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For as long as I can remember, music has always been a part of me, providing a rhythm and backbeat for my life. When I look back at the past, I realize almost every significant memory is referenced and accompanied by its own song. Even my dreams have soundtracks. As a kid, music was everywhere. My dad played in a big band during the late fifties; so naturally, my musical training began with me playing his old trumpet in the elementary school band. Mom loved the old Methodist hymns she was raised on. When she played The Old Rugged Cross on her upright Wurlitzer, the heavy chords echoed off the polished pinewood floors and into every crevice of our old Florida Home. My teenaged big sister and her friends used to huddle in her room playing 45’s or listening to pop hits on the radio. I remember the muted chorus of Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues filtering though her walls into my room. As a young teen, I dreamed of playing in a rock and roll band. I used lock myself in the upstairs bathroom (it had the best acoustics in the house), and vainly try to emulate Gary Puckett’s powerful voice on Young Girl and Lady Willpower. I realized quickly I didn’t have the chops or the rage to sing like him. So I started gravitating towards singer/songwriters like Bob Dylan and Neil Young – vocally not the best, but they created wonderful music, nonetheless. When I was 13, my future brother-in-law sold me, what might very well be, the ugliest guitar of all time. It looked (and played) like it had been run over by a car. He taught me my first song, House of the Rising Sun. For the next couple of years, I played the strings off that guitar. I taught myself songs off the radio and attempted to memorize a few woefully bad lead guitar riffs. During and after high school, I jammed with friends who had bands, but I never made a serious commitment to music. Over the next decade, I picked up the guitar occasionally, usually to see if I could still play anything at all. My wife knew me better than I knew myself, and she put a beautiful Ovation Legend on layaway. She spent the better part of my 29th year paying it off and gave it to me for my 30th birthday. Other than my son, it’s remains the very best gift I’ve ever received from anybody. Playing the harmonica my uncle gave me; making up songs with my sisters and brother on long trips in the truck camper; driving around in a Chevy Vega with my best friend, late at night, listening to the wailing guitar of Neil Young – there are so many musical memories, I could fill pages with them. I spent most of last three decades playing other people's music. But then a few years ago, a very dear friend ended up nearly dead in the intensive care unit. Years of alcoholism finally caught up to him. I felt absolutely helpless. I wanted to do something to show I cared. It started writing a letter that turned into a song. It poured out of me (no pun intended). I don’t know if it made much difference to him, but it made me feel a lot better – it was an amazingly cathartic process. Within a few months, I had written several more songs. Music was finally allowing me to strip off my calloused and warn exterior and find the bits of pieces of me I thought I’d lost long ago. These days, I write at least two or three songs a month.