I LOVE tall tales - but I could never FIND any! Not the easy ones that everybody knows about, but the REAL ones that you may find hard to believe. Because the BEST tall tales have to be true enough to be possible, yet impossible enough to remain in doubt . . . despite the fact that they ARE true! . . . somewhere . . . just a few miles up the road from here. As I said, tall tales being as hard to find as they are (though as a friend of mine said, you'd think they'd stand out in the crowd!) - and being in such terrible short supply as they are, I finally began to write them myself! Because life is tall, no matter WHAT they say!
I started playing guitar sometime around 1970 - at the tender age of minus twenty. My parents bought all the records - from James Taylor to Johnny Winter, and hundreds more. I got country music on the radio and learned to play a good blues piano at the age of fifteen. I played mostly by ear, learning chords from the songbooks. I’ve loved music since before I could talk! Used to spin Harry Belafonte records when I was five, then not too long after that, I graduated to Chuck Berry.
Back then, Lynyrd Skynyrd was getting their start in Jacksonville, right up the road from where my family lived, in Gainesville, Florida. Being a southern college town, there was a good mix of music growing up. We had gators, right on campus, too! A student got eaten once, over near Newman's Lake. Little known fact of history, they don't tell you about in the brochure. There was an all-night country restaurant, Skeeter's where I used to play, from midnight to 5 AM . . .
Later on, when I moved to Pennsylvania I discovered Folk and Irish music and learned a stack of 'em, and put it next to my country and blues, “pop” and old time rock an' roll. About twenty years ago I began playing occasional pubs, and continued to learn every tune I liked, just for fun. As a solo performer I had to be able to carry the whole tune myself, and I became a strong player with good variety in my offering. I’ve also played out a lot more over the last ten years, places like the Freight Yard Pub in North Adams (Massachusetts), the Lion’s Den in Stockbridge, and retirement communities like Devonshire Estates and Laurel Lake, both upscale. My music began to coalesce into what can only be described as original Americana, with a distinctly Southern appeal.
In summer of 2004, I sent a tune in to the song contest at Kerrville, TX and made the top 32 out of 600! Sent the same tune in to New Song at West Virginia and didn't pass the advance round, but drove in across the Shenandoah River for the right to play the live round, and made the top 40 out of 1200 with that same winning song, "Up The Road from Tennessee!"
I made a record of those songs, an’ a CD to go with it, of mostly true tall tales. Mostly bein’ the key word. Practicin’ up to be the grandpa on the front porch of the log cabin way back in the hills that if you happened to stumble on him, or you BECAME him, it would be like he was always there, and he knew you were comin’, an’ had a pot o’ coffee ready for ya. “What took you so long?” He’d say.
Then of course I had to write the second half of the Tennessee Legend, just to make sure we got the story straight – it’s called “The Briar Patch Notes," and it's really a story about the heart of our country (bein’ in Nashville, Tennessee as it is) . . . framed in dialogue and story and song, complete with some of the whitest, lightnin'est white lightnin' that ever was, (nor ever shall be) brought in (to the Governor’s office, an’ set on the desk, at that critical time in history) by the ghost of the Cherokee Indian chief Sequoyiah, who must have had a beer with Davy Crockett once or twice, as they were alive at the same time, and both of ‘em bein’ from East Tennessee as they were . . . and that's all I'm allowed to tell you right now.
Then there’s the Talking Math Blues, and that whole set of tunes, this time distinctly Northeastern in sound, and currently being reviewed by Arlo Guthrie . . . we'll keep you posted on that.
All of this to say: I have an offering that's piping hot, and ready to serve! I'm humble, and proud of it! And I ain't braggin' - I'm just tellin' the truth!
The rest I can explain better with a guitar . . .