EXCLUSIVE: Son of Memphis couple killed in Gatlinburg Fires talks about the future
NASHVILLE, Tenn.– It’s been nearly six months since a Memphis couple was killed in the Gatlinburg fires. Jon and Janet Summers left behind three sons and for the first time since it happened, we’re hearing from one of them. Branson, Jared and Wesley all live in Nashville now. The three were vacationing with their parents just after Thanksgiving in East Tennessee when they were all caught in the wildfires.
And Branson spoke exclusively with WREG’s Bridget Chapman today as he and his brothers prepare for a show tonight in the Music City. That show will be the first the brothers have performed together in over a year.
With burn marks still on his hands, Branson Summers shares how he and his brothers are doing since the Gatlinburg fires devastated their family, “We’re back together and it’s just the most important thing to be together and stay together.”
Branson says he, Jared, and Wesley have become closer than ever in these past five months, “Everybody just cares more. We’re looking after each other a lot more.”
He says the love between them grew tremendously after going through losing their parents last year in the wildfires that ripped through Gatlinburg. The family was there on vacation when they were trapped in a villa that burned during the fires.
The two were huge influences in their sons’ lives and encouraged their passion of music.
Which is why Branson says he’d know they’d approve of them getting back on the stage tonight for the first time, “I just know that they’re super proud and that’s all I can hope to do is keep them proud.”
The brothers’ band “Renaissance Fair” broke up before the tragedy happened, as they all went their separate ways with scheduling and music tastes. That was until a friend and former manager asked them to reunite for his band’s show in Nashville. Michael Rowe says they all said yes, and were excited to accept, “That means the world to me because they disbanded for awhile and that was, not devastating, but I was pretty bummed about it.”
As for what’s next for the Summers brothers, all of them have big plans for the summer that include travel. Branson says travel is something his parents also encouraged, “It’s kind of been passed down, we grew up with a map on our wall that our dad would always get pins from different places he visited and he’d put them on the map, so we’ve always been like one day, we’ll go there, one day, we’ll go there.”
The Summers Brothers are playing at 7 p.m. Friday night at The End in Nashville.