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For Songwriter Brian Oxley - It's Now or Never in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Brian Oxley is a celebrated and award-winning filmmaker and author who puts his heart and soul into every project he undertakes - and there's a lot of them. With over 35 years as a business leader, Brian Oxley has encountered and overcome many challenges and trials of the working world. These experiences have uniquely shaped him to encourage and inspire his readers - and those who help him tackle the long list of tasks that are on his ever-growing "to do" list. Oxley is unique. He grew up as a Westerner in Japan as the son of Christian missionaries. Thus, he was largely shielded from American culture and music. Still, that doesn't mean he shies away from it. In fact, he has literally jumped in feet first to save and restore several historic monuments made famous by two of America's most important icons - Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

For Songwriter Brian Oxley - It's Now or Never in Nashville
Brian Oxley with the log book for the final Johnny Cash recording project.

A strange thing happened to Oxley when he and his wife Sally moved back to the United States and settled in Nashville, Tennessee a little over five years ago. The pair discovered the music and legend of the Man in Black. Where most new fans might purchase a few albums to celebrate their fandom - this pair went on a buying spree - picking up famed Cash related properties and treasures throughout Middle Tennessee. Not content to keep the acquired real estate jewels to themselves together they have restored and opened a few of them to the public - most notably the Cash farm and Little Stage in Bon Aqua - that are quickly becoming beloved tourist destinations in Hickman County.

If you know the Oxleys this is rather expected behavior. The two have made a career out of passionately unearthing and restoring unique human interest stories that, without their input, would probably have been lost to the ages. Consider the tale of the turn of the century English painter who gave up her career to pursue missionary work in Algeria. In 2015, Oxvision Films released a feature-length documentary, "Many Beautiful Things: The Life and Vision of Lilias Trotter" that helped restore her place to greatness in the art world. The pair told a similar story when they presented "The Hound of Heaven" about the life of author Francis Thompson.

When Oxley learned that the Elvis Presley fan club and the office of Colonel Tom Parker in Madison, Tennessee was scheduled to be demolished to make way for a car wash he made a deal with the developer that allowed him several weeks to save as much of the property and its contents as possible. That effort has now been documented in a book and short film of the same name. "It's Now or Never" presents the salvage and preservation project with all the urgency the title implies and hints at future plans for the building that helped turned Elvis into the King of Rock and Roll.

For Songwriter Brian Oxley - It's Now or Never in Nashville
Some of Johnny and June's flashy apparel hang on display in Hendersonville.

Brian and Sally now live in the residence where Cash and his wife June Carter spent their final few months together - the Mama Cash House in Hendersonville. Settling in there Oxley has turned to a creative outlet as a newly minted and prolific songwriter. In Oxley, the spirit of Johnny Cash seems to have been reborn especially on a track titled "The Broad Way" that warns of the danger of excessive drinking with a characteristic Cash freight train style rhythm propelling the message. "I'm Blessed" is another one cut from the cloth of modern commercial country that is truly top notch. Oxley explained that his interest in crafting songs really only began - not coincidentally - four years ago and he spends the first two hours of every day working on his current passion to great result.

It's not just the Cash related buildings that the Oxleys are helping restore. Many members of the Cash clan are getting a boost from the revival of the Cash properties. Nephew Mark Alan Cash is a fixture at the Storytellers Hideaway Farm and Museum. Brian has also provided advice and direction to Thomas Gabriel - the grandson of Johnny - while helping guide his nascent career into one of the more remarkable comeback stories in the music industry. Both, Mark Alan and Thomas have been interpreters of Oxley's songs on a variety of recording projects.

When not restoring properties, making movies or writing songs Oxley enjoys producing music festivals on his expansive farm property in Bon Aqua. The upcoming "Hideaway Farm Songwriters Festival" on July 13, 2019 and the just announced third annual "Bon Aqua Bluegrass Festival 2019" on October 26 will push the pair past the two dozen mark in addition to the regular "Saturday Night in Hickman County" concerts they produce on a weekly basis. This event itself carries on a tradition launched by Johnny Cash in the 1970's and it only lives today thanks to the love and care of Brian and Sally Oxley and a whole lot of stubborn determination.

For Songwriter Brian Oxley - It's Now or Never in Nashville
"It's Now or Never" documents the effort to save the Elvis Fan Club building.

Related Links: For more information on BRIAN OXLEY and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Oxvision Media | Storytellers Hideaway Farm


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