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Mamma Kim's Hat On The Dashboard!

On The Road With Lauren And The Boys

| Sande Caplin |

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Future Tour Bus!Lauren has a wonderful partner in Michael Hensley who she has nicknamed “The Professor”.  Mike has a very calm demeanor and a steadying effect on Lauren. “You seem settled,” I said. “Well, a couple things have happened that have changed my outlook on life. First, I lost Kim.” Kim was Lauren’s dear friend, mentor, and manager for a while.  She even called Kim “Mama”. “She was the first phone call I made every morning for over a year.  I had only ever lost one other person in my adult life, and that was Dan Toler. Watching Danny loose his battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) was a lesson to me about what really matters. I watched him and how he dealt with his disease. HE LOST IT ALL! Could not walk, talk, and only had the use of one finger. His soul was on fire and he was ready to go meet Jesus, but he was also trapped. Alive but unable to express anything except with his eyes, and I could see his soul in there, and the peace he had. Mike is the one who “dragged” me back to church, and the Lord.  Now I know that God’s plan for me is perfect and He has it figured out completely. I had to ask myself why am I obsessing about all the stupid stuff. His and Kim’s passing had a definite impact on my life.”

Lauren and Mac Arnold“The other change in my life is the honor and pleasure of having Mike in it, as my partner, my friend and someone I can always rely on. He has a very stabilizing effect on me.” The food arrived at our table and Lauren asked Mike to say grace. I had to say “when someone is constantly in the presence of the Lord, when the Lord is within them, that is the best peace of all. I see that peace in you, Lauren”. A year ago you were not as settled”.

I asked her what was the most beautiful place band had gone on their tour, and she said, “The most picturesque was Lexington, Kentucky where their promoter had the perfect house to stay in. Have you paid your dues, I asked? “Since I was 9 years old, I’ve been paying my dues.” Would you do it all over again? “Funny you asked, it’s been 2 ½ years since Mike dragged me back into church. I watched Danny lose his life and then within a month had to deal with Mama Kim’s sudden passing.  Well … I was able to put it all in perspective.” She is on the right train, As of late she gives up the outcome to the Lord. “I know that whatever decision I make, He has already made the decision”. I tell her I have read in the Bible that the Lord refines us like gold going through the fire, or like clay on the potter’s wheel, we are molded into His image.

Sande is very fatherly concerning Lauren. “He loves you,” I said. “Even me talking to him second hand, he has told me you have come so far in the last year. A better, more creative, more confident you has blossomed”. Others of us are stagnant, and continue on the same old path. Sarasota will always be her home base, but Lauren and the band are evolving. They want to share their music with anyone who will listen.  “To be a live performer you have to want to go in front of an audience. We live for the energy from the crowd!” She tells us how Mike creates unbelievable twists on songs that are so original, and therefore, along with his amazing hands whipping across his Hammond organ, he is pure genius. He is part of the soul of The Lauren Mitchell Band.

London, OntarioI wondered what does Mike mean to Lauren? What is his influence? She looks like she is going to cry.  Mike starts tearing it up as he looks at her, and she at him, both with wet eyes. She wishes she could share what she has with the world. She almost didn’t have the words to reply. “He is my partner, he believed in me when no one else did. He waited almost 8 years for me to get my act together. He is modest, but won’t take credit. He encouraged me to do a lot of things, like go back to church, to believe in myself. He has taught me so much musically. He is our arranger, and when he gets done putting his personal spin on a song, it doesn’t sound like the original. He has helped me write songs, and now he is teaching me how to play the Hammond! He encourages me to keep growing as a musician and better person. Without the Lord we could not do this. The first album was literally an answer to a prayer.” She has conversations with God, out loud: “if this is what you want me to do and the path I should be on, give me a sign, and keep me moving forward.”

A Visit to the Rock n Roll Hall of FameSo where do you see yourself in five years? “On a tour bus all decked out with all my guys and someone to drive, not me or Mike! I want to be on the road playing 200 plus days a year and look out at on a crowd of white hankie wavers.” The hankies are a nod to Mama Kim’s New Orleans heritage.  I can almost see Lauren there, and see the audience waving their hankies and the band coming back for several encores. I think if you can dream it, Lauren Mitchell, if you can picture it, you can have it!

Visit The Lauren Mitchell Band WEBSITE.

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