I still remember the first time I heard “Theme from A Summer Place”. Odd song for a 13 year old boy to be drawn to…but I was mesmerized by it. That song was playing on a neighbors radio, probably an oldies station since it was now 1970. “Moon River” is another song I was easily drawn into. These two songs remain among my top favorites.
My first guitar, a nylon stringed Alvarez, arrived on my 16th birthday. Most guitarists I’ve known started at a much younger age. Actually, I didn’t know I was interested in playing the guitar until I got one.
There wasn’t a musical history in my family, other than my mothers 2nd cousin being Roy Acuff (a.k.a. ‘King of Country Music’) – but that “shirt-tail” cousin was a far distance away in miles and connection.
Although my mother would have loved for me to become a Country musician I navigated toward the music I was listening to…Hard Rock. I spent my first six to seven years as a guitarist being in Heavy Metal and Punk bands. I kind of chuckle about that now. 😉
From the time of my first guitar I have composed [mainly] instrumental songs. Though there are a great many lyric based songs I have heard and liked I seem to gravitate naturally to the instrumental style. Kind of hard to explain, but it’s like I hear more going on in a solo guitar piece than in a multi-instrument song with singing.
By the early ’80s my Rock’n’Roll and long hair days were coming to an end. I found myself returning to the acoustic guitar, genuinely enjoying the sound and new compositions. I hadn’t ventured into Fingerstyle yet and it would be several years before hearing the songs of Will Ackerman and Michael Hedges. Fortunately I had learned the finger picking skill early on and stayed with it which was quite beneficial when the interest in alternate/open tunings came along.
In 1983 I was asked to join the Worship band at a church I had started attending. (I became a Christ follower at 17 years of age but it took a while to get serious about it.) It was here that music took on a truer meaning for me, and the place I learned the healing affect music can have on a person. Since this time I have always wanted what I do musically to have this aspect about it.
As the ’90s approached I had been a musician for 16 years but hadn’t really accomplished what I thought I should have by then – that is to say I had not “made it”. A few of the guys I played with in the past had gone on to get record deals. I made a decision to focus on a non-music career. As I got older I awoke to the fact that the term “made it” has nothing to do with the essence of being a musician.
Until 2004 my endeavors in music were always geared to being in a band. But I began composing many more solo guitar Fingerstyle songs during that year, which I initially didn’t know what I would do with them. A close friend continued to encourage me to expose these new compositions to a live audience. For the first time I performed as a solo artist…and I actually felt “at home” in this mode.
In 2006, at age 48, I released my first album, “Clearly”, as a solo artist. I remember thinking at the time this was all I needed to record; I had “said” what I wanted with my music. But this first recording just opened the door for many more compositions to come my way, which in turn found their way onto subsequent albums. Honestly, with that first recording I wondered if any one actually cared to hear what I was saying musically. I am thankful there are people all over the world who enjoy what I compose and record.
And I hope my music will enable you to escape the noise and enjoy some quiet moments.
Being a teenager at the time, I soon migrated to the electric guitar. I wanted to mimic the Hard Rock music I was into. I was in a number of original bands then, yet there remained a love for acoustic guitar music that was introduced to me by a sister listening to her Crosby, Stills & Nash and Neil Young records…before I even learned how to play.
I never became known on the music circuit. I didn’t hang out with musicians up in L.A. or Hollywood very much. I never met or knew anyone famous. I did however play in a band with Robert Sweet – best known for being the drummer of Stryper. A few years into being a Rock guitarist the crush of fleeting fame came. It caused the band to break up; I never played in a Rock band again.
In the early ’80s I became a rhythm guitarist in a Worship band at a church I had started attending. I had become a Christ follower at age 17 but only got serious about it in my mid 20’s. I spent three years in this group. It is here I learned music can be a healing affect in the heart, body and mind. I would not trade this experience for anything.
Around 1989, fifteen years into being a musician/songwriter, I had failed to become “someone”. I was disappointed. I sold all my performing and recording gear, keeping only one acoustic guitar.
The early 90’s found me managing a truly great rock band, Sunday Silents. The drummer, a personal friend, was in the band and invited me to a gig. I told them they should get a manager…they chose me! Later I spent five years as lead guitarist in my most favorite band to have ever been in, Purple Mountain Matinee. The decade ended with me leaving PMM and once again disappearing from the musical landscape.
In 2004 I began exploring alternate tunings on the guitar after having listened to – over and over again – the Guitar Passion album by Dallas Gordon. This one album inspired a return to playing, composing and recording my own music. And I found a more proper place and expression in being an instrumentalist. In 2006 I recorded my first album, ‘Clearly‘, under my own name, thirty-two years after first learning how to play the guitar.
At 48 years of age I determined music would have a more prominent place in my life, and I’ve been steadily composing and recording ever since.
I hope my music will enable you to escape the noise and enjoy some quiet moments.