These days, like a griot or medieval troubadour, Rhyant uses music to tell the stories of those who came before him, allowing people to not only understand, but emotionally connect with, history. When his 93 year-old mother-in-law came to hear his Sam Cooke show—where he mixes performances of Cooke’s music with stories about his life—she threw her hip out dancing. “She couldn’t get up the stairs the next day,” Rhyant laughs, “but every now and then she asks, ‘When are you going to do that Sam Cooke show again?’”
Rhyant is well on his way to fulfilling his youthful dream of seeing the world. But now he realizes that the traveling is only a byproduct of his real calling—making people happy by sharing the music he loves, and thereby keeping its history alive.