Music has always been an integral part of my life. My grandfather was a musician and craftsman, who hand made brass mouthpieces for trumpets. One uncle was a young violin virtuoso who, as a teenager, played on live radio in New York City in the early 1930’s, another played piano and organ professionally, and my father was an accomplished harmonica player who once came to the attention of Roy Acuff in the mid-30’s.
I was thus exposed to all types of music from a very early age and probably knew as much about Big Bands and classical music as I did The Beatles and rock groups of the 60’s. My earliest impression of the guitar itself was in 1957, when I saw Les Paul play his “Black Beauty” on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. To this day music is a varied constant in my home, with everything from Mahler, Sinatra, and Mancini, to Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.
Still another uncle was someone who could play any instrument - guitar, accordion, saxophone, harmonica...if it produced sound, he could play it. I began to play in March 1960, when he (my first and only guitar teacher) and my aunt gave me my first guitar, a plywood Kay Airline D4 from a Montgomery Ward catalog, which I still have. (See the Gallery page.)
Armed with Mel Bay books volumes 1 and 2, I learned how to play. However, my lack of patience moved me away from any formal study and I found that playing by ear was a quicker way to play more exciting and enjoyable music. My new guitar teachers thus became radio, TV and our extensive record collection. One album, “Chet Atkins in Hollywood,” was particularly important to me as I played along with it until it seems the grooves (and my fingers) wore out. (See more about this album in the Chet tab above.) Then along came the Beatles in 1964, and I was forever to be a "by ear" guitarist.
Although I always wanted to be a professional musician the road I took was quite circuitous. Following a family tradition, I was on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1971-1978. After earning a Bachelor's Degree from George Mason University, I spent another 16 years as a U.S. Government officer where I was fortunate to live and work overseas. My wife, Debra, and I were married in Vienna in 1986 and it is still my favorite city anywhere in the world. (Needless to say my exposure to classical music benefited greatly by living there for so many years.) I then worked in the private sector, mostly in management, until finally retiring in 2017. Now I get to devote full time to the guitar, which has culminated in the release of my first two albums and the digital single, "March of the Manouche Toys."
I am also working on a digital single of a Gypsy Jazz standard to be released before the end of the year and two more albums scheduled for release in early to mid 2021.