I started playing trumpet at an early age in Kansas, steeped in classical, gospel, and a little jazz. I was particularly taken with ragtime and Dixie land jazz, an early indicator of my as yet undiscovered passion for the blues. The first time I remember hearing a song that I learned to call “The Blues” was in college, at a pool hall called “The Spot.” I heard and felt the incredible groove of a song on the jukebox and asked the bartender. “Who’s that?”
That pool hall and that song (Texas Flood), along with another blues-oriented local hole in the wall, were my points of entry into learning more of the artists that inspired Stevie Ray and with time, more about the blues overall.
In those days, I was a banjo player. When I moved to California for graduate school, I was picking away on the banjo on a Saturday morning, trying to play along with the songs broadcast from the local college radio station. A blues show came on; I kept at it and quickly realized I would much rather play blues than bluegrass. I also quickly realized that in the blues world (ignoring Taj Mahal for the moment), the banjo can leave one feeling pretty unnecessary. So I switched to the upright bass and 6 months later was playing professionally with bands in the area. I’ve since switched to the electric, moved to the East Coast, and now perform very little but carry on with the blues no less, thanks to Second Life.
DJ’ing in Second Life has provided a cherished opportunity to continue chasing down all the trails of the vast expanse of the blues world. I especially like that it brought me into a community of fellow music and blues lovers — ‘cause we all know, they are fine people!