David introduced me to Lori McKenna music Feb. 25, 2008. At least that’s the date I added to my iTunes “Heather Stuff,” a CD of music David gave to me. On the CD were the first four Lori McKenna songs I ever heard: Witness to Your Life, What’s One More Time, Your Next Lover and Unglamorous.
I had actually heard Lori before on Oprah when she performed Fireflies, which she wrote, with Faith Hill, who recorded it. But I didn’t know she wrote more or recorded any songs or albums herself until David shared her songs with me.
Lori’s music has been the subject of many a discussion between me and David, from the value of a witness to your life — at this point either of us can text or message the letters WTYL and know what the other is referring to — to what she really means in Unglamorous –is she really happy or does the fact that she’s saying she’s happy mean she may not be?
I knew David had been anticipating the release of her new album Lorraine for a long while. So one afternoon he arrives at the house and goes quickly to the computer. He saw some tweet that implied the album was now available and he had to check it out. It turned out, no, it wasn’t yet available but he could see the track listing, so he blogged about his anticipation for the album.
Lori herself saw the blog post and had her publicist contact David with something to the effect of “hey, saw you posted on your blog about the album and we’d like to send you a copy before it comes out to review.” David was beside himself excited, not only at getting the hear the album early but that Lori and her people read and liked what he had written on his blog. So that afternoon he was able to download the tracks and blogged about having received the tracks and the impending review.
In the meantime, David had sent me a link to a vinyl of the Unglamorous album. That particular seller wasn’t able to get me the album before Christmas but another vendor had it, so I ordered it up.
On the day the vinyl album arrived on my front porch the thought hit me: “What if I could contact Lori’s publicist (the one who contacted David) and ask about sending them this vinyl to be autographed and personalized for David? Wouldn’t that make an awesome Christmas present even more awesome?!”
The answer? yes.
So I tricked David into forwarding me the email with the contact information I needed (he didn’t suspect a thing!), and I emailed Lori’s publicist:
Hi. My boyfriend is David Hitt, the one who you sent the Lorraine downloads to and who wrote the review on his blog, Stories in my Pocket. As part of his Christmas present I bought the Unglamorous vinyl and was wondering if it would be possible to get it personalized and autographed by Lori? This may be too much to ask but I thought it was worth at least inquiring. I could send the album priority mail with a postage paid overnight envelope so there wouldnt be any added expense. He doesn’t know I’ve contacted you as this would be a surprise for Christmas. I got your email address from the messages he forwarded me. Please let me know what you think about this possibility.
The publicist put me in touch with the right person who said Lori would be more than happy to sign the Unglamorous vinyl for David. Yes!
So I overnighted it there and they overnighted back so it would make it in time for Christmas. Lori signed the lyric sheet inside the album cover and included a personalized, autographed copy of Lorraine. I couldn’t wait to give David his gift! It was all I could do to keep from blabbing the whole thing to him, forwarding him the emails, pulling out the album, all of it! But I knew waiting would be worth it.
When we exchanged gifts, he had to know by the shape of the box that it was a vinyl. And most likely knew it was Unglamorous since he had sent me the link. But he became slightly more intrigued when the return address was “L. McKenna.”
So he opened it and he was surprised and I told him the whole story. Telling the story was part of the fun to me, and as much as he enjoys a good story I think he enjoyed that part of his gift as well.
Finally, one added quirky part to this story. I wasn’t able to pre-pay the return overnight postage so instead I’m mailing a check this week to Lori to reimburse her for the postage. Writing a check to Lori McKenna like she’s just anybody strikes me as funny, that’s all.