When I was 13 years old I remember mentioning to my parents that I wanted a drum set. Somehow that ended up being changed to a guitar. So one Christmas I got an electric guitar from my mom. That is how my serious musical journey began. Before this I had played the trumpet but I never did like it nor was I ever any good at it. I was next to last chair I think the whole time I was in middle school.
I took guitar lessons for awhile, I look back on it and I can’t say I learned a whole bunch. My instructors were heavy on the theory and didn’t spend any time on playing SIMPLE songs and developing my ears. Besides playing with the guitar ensemble at the music store I didn’t do much playing with others. I did get involved with the jazz band in High School as I got older but I can’t say that we met regularly. If this is the only place my musical journey led me I would not be a musician today, in fact I don’t think I would be much of a player because at this point I could not play a whole song, could not hear chord changes, could not improvise/keep time accurately. Although I did love music and practiced a lot, I just didn’t have proper guidance.
However, when I was 15 years old I had went with my grandfather to the local fleamarket. I was up a few booths looking through old LP’s. At this time I was into electric blues guitar, hard rock and some heavy metal. I remember my grandfather came and got me and told me he wanted me to see something. A few booths down an old man was playing the banjo. My grandfather told me if I would go over to the banjo and if I could make some sounds come out of it he would buy it for me. It was a $100 Kay banjo, I still have it. When he was younger he had always wanted to learn the banjo but couldn’t afford one. So I guess he passed his dream on through me. Honestly, I didn’t know anything about bluegrass and I can’t say I thought I’d ever learn to play the banjo. I was at some family gathering and somebody told me “You ever heard of Flatt and Scruggs?” I was like NOPE, who are they? Anyways, the next week I’m walking through Best Buys (this was back in the cassette tape days), and I go by one of those $5.00 tape bins and sitting right on top of it is FLATT AND SCRUGGS!!! So I grabbed the tape, anxious to figure who these people are. All I can remember is “Flinthill Special” came on and I thought it was pretty cool because it was FAST. However, then came “You’re Love is Like a Flower” and I couldn’t turn it off fast enough. The singing was AWFUL. To make a long story short, the music and even the singing grew on me. I found myself wanting to learn this new style of music. I bought the Earl Scruggs book, took some lessons and fast forward two years later found some local musicians to jam with at an Ice Cream Parlour (of all places!)……………TO BE CONTINUED