This Is Our Series Of Stories About Being A Bass Player Or a Musician
Or Just A Person In This World. Some ,Life Experiences,
Some Tutorials, Some How- to`s , Some Regular Advice, Maybe Once In
A While a little B.S….
Playing Music At Young Age
I Have always been musical, Maybe not as talented as a lot of others, But Very Musical just the same. I cannot think of too many days there is not some kind of song or tune, Or jingle of some kind going on in my head. I have just learned how to accept it, Kinda as a gift I guess, That is i would rather have it than not, My musical brain has kept me entertained when nothing else was available. I Was raised way out in the country, In the sticks I Guess. gosh seems like a whole other lifetime ago. Cannot hardly believe the things i did as growing up on a working dairy farm, Where we raised everything we ate,Worked very hard from a real young age. If it was not putting in our own hay crop all summer for our 300 or so Cows, To feeding them the same hay crop 5 months out of the year in the winter, 7 days a week, Every week every month of every year. And I did a lot of what you might call quality tractor time, In fact you might say I pretty much grew up sitting in a tractor seat. Hours and hours sitting on a tractor putting in and harvesting our crops,Or feeding our cows and other animals. We grew all our own feed for our animals. Corn, barley, wheat, oats, And Hay, Alfalfa and Timothy. Back then I looked at it as just a way of life. Today my kids would say I was abusing them to even talk about that much work. It was on those endless days driving tractor, That I first realized music was my way of life. It started out just singing, I would sing to myself all day long, Just making up songs usually, Then one day when I was about 11 or 12 years old, Our cousins from the city came to stay for about a week, Seems like it was spring break for school or something like that. And my cousin Grant was his name brought along with him a harmonica, I had never seen a real harmonica, I had heard them on the radio or TV and my dad loved to listen to the country stations, And on TV we all watched Hee Haw on Saturday night, It was a musical show with Buck Owens hosting a whole cast of country stars, And There was also on the TV Grand Ol Opry That was the top shows to watch besides Ed Sullivan, And I got to where I knew a lot of the songs. These were TV. Variety shows, And they would sing a song or two then do a comedy skit or something like that. And The Ed Sullivan show is where I got my first look at rock n roll. I still remember the Beatles when they were on Ed Sullivan, And Music would never be the same. Anyway before I got off subject about the cousin with the harmonica, He Would play along with the songs on the TV show, And I was hooked right there, He played that thing with such ease. And By the time their stay was over with us, I had learned to play his harmonica, Although sharing harmonicas back then did not seem so bad we were just kids, But now a days forget it. Anyway when they left I could not get over that harmonica, I Wanted a harmonica in the worst way, It was spring and Xmas was way off to long to wait if you asked me. And I let my dad know just how much I needed to have a harmonica. Some time had gone by and it was now summer, And we were in full force putting in crops, And I recall one day as my dad came driving out into the field, Where I was cutting hay on a tractor, And he waived me down to talk about something. I knew he had just been to town, Cause I heard him at breakfast talking about going into town. For most people this would be a so what. But for us where we lived 63 miles to town one way. It was a bigger deal I guess. I got off my tractor and ran over to his pickup, And noticed some bags of stuff in the seat, And just like any other kid I was curious about what the bags contained,Maybe some sweets or something I was hoping, Then my dad reached into one bag, And he said”Got Something for you” I said what? what is it? He pulled out a red white and blue little box. A marine band harmonica key of C Is just what it said. I could not believe it. And Its mine. I was the happiest kid for miles, I just could not believe my good luck, I thought i was probably going to get some kind of condition handed to me for the use of this fine harmonica. Like extra chores better grades or something. But no just here is your harmonica. And I grabbed it from his hand, I opened it up and looked at the brand new shiny harmonica. And I Just thought wow.
Dad then reminded me its getting late better get back to mowing, If I was going to finish this field today. I Said sure, See you later and thanks a lot for the harmonica.
Now I’m driving tractor with a purpose, I’m playing harmonica to the biggest crowds, in the world, all sellout crowds of course. All the time my imagination going wild,While as the months go by I am actually getting pretty good on that harmonica, And it was not long until instead of everybody telling me to stop playing that noisy thing, To Asking me to play certain songs for them, And my dad making sure all his neighbor farmer friends heard me play my harmonica way more than they or I wanted. This pretty much went on for the next few years, As I mastered the harmonica in the key of C. One night some of us home town boys went to the next town for a dance. There was to be a real live Country Western band playing this dance, And it was told they were pretty good. We all loaded into one of my friends pickup, with a canopy on the back where who ever wasn’t fast enough to get in the front had to ride. But not me I kept everyone entertained in the front playing my blues harp all the way down the dark country roads of our county. The band at the dance was real good, They played a lot of modern country hits that you would hear at the time on the radio. During one of the bands breaks one of my buddies who obviously had more mouth than brains went up to the band and told them that there was a harmonica player in the crowd, And asked them to Ask me up there to play a song. I did not know this till on the way home. Sure enough not long after one of the breaks the band takes, They called my name to come up there. I was never so embarrassed in my life,I Just wanted to get down and crawl out of that dance hall. In fact I started heading for the door,Because luckily I had left my harmonica in the truck.But my buddies started hollering and whistling and yipping like dogs. Then one of them walked up to me right in front of everybody and handed me my harmonica, Said he already went out and got it for me. I knew I was finished. I had to go up there, there was no foreseeable way out. I`m thinking These guys are going to get it for sure, Meaning my so called friends who got me into this.
Up to the stage I went, Just about shaking inside me so bad, That the outside of me almost had to be shaking too. The Lights were really bright and hot, I could feel myself beginning to sweat right away, Mostly nerves I’m sure. The band called for the song “Wabash Cannonball” And I knew that song well. As I Had many times played it along with the TV. Show I Watched with my family. So I Played with my eyes closed for the most part, As being on a stage in front of real people was not something my eyes wanted to see. And I must have done pretty good as everyone in the place screamed for more, more more,So The Band asked me to do one more, “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” By Willie Nelson. I knew that song too as it was on the top of the charts back then. So I played again. And got off that stage. As quick as I possibly could,Only After A Huge applause From mostly people who knew who I was. I had never played through a microphone before. And it left a lasting impression on my memory. But that night taught me a lot in about 15 minutes. And I never will as long as I am alive forget it. I learned the power that music can have. And what courage it takes to get up and play in front of a crowd. And no matter how you sound in reality the way I now look at it. You are still a winner because you did it, For me it took the extra push to get me going, But been going over 30 years now. The first time was definitely the hardest.
And it really does not mater what you sound like, It Feels the same way, I’m grown now with a family I still play the harmonica, But took up the electric Bass Guitar while in my 20`s, And make my music life with it. But Like i said those memories will always be there, I have played to countless crowds of people now in my age, But still get that nervous feeling from time to time,And yes still feel like I must have left something in the truck I` ll be right back……… some times too.