Mom and Dad bought a Kimball Organ when I was about seven years old. That purchase came with six weeks of free lessons for the family and I was always excited to go get a new song each week and practice it with my Mom. I would sit beside her while she played and we sang the words to those songs she loved from Moon River to Don't Fence Me In.
My thirteenth summer we took an extended working/vacation and I became very ill and could not get out. Ralph, a friend of the family who went with us and was a guitar player, told my Dad he would teach me to play if I had a guitar. Dad bought one for me at a department store and Ralph sat with me every evening teaching me simple songs. The next year, I got my first "real" guitar and, with John Denver, Batdorf and Rodney and America as my inspirations, I began writing simple songs and playing folk music at campfires, weddings and local festivals.
The years after High School found me in California working for the park service and playing evenings in campgrounds and restaurants. Abilene,Texas was the next stop. With its wild and woolly mix of a low drinking age (that being 18), public dance halls and private clubs, I found my self singing Linda Ronstadt and Willie Nelson covers behind chicken wire. But, I had the honor of playing one night a week for several months at Mel Tillis's "The Old Sawmill", The Town Crier Steakhouse, a pool bar, whose name I can't remember ( might be a good thing ) near the back gate of the base, and a fundraiser for the Veterans Hospital with Rex Allen, Rex Allen Jr and Johnny Gimble. I got out of Abilene with my guitar, my 1970 Chevy Impala 350,some real good stories and 10 stitches around my eye. (From one of those nights there was not enough chicken wire in the state Texas to protect the band)
Back in Ohio and of age I hit the local Dayton folk scene once again, including playing Sam's on 5th st, The Trolly Stop in the Oregon District and was a performer on opening night at Mick Montgomery's Canal Street Tavern, where I later tended bar. Brisco's Lounge, Winds Cafe, Tuty's Inn, my goodness, it was time of good gigs, many of them sit downs where a player could make a living.
I took 10 plus years off from professional performance when I ended up back in Texas( not Abilene) and raising my two daughters alone. I did not quit playing, though, often sitting in with friends and bands where I tended bar. After coming to Arizona in 1990 I later fell in with the Western and Cowboy crowd whose type of music I had been playing and writing all along. My association with this lovely but tiny genre provided much inspiration to grow and stretch in my songwriting and performance abilities, but seeking wider and broader opportunities to perform, as well as present The Heart of It All workshops, I once again perform in the Folk genre, especially my self coined "South Western Americana".