Updated November 17, 2007
[Just a note about the background on this page: It's of one of my dream guitars which is a Hamer Standard with a custom black & white checkerboard paint job (made famous by guitarist extraordinaire Rick Nielsen). I hope one day to be able to afford to get one made. It's included on the "Dream & Wish List Guitars" portion of the guitar section of my homepage.]
I have a life-long passion and appreciation of music. There is hardly any genre of music that I cannot find at least something that I could like (although I've always had problems with disco and I can't stand "death metal" and "gangsta rap").
I used to take guitar lessons from an outstanding guitarist and instructor named James Stanton. He is also known professionally as "Missippy James." Take it from a person who has a degree in education, James has the gift of teaching music and making it make sense. If you live in the Tallahassee area and are looking for a guitar instructor, contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise you won't be disappointed. James also plays great music with J.B.'s Zydeco Zoo which performs regularly in the Tallahassee region. Check the Zydeco Zoo schedule for locations and times. As soon as my wife gets employed again, I plan on resuming my lessons with James.
I was born in the Mississippi Delta (Clarksdale, Mississippi to be exact - it's in the northwestern part of the state) and lived in Cleveland, Mississippi the first 12 years of my life. Living in the Delta exposed me to blues music which I grew to like a lot. In fact, I still listen to a lot of blues tunes often. Some blues links are listed below.
And if that weren't enough blues links for you, there are a whole lot more links at .
While I was growing up in Mississippi my maternal grandparents resided in Memphis, Tennessee (only a 2 hour drive up the legendary U.S. Highway 61) and not only did I get more exposure to blues music, but it was through two Memphis radio stations, WHBQ & WMPS, that I was exposed to rock and roll in the late 60's and early 70's. In fact, one of the announcers at WMPS at that time, Rick Dees, is the man I credit for sparking my interest in becoming a radio DJ. [For what it's worth, Rick Dees released the novelty hit "Disco Duck" while at WMPS and was fired for allegedly over-playing it (management's official explanation). Cross-city rival WHBQ then hired him and blew WMPS out of the water in the ratings (dumb move on WMPS's part). Soon thereafter, Dees took his career to California and the rest is history.]
Also during that time, my paternal grandparents lived in south Mississippi in a very small town named Shubuta and I was exposed to country music through various stations that were located in that part of the country. When we visited my grandparents in south Mississippi I also was able to pick up WWL in New Orleans at night on my little AM transistor radio which often played older country music late at night that the popular stations wouldn't play.
Both my grandfathers did not care for rock & roll and tried to convince me that big band music was _real_ music (my late maternal grandfather played drums in a swing band during his college days at the U. of Tennessee and was good enough to be asked to fill in with one professional orchestra for one concert when their drummer fell ill). This "convincing" gave me an appreciation of the swing bands of the 20's, 30's & 40's. Interesting that swing music still has dedicated fans and there are several current bands keeping the genre alive and well.
In the mid 70's, my Dad got a new job. We packed everything up and moved to rural south Mississippi (a little town called Waynesboro). Since we were only a few hours away, we would many times take weekend "mini-vacations" to New Orleans and usually stay in New Orleans' French Quarter. As a result of these trips, I grew to appreciate and enjoy a broad range of music styles unique to New Orleans and southern Louisiana in general.
It was during this timeframe that I also discovered a VERY unique radio show called the Dr. Demento Show which still is a two-hour radio festival of mad music and crazy comedy. This show introduced me to such artists as Allan Sherman, The Goons, Barnes & Barnes, Tom Lehrer, the Reverend Billy C. Wirtz and even a gangly California college student by the name of "Weird Al" Yankovic. I've been collecting silly tunes ever since and am a member of "The Demento Society" (the Dr. Demento Show fan club).
Also in southern Mississippi there are numerous country stations, many of which play a variety of country. Through stations like these, I grew to appreciate and like a lot of bluegrass, gospel, Texas swing and other related genres.
The other unexpected benefit of the move was that we lived down the street from the family that owned the local AM/FM radio station. One day I screwed up all my courage, knocked on their door and asked if I could have a job at their station as a DJ fully expecting them to laugh at me or at least give me a polite brush-off. But to my complete surprise I was invited to the station the following Saturday night. On Saturday evening, that town heard the voice of a nervous 13-year-old introduce a rock & roll record for the very first time. That was the start of an on-again, off-again radio career that lasted over 20 years and a television career of just shy of 10 years.
For what it's worth, below is my list of my favorite musical artists (including my "Top 25"). This list is by no means complete, but these are the artists whose music I enjoy and CD's I purchase. Also please visit my CD of the Moment section where I highlight a CD in my collection along with some thoughts.
[DISCLAIMER: Just because I list an artist as one of my favorites does not mean that I agree on everything that artist stands for (politically, theologically, morally, ethically, etc.). I simply means that I enjoy that artist's music for the most part. And even there I may not like everything that person has created (in those cases, I just do not listen to the songs I do not care for).]