Roots, Where it all began
The love of writing comes from family roots, more specifically my grandfather and father both have a library of their own poetry and songs. I started writing poetry at around the age of 8 and that would eventually evolve to lyrics. While I always had a guitar around, I really didn't start learning to play it until my mid 30's, when I bought a custom Norman acoustic guitar at this little shop on Yonge Street in Toronto, Ontario Canada.
I had mostly hesitated to play music because of a life-long hearing disability and the fear of failing that went along with that. I've obviously since overcome that fear in most cases.
Also, having never taken any formal lessons, the majority of my musical knowledge has been self-taught using on-line resources and on occasion by asking friends and family who have more advanced musical skills.
I've had the luxury of having several close musical influences through family and friends through most of my life. The first was my brother, Roland, who always had a guitar or was playing music. When it comes to professional artists, I listen and enjoy to all music, and some of my main-stream favourites include Guns N' Roses, Bon Jovi, John Mellencamp, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and the list can go on for a while as I try to imagine my catalogue of music. My non main-stream list is probably just as long.
making ORIGINAL music
Over the years I have written and recorded several original pieces. The titles include some pensive songs like:
- Yesterday's Tomorrow: A song about connecting with the past and trying to remember people and events, and thinking about those who are no longer with us.
- 7 Days From Sunday: Written during the COVID-19 pandemic, it focuses on getting through the week. It ponders not being able to see those you love. The symbolism of Sunday is that every faith holds some sort of special day and just getting through whatever period of challenge you're going through gets you to it through faith.
In 2016, I pulled together a set of original songs under an album title called Retina. On that album you can hear
Restitution: A catchy tune with a rock-a-billy undertone.
My Facebook Post: A song that you'll find yourself singing along to; it pokes fun at social media. I have since re-written this song to update some of the technology trends and changes.
Trite & Jaded: Reflecting on being fed up with all the excuses people make.
Broken: One of my first posted originals. It presents a recognition of change and acknowledgment of our flaws.
Alley Shadows: An instrumental piece that has become the score for my first podcast. It's a journey through the emotions of life in the short walk of an alley.
There Was A Time: With an intentional off-beat and voice-over duality to compliment the reflective life struggles in the lyrics.
Forty-One: It's short and the # represents a birthday but the focus is really about a long-time discussion that always happens at birthday time about how to count the birthday year, all in the backdrop of some memories at my grandparents.
Hero: It's a song about my Dad who is a gentle, loving, caring man who has quietly inspired me.
Train: Featuring my brother Roland on Vocals and Guitar, and me on back-up, a tune I penned years before we recorded it. Taking the train outta town!
As a music hobbyist I have never really focused on trying to book gigs or playing at live events as a means for financial gain. As a solo player who does this mostly for self-enjoyment, education, and inspiring others, it hasn't been my focus. That being said, I haven't been overly shy about playing in front of a crowd.
The first time I ever played in front of anyone other than family or friends was at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. I wasn't expecting people to start tossing coins into my guitar case and as that was happening a crowd started to form around me and some even sang along. Whatever money I collected that night went to charity.
Speaking of charity, I've played several charity events to raise money for causes like United Way, Federated Health, Heart & Stroke, Cancer, Food Banks, and several other organizations.
I've also played at friend's events; I performed an original, called Memories of Me at the Toronto Hard Rock Cafe, or written and performed songs like Make Memories, or Across The River at weddings.
Pre-pandemic, I had been practicing a small set of songs to possibly open at some local small pub or cafe with the intention of donating any earned funds to charity as well. I may re-visit that when the pandemic is over.
As a means to entertain folks during the pandemic lock-downs and at random, I had posted a few live-stream or recorded videos, most of them impromptu, many of them 1st takes. It's really always about just having some fun and being comfortable with who you are.
My favourite guitar is a Norman acoustic guitar with a pick-up that I bought several years ago at this shop on Yonge Street in Toronto called Walters Music . What I really liked about this shop was that it was a personal experience where you could go and try the instruments and figure out what best fit you. The end result for me was a custom order and the process and experience was excellent