In the beginning I believed this was a story about a town, about a celebration. And it is. But really, it’s about a man. A man who loved me so much he gave me a town. A man who I love so much, I had to tell the world.
I was born and raised in Nashville and it has always been my hometown. I’ve gotten a front row seat to seeing this city grow and change and Nashville is so much a part of who I am and why I am a songwriter.
But I have another home too.
It’s a couple hundred miles off the I-24 interstate, tucked between miles of open road. To another person, this ordinary town may be just a wrong turn on a map. But for me, Puxico, Missouri is where I grew up, it’s where I found my voice and learned to love my roots. Puxico is home.
For one week every year, the town of Puxico turns into a city. What started as a welcome home celebration has turned into a 64-year tradition of square dancing, music, carnival rides and parades. Ever since I can remember, my grandfather George invited me to be a part of his hometown and this magical tradition. Life has changed a lot since my first Puxico Homecoming – from college graduation to new jobs and now having a family of my own – but I never miss homecoming.
When I first started working on this documentary, I wanted it to be the story of how the good people of Puxico have managed to throw a celebration of their history for the last six decades – and it is still very much that story. But amidst the hours of filming and editing and interviews, I realized that it’s much more than that. We all have our own Puxico – a hometown that is so deeply embedded into your DNA and has helped shape you to who you are today.
I hope these stories speak to you wherever you are and remind you of where you came from and the people you’ve met along the way. We’ve all got stories like Puxico. The ones that pull us back and restore us, no matter how far gone we’ve gotten along the way. And that’s the beautiful thing about homecoming.