Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lucky Man Blues

There are many ways that I was lucky growing up.

My house was always full of music, as was my grandparents house (where I lived from 2 to 5, and then summers until I was 16).

My mother and grandfather both prefered to work with music on when they could, and my aunts and uncles were all music nuts.

Papa loved music from classical, to 30s through 60s swing and jazz and pop standards, to Elvis, to show tunes (he and my grandmother both loved the classic musicals), to classic country, and even outlaw country (I first heard Waylon Jennings in my grandfathers home office). Of course, he also liked "beautiful music"... but nobody's perfect.

My mother loved classic rock, jazz vocals, R&B and soul. I heard Nina Simone, and Santana, and 70's Michael Jackson from my mother. She would play tapes of her favorites over and over, learning the vocals.

My dad was a guitar player and singer too, still is... Classic rock and blues. He even played at their wedding. Though I didn't see him from the age of 5 'til I was 20... the influence was still there (and he and I sing a lot a like).

Growing up, my mothers sisters and brothers were more like my older sisters and brothers. From them I learned to love hard rock, and punk, and folk, and "alternative" before it was labeled alternative. Husker Du, the Afghan Whigs, the Hoodoo Gurus, Stiff Little Fingers, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, the Lemonheads, the Pixies, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones...

We had family friends who were in the music business, concert promoters, managers, music producers. My grandfather's law firm had a lot of musicians and bands as clients.

I started vocal instruction at age 5. Was in a childrens performing chorus at age 8, and in choral competitions from age 13 through high school. I started music theory and appreciation classes at 12, learning piano and drums. I got my first guitar at 13, and my first bass a couple years later.

I have had a life completely full of music. I can't really imagine being otherwise. I've been a very lucky man.