A bit about me, music & art...
about me & music... (amended 6-4-23)
Born January 16th, 1953 in Cincinnati, Ohio USA. I grew up south of the river in northern Kentucky, during a time when guitar music was exploding all around me. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin & Cream were a few heavy hitters of the day. Growing up during the 50s & 60s was indeed eye opening. Almost magical for a teenaged country boy who waited with fervor for his weekly dose of "Jelly Pudding". "JP" was a local radio show that presented music from the emerging rock bands of the day for just a few short hours on the weekend, exposing it to my little corner of the world via a transistor radio.
When I was 12, a friend's younger brother, Joe, taught me “Tom Dooley”. I went home & played it for my Dad. (I have no memory of trying to play anything on Dad's guitar before this. Just saying.) The next day, my friend, Dexter, taught me “Wild Wood Flower”. I went home & played that for Dad as well. This inspired him to go out on the third day & buy me a Gibson Melody Maker & an amp from a pawn shop. Not too far down the road, the first song I taught myself mostly by ear was “Purple Haze”. Dad asked, "What happened to the Country music?". The rest is history.
From the time I was 17, I have been involved in bands that focused on original & improvised music. Known mostly as a teacher, which I have been doing on & off since I was 21, I only performed live several times a year, till my stint with a Cincinnati based Irish/Celtic/Americana band known as “the Flock”. I considered myself lucky to be a member of "the Flock" for almost 4 years.
I've had the privilege of hosting several notable jams at some of the tri-state's coolest Blues venues, like Lucille's, Jazzmania & Mansion Hill Tavern. As of March 2020, I'd been hosting the Monday night open mic at Mansion Hill for 11 years. Also hosted an open jam at Jane's Saddlebag for a few summers. (On Friday the 13th, of March 2020, I stopped performing in public events. Just keeping busy with music & art projects.)
Some bands I have shared significant sonic time with are: P.O.E., Dunharrow, LAZER, Latter Rain, Eat at Joe's, Swing Shift, Legal Tender, John Redell & the Bottom Line, Sweet Alice & the Unfinished Business Blues Band, 2 Days Away, the Flock, MC Blue, Shepherd's Pi, John Redell & the Company He Keeps, II Juicy, the Chuck Land Band, the Hedgehogs, Erin Coburn's Cosmic Chaos, Deb O & Montague, Moonshine & Wine...
Before 2020, beyond solo performances & the open mic at Mansion Hill Tavern, I considered myself a "hired gun" & enjoyed the honor of playing in several duos with occasional band events. A few of the folk I hung out with were: Deb O, Ma Crow, Laura Hasek, Nancy Jordan Blackmore, Erin Coburn, Lisa Biales, Dale Asher, Dixon L. Creasey Jr., Dave Gilligan, Rick Howell, John Shoemaker, James Funk, Chuck Brisbin...
Events, venues & stages I am grateful to have experienced: Cory's, Burbank's, the annual Summer & Winter Blues Fests sponsored by the Cincy Blues Society, the Celtic Festival, the Wang Dang Doodle Festival, the Redmoor, the IBC on Beale Street in Memphis, 20th Century Theater, WAIF, Arnold's (for several years, I was there once a month as one of their Bluesday Tuesday artists), Leo Coffeehouse, Eden Song, Stanley's, Arlin's, Coco's, Northside Tavern, Mad Frog, Front Street Café, Jane's Saddlebag, Big Song Music House, Dilly Deli, Lucille's, Jazzmania, Sawyer Point, Germania Park, Devou Park's Band Shell amphitheater, Eden Park's Seasongood Pavilion, Fountain Square, Wunderbar, Mansion Hill Tavern.
I was with the Cincy Blues Society’s "Blues In The Schools” for 20 years, doing presentations & being a mentor to the overall BITS program. This is one of my life's greatest chapters. The numerous BITS performers I have been fortunate enough to mentor, their cool parents, the Society & their awesome volunteers, the folk who were always so supportive in the audience, the performances I have witnessed all add up to a great big ol' feeling of gratitude.
“Being part of so many musical expressions had its ups & downs. The only real downside was loss of leisure time. But since I enjoyed the company of the folk I played with, it was a downside with a silver lining.”
I've been asked on many occasions who I thought influenced me the most. I decided to compile a quick tally off the top of my head. With no thought of rhyme or reason, I quickly put down the following names as they came to me:
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Almost chronological. As a teacher, I had students bringing in recordings of numerous, unknown to me, guitarists. The waters are deep on this topic. I am grateful to have been exposed to such diverse music & incredible musicians.
(a year later)
With little thought of rhyme or reason, a 2nd pass (with a few add-ons):
Eddie Van Halen
John Lee Hooker
about my guitar suites...
Since Friday the 13th, of March 2020, I have recorded hundreds of instrumental guitar pieces. Some for collaboration, but most are being compiled into dozens of suites, as part of an ever growing catalogue. A majority of the pieces are from what I call "the world's longest guitar solo". Created in the moment. A continual stream of notes from start to finish. About as fresh a piece of sonic fruit that anyone can pick.
I just record till there is enough material for a few loops or a single track. Then immediately go to the next track & respond to what was recorded. Most of the solos are the 1st take. Many are a single complete pass. If I slip off the pony, I back up a few seconds, get back on & continue the process until the end. Hence, "the world's longest guitar solo".
Soon after finishing the guitar tracks I add a beat (often just enough to define some parameters). Then a bit of mastering. Very few of the pieces had any pre-thought about key or style. Improv of the purest essence...