Introducing...Me. And My Music
Me and my music. You can't separate them.
When it was decided that Dallas (my Nashville Access co-host) and I would start writing blogs, I was a little stressed. Okay...more than a little stressed. Other than being on the radio and doing podcasts--where opinion very seldom enters into the equation--why would anyone really care what I thought. I started thinking about topics--and a framework for my opinion. My wife Jo-Leah, a very talented songwriter, singer, and the only one I trust to have my best interests at heart, said "You're such a music geek, why don't you write about music--all of the music you love?".
I dislike saying the trendy "aha moment" so I'll use a big word I learned: epiphany.
So here we are. Me and my music.
In order to get this show on the road, as they say, let's start at the beginning. The place where I first understood what music could do to me and for me.
When I was seven years old, the local Conservatory of Music was peddling music lessons door-to-door. When the knock came to our front door (usually when someone in a suit came to our front door, my mother would rush to turn off the lights and scold my brother and I to "be quiet and pretend we're not home."), my parents answered it and invited the suited, respectable-looking person in to talk about music lessons. I wanted to play guitar and my younger brother wanted to play accordion. Well, it wasn't long before a family friend, Bob Wingrove (a legendary Canadian steel guitar player who played for The Family Brown, Gordie Tapp, Ian Tyson, The Good Brothers and more) told my parents to push me into steel guitar because "he'll always get work."
Before too long, there I was. In a class with a handful of kids, all of us with acoustic guitars on our laps. From there, I progressed to a Gibson lap steel. By the time I was 12, Bob had built me my first real pedal steel guitar. That's what you see in the picture. Rosewood and Birdseye Maple, with all Sho-Bud workings underneath. In the picture, I had just taken part in a competition in Toronto and won First Place. Incredibly wide tie not withstanding, I was pretty happy. If I recall correctly, I played something by Hank Williams and something from Patsy Cline. At that age, I was really into Merle and Buck. In fact, I was a member of the Buck Owens International Fan Club. So there.
I played country music. That's all I liked at the time. Needless to say, in the early 70s, liking country music and playing pedal steel didn't win me many friends--or later, girls. I think I realized that I was a card carrying geek. But I didn't care. I couldn't change. I wouldn't change.
My steel guitar teacher was a man named Eric Golding. He was alway pushing me to learn other kinds of music. He would teach us songs by Chicago, Eagles, The Love Unlimited Orchestra. Nothing was out of bounds. For that, I thank him. He opened my eyes. Opened my world. He showed me that there were no limits to what I could do. And then, I got my first double-ten steel. E9th Chromatic on the top neck (the country tuning) and C6th on the bottom neck--and I discovered Western Swing and Jazz. I went to steel guitar conventions in St. Louis every year and watched guys like Buddy Emmons, Curly Chalker, Lloyd Green and others playing all kinds of music. In fact, Emmons used to play the theme music from All In The Family--and his version of the theme from the movie Once Upon A Time In The West was definitive.
So here we are. Almost 50 years after being "pushed" into an instrument I didn't like but learned to love, and I realize that that instrument was the key to the vehicle that took me everywhere I've been. From Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, The Who, Iron Maiden...any great rock or metal band you can think of...to George Strait, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Aaron Watson; Metal, Rock, Country, Jazz, Western Swing, Blues. From a small town in Canada to London, England and then to Nashville, Tennessee. Me and my music have been all over.
Every week, I'll be posting about all of the music I love. Maybe a review here or there. But it's not just about me. It's also about you. Stick with me. I'll post the link to my blog on all of the Nashville Access social media, and my own social media sites--and I want to hear from you. Your comments, your opinions. We may not always agree on things--and that's okay. Better than okay. to steal a thought from John Mellencamp and his recent documentary, art---music, is about one person's imagination connecting with another person's imagination. They don't have to connect. And that's cool.
Join me....and my music. Right here, every week.