Maybe it’s the wood floors underneath, the homemade food spread across its reach or the kindness in the room around it. Maybe it’s the warmth of the echo off the natural surface or the slight delay between familiar walls holding pictures of loved ones. Maybe it’s that we only gather around it with people that we care about and for one evening, we’re not afraid to let the best of emotion drive the moment. We don’t worry about money, contracts, musicians, club owners or sound checks. We don’t think about promotion, presold tickets, car trouble, weather or any of the thousands of miles in-between. I think it’s all of these things and more. There’s just nothing like making music around the kitchen table
The wood holds generations of conversation beneath its layers of varnish. It has been passed down, stored and restored. Leaves have been subtracted for intimate candlelight and added for unexpected guests. The wood has held the weight of fancy holiday dinners, hurried mid-week meals and late night snacks too many to count. There has been bread broken, wine shared and a hundred hot apple pies annihilated by competitive forks. Around ovals, squares and rectangles, homework has been fought over and completed. Bills have been paid, skipped and agonized over. Dominoes have been matched, post-midnight Royal Flushes flashed and Illinois Avenue and B&O Railroad bought and sold. Success has been celebrated, failure mitigated and new dreams born. Day in and day out, life is leveraged upon its oak, maple, pine or cherry. The kitchen table is the soul of any house. It’s the springboard of loving covenants and the arena of best wishes and prayers. It’s the battleground of ideas and opinions and even the guardian of a secret or two. But in the end, it’s the keeper of the family flame and the promise of a new day and the next meal.
My own kitchen table started as my family’s kitchen table in Morgantown, WV. It followed us to Tallahassee, Florida and to Falls Church, Virginia. It has been mine ever since I left home and has stayed with me through cheap apartments, a rented country farmhouse and now my own place here on Cub Creek in Tennessee. I have written songs and have even taken a match to a few songs at my kitchen table. I have drunk Lagavulin neat and have eaten Oreos double stuffed. I have signed publishing deals, home loan papers and divorce decrees. I have laughed with friends, cried alone, folded my laundry and risen like the Phoenix, all while sitting comfortable and secure.
It’s easy to understand why the kitchen table is our favorite place to sing. Runaway Home was born at my kitchen table and we have perfected the band’s sound and even the band’s name around Lisa and Gary’s kitchen tables. With lyrics strewn about and with ever-thickening glasses at the ready, a second chance at a music career has played out in earnest on that defining piece of wood. It’s the place where we hear each other the best, live the lyrics the fullest and feel the purpose of our lives resonate without question. Music is our language, harmony is our dialect and the kitchen table is the universe in which it all, for a fleeting moment, sounds perfect.
Mark Elliott – Runaway Home
“It’s the music That Makes Us Smile”