While packing up my grandfather's belongings after his death, we found an old Gibson guitar in his closet. Stuck in the strings: a receipt from 1955. The words "promises to pay five dollars a month" were scribbled in faded pencil.
I took that guitar and a dream to Nashville. I also brought a fearless sense of self. The cover art of my first album displayed a photo of me and my drummer holding hands, and our press release introduced me as openly gay. It was 2001, and that was edgy for Nashville.