On the Riser singer’s rise to fame, Dierks Bentley used to sit in as talent at Nashville’s Station Inn. That is where he met Ann Soyars, the person responsible for booking talent, collecting covers, and holding down the fort at the venue.
However, Ann’s life changed when she went in for a CT Scan, following an episode she believed to be a minor stroke. The results were far more serious than Ann anticipated — tumors on her brain, lungs, and kidney. At that point, the well-known Station Inn favorite took up residency on the sixth floor at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital.
Ann has clearly made a tremendous impact on Nashville’s talented community, as the sixth floor of Saint Thomas has become a music venue in its own right. With a constant flow of songwriters and singers, it has become quite common to see industry members greeting each other in the halls and on the elevator, all with the same plan in mind: to bring joy, happiness, and, of course, music to Ann.
The visitors Ann has received include Chris and Morgane Stapleton, who sat at Ann’s side, singing Townes Van Zandt’s “Rex’s Blues.” Grammy winning musician Shawn Camp also stopped by and he, along with Nashville vocalist Melonie Cannon, sang “Love Ain’t Leavin’.”
Though the days are hard, Ann is keeping a positive outlook and is embracing every exceptional moment she is sharing with these Nashville singers and songwriters whose lives she has touched. And one of those artists is Dierks Bentley, a “kid” Ann believed in the moment she met him many years ago.
Dierks Bentley was a kid who would sit in. I heard him one night, found out he had an independent CD, got it, and everything on it was great. We wound up being friends. I’d go to his shows, listen and sell his CDs, and I’d tell people, “you better hang onto this, he’s gonna be big someday.”
Ann couldn’t have been more right in predicting the future of Dierks, who is one of the biggest superstars in country music today. However, no matter how high Dierks’ fame soars and the number of cities he sells out, the appearances he will make in Ann’s room are the ones to which he (and she) will always hold on.
Follow me on Twitter @JenSwirsky
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