In 2014, I happened to be playing an R&B gig in a club. Matt Greco, a local sound engineer, was in the audience there and came up afterwards to ask me if I would like to play some guitar on a country music project. I said, “Sure.” This is part of the session that followed, with me playing Matt’s Telecaster.
I was inspired to arrange this instrumental version of Paul McCartney’s wonderful tune, Blackbird. The intro was inspired by something I saw Martin Taylor play. I asked him about the intro, and chuckling, asked him if I could steal it for my own use. He said, “Sure, I stole it from Johnny Smith”. Martin and I shared a number of such stories in that time period around 2011.
This is a favorite solo guitar piece that I learned a long time ago. I think I was fifteen when the Yes album, Fragile came out, which included this tune by Steve Howe. He was one of my favorite guitarists at that impressionable age, so I immediately took on the task of figuring out how it play it. It remains in my repertoire to this day. My version of it has probably evolved a little over the years.
This is a little piece of a demo that I recorded, featuring vocalist Chrissy Faith. Chrissy was a popular and highly employed backup singer in the 80s and 90s and nominated for best rock vocalist for a voice over she did in the movie, No Small Affair. She went on to singing jazz where we hooked up in Portland, OR in 2000-2001. This piece also features my good friends Gary Irvine on drums and Dan Davis on bass.
In 1966, I started playing the guitar, inspired by my older brother Denny, who played bass in a local top-40 band. I was also accustomed to seeing Dan Fogelberg lead his band, The Coachman, at the time. (Dan and Denny were high school age – not at the same school). On Christmas eve that year I was gifted with my own instrument. It was destiny that it was an archtop, the instrument type I would return to later in my journey. This one was pretty rough, but I was thrilled! My niece Laurie is looking under the tree, I imagine to see what other surprises are looming. This photo was taken at our house on Jefferson Street in Washington, IL.