Bryan Wayne Galentine
I am extremely fortunate to have had a career as a songwriter for more than 25 years now. Music has always been a huge part of my life, and I know how blessed I am; doing what I love every single day.
Not everyone can say that they’ve written a hit country music single, or heard their songs performed on the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Television. It really is pretty fun to stand in a crowd at a concert, and hear the audience sing along to a song that you wrote. I’ve even won an award or two for my work.
I have made my living working alongside some of the very best in the music business – numerous ‘Songwriters of the Year,’ world-class musicians, and Grammy-nominated engineers and producers. I even met my wife recording a song I wrote (that’s its own story).
But a lot of that changed when I was diagnosed with ALS in April of 2017. It was a pretty terrifying time, and I knew the road ahead for me and my family was not going to be easy. Beyond the many other symptoms, the prospect of losing my voice became more and more real as each day went by; I had an increasingly difficult time swallowing and developed a persistent cough.
As I realized that my wife, my two sons, and my friends may never really hear my voice again, I decided to do something I never thought I would have – I put on my “singer” hat and made my own record.
I couldn’t think of anything better to give them than the music I wrote and sang myself – me, finally singing my own songs after so many years. With the incredible support of some old pals from the music industry, and the generosity of many close friends, I began writing and recording. For the first time, I felt I had put my own ‘voice’ into the music and lyrics – literally and figuratively. The album, While You Wait, became a series of positive messages that I hoped would inspire others, and a few songs I wrote about or for my wife and sons.
It’s funny, really – I guess I only found my voice once I started to lose it.
The process really taught me to better appreciate my wife, my sons, my family, my friends, and life in general. I wish I had gotten that wake-up call some other way, but if it took getting ALS to wake me up, so be it.
I want to help spread awareness about this disease, and why it’s so important for us to work to find a cure. I have decided instead of being angry and bitter about my diagnosis, I am going to take this opportunity to remind my friends and family how fleeting life is, and how important it is to appreciate every second. ALS has taught me to try my best, and to not take a single second for granted. Some days it’s easier said than done, but I’m trying.
At our album release party last year, my co-writers joined me on stage to help support me and sing the songs off the record. In all honesty, I needed their help; by then, ALS had essentially taken my singing voice. I had recorded the songs just in time.
Ashley Gorley, Neil Thrasher, Bonnie Baker, Jason Blaine, Joanna Janet, Big & Rich, James Otto – some of the best in the music business were right there by my side performing the songs I wrote. It was one of the best nights of my life.
I hope these songs inspire people for many years to come – to live in the moment, enjoy being with loved ones, and to always make time for what makes you happy. To quote one of the songs on the album – “To take a little time… rewind… and simplify.”
To Listen to Bryan’s album, “While You Wait”, click Here.
To Follow Bryan on Instagram, click Here.