Written on July 3, 2018
I grew up in a musical family. My father had played trumpet in high school but gave it up when he joined the Navy during World War II. After the end of the war he met my mother and they began raising a large family. I am the eldest of nine.
But, my dad never gave up his love of music. He was the first on the block to own a stereo system. I remember it well: two slant front wooden speaker cabinets about 12″ tall powered by two tube amplifiers. Stereo LPs were a new thing and I remember his first album: the Dukes of Dixieland. The stereo spread was exaggerated but boy did it sound glorious compared to our previously monophonic-only ears. Over the years he collected over 300 LPs ranging from Herb Alpert to Sarah Vaughan to Ella Fitzgerald and everything in between.
I attended a Catholic grade school. In the third grade a new nun, Sister Delores, came to our classroom and played the violin. She announced that she was available for private lessons on the violin. At age eight I had a newfound passion for music.
When I got home from school that day I begged my parents to let me learn to play the violin. And so began six years of private classical lessons on the violin. I learned to read music and was challenged to learn syncopation. The basics have served me well over the years!
Written on May 15, 2017
Yes, after quite a hiatus, I’m back! Life has a way of dealing surprises, eh? I’ve been derailed by a few major events that have taken me away from the music that I love. But, I’m still here and ready to have at it again!
For those who don’t know me, I am a musician and former Electronics Engineer, IT Guy, and website developer and website hosting provider. (Well, technically, I’m still doing the hosting thing, but I have plans to phase that out next year.) As a musician, I play guitar (electric and acoustic), five-string violin (electric and acoustic) and mandolin (electric only because I’ve not yet purchased an acoustic mandolin).
I’ve been making music since I was eight years old. I started with violin lessons for 6 years. At age 14 I heard my first Beatles song and was hooked on rock and roll. I taught myself to play the guitar, joined/created a rock and roll band in the ’60s and played lead guitar with that band, “The Rejects.” I was in high school and we played virtually every weekend until I graduated. In the early ’70s I picked up the violin again, at that time a four string acoustic, and asked myself a question that was unthinkable as a classical violin student: “How do you play an ‘A’ chord on this thing?” That began a journey of improvisation on the violin.
I have had the pleasure of playing rock, bluegrass, country, reggae and fingerstyle acoustic guitar in alternate tunings. My journey has led me to some wonderful singer/songwriters and to stages from Colorado to Atlanta to New York City. Studio sessions followed and I had the distinct pleasure of having one of my violin sessions used in the Ken Burns “America’s Best Idea: The National Parks” series on public television. And, an original song of mine was used in the made-for-TV documentary: “Woodstock Now and Then”.
It is through music that I met my wife, singer/songwriter Anne Lalley, and moved from my home state of Wisconsin to the incredibly beautiful Western North Carolin city of Asheville in 1999. With Anne’s encouragement, I worked with her on her second CD, “Jungle Heart”, playing violin. She produced my first CD of all-original instrumental music, “Primebel“, which garner spots on three “Best of…” lists when it was released. It has been a wonderful journey!
I hope to start blogging on this site to share the joy of making music. I want to share what I’ve learned and how I approach improvisation on guitar and violin. I hope you will join me on this journey and be a part of the dialog.