I was 32 years old before I first played in public. My Dad played campfire type harmonica and I messed around with his harps when I was a kid, but never took it seriously. When I was 31, I heard Robert Barkley’s radio show “Juke Joint” on CMU public radio out of Mt. Pleasant, MI one Sunday night. Robert just happened to be featuring blues harp players in that show –Little Walter, Big Walter, Junior Wells –the usual suspects. I had never heard ANYTHING like that! I HAD to learn it. I became obsessed with practicing and learning about harmonica. I never did cop the classic blues sound because I quickly spun off into other genres, but I still love it. Eventually I was playing at jam sessions and stumbled into a band. My life changed… probably?? for the better…this music life is full of frustrations as well as fun.
I was a music lover before I was ever a musician…I came up listening to James Taylor, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Joni --all that iconic singer/songwriter stuff. Over the years I’ve written a few decent songs, but I was a harmonica player first and foremost. I started in bands playing funky blues, then blues rock, and later folk rock, and later still, ROCK rock. I wasn’t focusing on writing in those bands, but I’ve always been moved by a well written song. In the latest phase of my career I’ve become obsessed with improving my songwriting and attempting to develop enough guitar skills to actually play my songs. I’ve have been lucky to be around some great songwriters in my circle of friends and bandmates and it has really raised the bar of my expectations of my own tunes. I try hard to get them as good as I can.
One thing about starting later in life: you have a lot of material to draw on! My songs attempt to examine and explain the things that I care about and have experienced. There is a lot of heartache, joy, wonder, disgust, revelation, and humility in life that isn’t apparent when you are a kid.
I still love harmonica, always will, but I’m just as happy writing a song I feel good about as playing a killer solo.