“Let’s start at the very beginning…..” When I think back on my love of music and key influences of that love, it occurs to me that it all came together in the most unlikely manner. I was about six years old and a Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “Do Re Mi”, suddenly explained the concept of music to me. It was a six year olds “ah-ha” moment. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like a switch labeled “genius” was flipped and I knew all and understood all about music. But there was a definite connection. Music made sense and I loved it.
Music played an important role in my family as I was growing up. My mother was a singer, my step-father played the guitar and me and my siblings were encouraged to become involved with music in its various forms. We all did. Then on one fateful night, February 9th 1964, while watching the Ed Sullivan Show on television I saw a musical group called The Beatles and I was hooked. I was mesmerized by their music and how much fun they seemed to be having playing it. I said to myself “That’s what I want to do”. And since that day, the desire has remained strong. I started playing the saxophone in the 5th grade. A few years later I taught myself to play the guitar. As I was learning to play the guitar I also began playing the string bass and bass guitar.
Life choices led to distractions of a variety of things. Family, jobs, school…times and people who hold special places in my heart. But running through all those years was the music. Even if I wasn’t performing it was always in my head. Since February 9th, 1964 a lot has happened “in my life”. I have been fortunate enough to be able to continue to play my music in many different genres and settings from garage bands, acoustic duos and trios, rock bands, country bands, and solo work. I have been able to perform on television, in foreign countries, at festivals, on street corners, in restaurants, in coffeehouses, for weddings, in libraries, in jails, at open mics, in talent shows, in churches and at small intimate gatherings.
Through it all I can honestly say the joy I received from music has been immeasurable. Some of my musical accomplishments have included the recording of 3 albums of music. The first is a CD of cover tunes entitled “Songman”. The second CD, “Closer To My Dreams” contains original songs that deal with a variety of subjects in a folksy style. My newest CD, DYRKH, (which stands for Do You Really Know Him) presents a very different subject matter and is a collection of gospel songs that I wrote during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
In 1994, I won a "Certificate Of Special Achievement" from "Billboards" 1994 Songwriters Competition for my song "Tell Me, America". This song now appears on my DYRKH CD. In 2001, in Chesapeake Virginia, I was a winner in the Green Sea Festival songwriting competition for my environmental song "The Lesson". I had several of my original songs included on compilation recordings. My "Fatty Fatty Two By Four" appears on the Tidewater Entertainers Association's CD entitled Breakout Vol I. My song "Changing Planes In Pittsburgh" was included on the Williamsburg Virginia Recovery Fest 2005 compilation CD entitled Celebrate Recovery. I added my vocal talents to two songs on the CD "Getaway" by Mike Aiken on Northwind Records. In addition, I sang background vocals (with a host of other singers) on the song “Taco Bell Canon” on the Trifolkal 2010 release “Winkin’”.
Much like “The Long And Winding Road”, here I am today. Now I spend my time with the music that has become a part of me through the years. It might be the melodies and lyrics of others that have meaning for me. Or my own songs that are a reflection of the journey I have traveled. But my being is happy to be holding my guitar and sharing the music with those who enjoy listening.