I’ve been told more than what I can count on one hand that I’m crazy for devoting the rest of my life to making a musical journey. I was furloughed from an IT career after 30 years in the industry, my dad was bedridden from a brainstem stroke, and my mom was worn out for being his caregiver at home for ten years. I’m an only child, and I decided to drop off the grid to take over caregiver duties back home. I didn’t have a family of my own so it was only a matter of cleaning up my affairs, selling my house, and packing up my stuff to put my relocation into play. That was 2006 and my dad passed away in 2011. I’m now raising my mom, which is another story in itself.
I always had a dream of playing guitar and making music rooted in my journeys through life. My dad was a real fan of Hank Williams, and I do mean the senior Hank, while my mom only had respect for classical music. When I was a youth playing violin, it wasn’t by choice, but the experience taught me how to read standard music notation and play music. When my mom would be out shopping my dad would put on a Hank LP and crank up the HiFi. I’d be holed up in my boy cave with the door cracked open so Hank’s voice could enter my room, tempting me to play country fiddle. That was a long time ago, but today some of those auditory memories are acoustically clear in my head.
After my dad had crossed over to the other side and my caregiver duties switched to raising my mom, I paid more attention to my dream of playing guitar and began my search for a music teacher. Several months later, I found a teacher, a practicing jazz guitarist who lived only a few miles from my house and was accepting new students. He wasn’t interested in teaching someone how to play Stairway to Heaven, but he would teach you what you needed to know in order to teach yourself how to learn to play it on your own. Guitar lessons riddled with music theory and hundreds and hundreds of hours of practicing scales—that’s the old school method I was looking for in a music teacher. My teacher is 18 years my junior, but he’s old school with a degree in music and was mentored by Ron Eshcete. I feel very fortunate to have discovered a music sensei that enjoys teaching and imparting his experience as a musician.
Three guitars later and acknowledging I have GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome), I’m past the point of no return, and I have no regrets. Some think I’m nuts. They ask: What’s the purpose? What will you do? Aren’t you too old to learn to play guitar? Don’t you think you’re wasting precious years on something as silly as music? Well, heck. That’s a real bummer for them to ask me those kinds of questions. I paid my dues in life and now it’s my turn to do what I want. I’ll get a job at Home Depot or the grocery store down the road when the time comes, until then I’m getting in tune and searching for my tone.