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As I write this, I’m sitting in the Mockingbird Cafe in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi—watching a future star.

His name is Andrew Stratman. He’s a 27-year-old country singer from Vienna, Missouri. He’s a gritty looking dude with a husky, sandpaper voice, a pulled-down backward baseball cap, a black T-shirt and a dream.

The guy absolutely kicks ass.

I’m not just saying that. I used to cover music for The Tennessean. I’ve seen tons and tons and tons of acts in small clubs, in bars, in dives. Some have been amazing, some OK. some terrible. Here, in front of six or seven of us, I’m witnessing the best of the bunch.

Take a listen …

The man drives from gig to gig in his Dodge truck. He worked construction in the past, some different blue-collar jobs here and there. Not long ago, he decided to chase his dream and pursue music. He’s decided to give it all he has, with dreams of making it a career.

I like his odds.

I also love surprises like this. I was sitting in this coffee shop, going through clips, enjoying the drinks but drifting toward sleepiness. Then the music starts, and suddenly I’m thrown into the pure pleasure that is the great live show.

Happy evening.

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