to experience the magic from all angles: the front row, behind the stage, and as part of the LITV family. From Mary Lambert, LP, Delta Rae, and Yuna, to James Blunt, Youngblood Hawk, American Authors, and many others, we have had the opportunity to talk to and get to know that artists behind our favorite music. Here are the highlights of our most recent Live in the Vineyard trip in November.
Before his incredible acoustic Friday performance at Sutter Home Vineyard, we sat down with former Live at 35® artist Mat Kearney to talk about his “single shot drone video” for his new hit single “Heartbeat.” We learned that he was striving for a sound along the lines of Paula Abdul “back when she was dancing with cartoons,” and Bruce Hornsby. Once you hear the song, you will immediately connect with the truth of this statement. During his set at Sutter, he of course played his classic hit “Ships in the Night,” as well as acoustic versions of “Heartbeat” and the title track from his new album “Just Kids.” Mat gave us an exclusive first-ever interview about the influences behind his upcoming new album, and I for one have already pre-ordered the album. True to form, his songwriting is deeply moving, and his virtuosity with his instruments stellar. Check out the full interview here.
On Saturday evening, we were able to interview Meghan Trainor (“All About That Bass”) fresh off a performance at the Country Music Awards where she sang her hit single as a duet with Miranda Lambert. We talked about her CMA appearance and the heart underlying her music. Cut from the same cloth as Mary Lambert and Ella G’Sell, Meghan isn’t just about the fame and art, she is about the change she can create in the world, to help more people feel good about themselves, and achieve their highest potential. It is the chance to meet amazing humans like Meghan that is why I do this.
Thursday evening we were treated to an amazing performance in the caves at Spring Mountain Vineyards. I was salivating at a chance to ‘taste’ their Elivette all night, but I also discovered they have a new Pinot Noir that just might be the reason you forsake Merlot forever … but I digress. The real reason for talking about this was to tell you about the amazing duo that is Johnnyswim. Discovering up and coming artists is the real reason I come to LITV. Johnnyswim is now my new favorite Pandora station.
There truly is not enough space to tell you everything that happened over the weekend, to share the amazing experiences that we had given to us by these musical artists. So, I will keep it to the highest of the highlights.
Marie Miller: I’ve heard of her forever, but seeing her perform live—wow.
Scars on 45: Really increasing the energy in the room and building us up to one of the most special performances I have ever witnessed.
Justin Furstenfeld: Better known as Blue October, Justin treated us to a stunning performance, consistently raising the hairs on the back of my neck as I was moved by his stunning vocals and the depth of his lyrics. While it was what you might call a totally "stripped down performance," before leaving the stage, he put down his guitar, he set aside his microphone and he sang “Bleed Out” from the depth of his soul. It was so raw, so emotional, so beautiful. He moved me.
Matt Nathanson: A super high-energy performance that not only included his awesome hit single “Come on Get Higher” but also some covers and sing-alongs of “Sweet Child of Mine,” and some of the other biggest anthems of our time. He really is an amazing performer.
Train: Proved their right to be considered the “headliner.” With every song, they grew stronger and stronger. From “Drops of Jupiter” to “Meet Virginia” to “Calling All Angels,” they still have it.
Echosmith:I love their hit “Cool kids.” It seems the music industry thinks they may be the next big thing, perhaps as one exec mentioned to me, “they could be as big as the Beatles.”
All in all, it was the sort of weekend that few people every get to imagine, and fewer people get to experience. If I can share one piece of advice with you it is this—do whatever it takes to win your way into this amazing weekend. Barring that, bid whatever amount of Rapid Rewards points it takes to win tickets to this show. It will be well worth it. I am truly grateful for this experience and so thankful for the opportunity that our Southwest friends have given us. We are truly grateful and feel blessed to be a part of the Southwest family. Please click here for more photos from Live in the Vineyard.