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Why this name?
Because my mama didn't name me Garth Brooks. Or Merle Haggard, for that matter.
Do you play live?
Not very often but the quality makes up for the quantity. I kinda got cloistered away by health problems for a long time and am gradually getting back in front of a few folks, especially for opportunities to perform with Mike Mosier, Linda Grimes, and the Red Clay Community Choir (they're all on "A Cupful Of Words."
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
Once upon a time, back when I was a kid, "the music business" was the bridge between musicians and audiences. Over the years, it has become a wall in many cases and a helluva hurdle in all. The Internet gives us a bridge back.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
Sure -- a contract that made sense. Relinquishing my creative control would be insane. Production and promotion budgets that would have my nephew's grandchildren still paying off the debt would be insane. Show me something that's healthy for the music and for my estate and we'll talk.
I heard Hank's first night on the Opry and I heard Little Jimmy Dickens' first night on the Opry. I remember Webb Pierce, Carl Smith, and Faron Young as "hot new acts," so "history" is a pretty big word for me. I never played particularly well and I never sang particularly well, but I've helped a lot of people have a little fun and think new directions over the years. What I do today is just more of the same, with a broad detour into entertainment journalism for some thirty years.
As per my "Song Of The Wind," my influences go back to Genesis and come right up to the kids of today who are hanging in with honest music. Mama Maybelle (as per "Sweet Virginia Breeze") is a special influence, as are Mac Wiseman, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Luther Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Buck Owens. I don't sound like any of them -- their influence lay in making me want to be me like they are themselves.
This office and this computer rank pretty high. I love Appalachia, the Ozarks, and the Adirondacks -- see the pattern?
I have three acoustic Gibsons (including a roundneck Dobro) and a handbuilt Dean Porter 12-string soprano guitar (mandotar, we call it). All four were used on "A Cupful Of Words," plus several of Mike's considerable array.
I have long called what I do "living room music." I'm beginning to think of it as "Hillbilly music for the 21st Century." The topics are a tad deep for the 1940's, perhaps, but the spirit of the wind in the trees survives.