I’m always fascinated by how “new” music finds me. I’ve been on this planet for several years now and not only do I find new recent music all the time (still in love with F**k You by Cee Lo Green) but I also find stuff that I’m amazed I haven’t come across before. Some of you who came out to the shows last year on ‘The Big Nasty’s Traveling Freak Show’ tour know that I was in the throes of discovering Elton John for real, finally. The temptation to play Bennie And The Jets was often irresistible (sorry for that!)! These days I’m finding amazing artists like Townes Van Zandt. I’m a music fiend, so I’ve heard his name for years, but actually tracking down some of his work and listening to it is different from just being aware that we share oxygen.
I’m not sure how other people do go through this type stuff (or if they even think about it at all) but being a musician, I’m always working on my craft from every angle and that includes my “diet”. I believe that an artist is not only the combination of elements and desires that God gives but also a result of the influences that come to you and at what stage they arrive. I started with Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan in very short order so discovering the guitar gave me an entry to my medium. If my first influences had been Frank Lloyd Wright, Jean-Michel Basquiat or Charles Portis, I would be a very different type of artist!
After spending a bunch of time immersing myself in the blues (I actually wrote Muddy Waters but just couldn’t bring myself to let the pun go!), I was introduced, by Buddy and others, to P-Funk, Earth, Wind & Fire, Prince, Bobby Womack etc. I also looked around my hometown area and started finding the people that I had grown up hearing; George Jones, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Jr. My list of favorites has grown over time to be quite an eclectic list; Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Miles Davis, Donny Hathaway, Annie Lennox, Jeff Beck, Aretha Franklin, Jason and The Scorchers, Sly & The Family Stone, The Sex Pistols, Mozart, B.B. King, John Coltrane, Funkadelic, Wes Montgomery, Elton John, Steve Earle, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Eric Clapton, George Jones, The Beatles, Dwight Yoakum,... I could literally go on and on!
The point (if in fact there is a point) is that I am so grateful that God has given me such an adoration for what I do and allows me to continue to discover new music and have it feel like it did when I first started. I’ve told the story of “finding” Jimi for the first time. I can still access that feeling in my memory. I can still see the place I was, the way the sounds hit me and assaulted my senses and left me knowing that this was my path. I remember going to see Elvis with my parents, I can still feel the air from that night. I remember exploring Prince’s 1999 album (yes kids, on vinyl!). Hearing Buddy Guy for the first time, on a cassette, late at night. The impact on me was huge! I LOVE MUSIC! can you tell?
Recommended Playlist (if you’re interested)
Buddy Guy / One Room Country Shack
Hank Williams / Rambling Man
John Coltrane / Naima
Duke Ellington / Lotus Blossom
George Jones / He Stopped Loving Her Today
Jason & The Scorchers / White Lies
Townes Van Zandt / Pancho & Lefty
Funkadelic / Maggot Brain
The Rolling Stones / Rocks Off
B.B. King / You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now
Prince / She’s Always In My Hair
John Prine / In Spite Of Ourselves
Earth, Wind & Fire / September
Donny Hathaway / A Song For You