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Only in America

Leslie Brown

Only in America could a homeless man become an overnight gospel singing sensation from a tip from a hot-dog vendor!

Swedish country singer, Jill Johnson (YES you read that correctly!) was filming a documentary on Nashville, Tennessee for Swedish television.

She and the producers were looking for “down on their luck” musicians, and were directed to local The Little Pantry that Could for one of their “Unplugged Nights” where songwriters gathered.

By this time, Doug Seegers was known as “The King” amongst his small following, at the Pantry venue, but he was no doubt “beat-up” from the battles of both addiction and depression his 17 years in Nashville and lacking in self-confidence.

Finally he was persuaded to sing for the talent scouts by someone he trusted, the owner of The Pantry. Like they say, the rest is history.

He sat in the grass, by the alley, and sang, “I’m going down to the river, to wash my soul again/ I been running with the devil, and I know he is not my friend.”

Host Johnson and guest artist Magnus Carlsson were stunned.

“That was the most beautiful thing I’ve heard,” Carlsson said in the moment, which was televised but not scripted for television. “Straight both to the brain and the heart.”

Johnson, who has released 17 albums, frequently comes to Nashville to collaborate with Tennessee musicians. She’d never heard anyone like Doug Seegers.

“I was blown away by the moment,” she says. “There, outside the shelter, I fell in tears.”(1)


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