I grew up in a small town in Northern Connecticut. My first introduction to music in the early 1950's was what I picked up on AM radio at night from stations in the south; rock-and-roll was not yet being played on local stations.
I became fascinated by the sounds of Merle Travis, Hank Garland, Grady Martin, and Scotty Moore and was determined to find out how they made such great music.I started with a Harmony archtop and a Mel Bay book, later graduating to an Alamo Texan solidbody and a Premier amp.
By the time I got to high school I could play well enough for a rock-and-roll band that did a lot of Ventures covers and I used my tobacco-picking money to buy A Gretsch Tennessean.
I continued playing through high school and college in everything from swing bands to polka combos. I even took time to study some jazz and work up chord melody arrangements. A 13-flat-9 chord can sometimes be heard.In my 40's, someone turned me on to Blind Blake, a great ragtime picker from the 20's, and that changed my whole outlook. I could never play like he did but it made me aware that rhythm was the most important thing and that guitar playing was supposed to be fun. I concentrated on thumbpicking which is where I started and played a lot of jump blues and western swing; later using material of my own. It's all about "finding your voice", I was told.
I met Kirk at an open mic event in Southwick and we seemed to have a common musical interest so we joined forces, each of us doing some of our own songs.