It all began with a thought…
I grew up in the small town of Jamestown, Ohio. Jamestown is your typical small town-just about 2000 citizens. A McDonalds sits right between a Dollar General and the local pizza establishment, Bentinos Pizza. You have the two traffic lights that await you when you come to town. On Friday nights in the fall season, the Greeneview Rams take to the field that is located in the same parking lot of the old high school. On weekends, you grab a couple of cases of cold, cheap beer and drive out to the outskirts of the town, and into the never-ending acres of country land. If you have some buddies have trucks that have more rust on it than the paint on truck, strap the rope on the machine, and have a tug and pull shake down.
My family and I lived out in those fields that the hijinks and absurd behavior would take place. When the threat of tornados circled us, we would drive down the road to our friends of the family’s home. Mike and Liz Bentley would be ever so gracious and open their doors to us, and let us stay in their basement if the time came to take shelter. Of course, when you live in the country-tornados don’t scare you till they are knocking on your door. We would sit on the porch, and watch the movement of the storm in the dark skies. When the threat would move on towards another town, my folks would want to stick around and talk with the Bentleys. That meant that Mike would go to a small room which was connected to the living room, and put on some music on his record. The music room was incredible. On the wall, each shelving unit would stack across left to right, up and down, with records from all decades. It was a true sight to see. Any type of classic rock you could think of, Mike had it. The collection was impressive-still is in my opinion.
For hours, I would sit down at the kitchen table with my folks, and the Bentleys. They had daughters, so my sister would go and play with girl toys. Now, being young as I was-I didn’t feel like playing with Barbie’s, playing with dolls. I was a boy. I don’t play with those things. Who would do such a thing, I thought. I told myself that I would just sit in the kitchen with the adults, and watch whatever was on the small screen television that hung in the corner of the room. I would never
watch the shows that were being screened with the volume turned up. The music would be turned up to the farthest that the level that the volume could go. The walls shook with the sound coming blaring through the speakers. It was those nights that I would start the relationship that I have with music. It’s a small part of why I became a music writer.
As I mentioned in my article about open mics in town, I got to college and wondered what it would be like to pick up an acoustic guitar, and learn how to play. So, I knew that this wasn’t going to be easy. I received a guitar for my birthday, and soon enough from there I would start to learn. Well-that didn’t happen. I had a friend that would try to show me some chords to play, and my fingers would start to bleed. I was told that this normal, which never made any sense to me. Why the hell would you want to do something that was going to make you bleed, and you weren’t really do anything that you think would make you do such?
So there I was, trying to push through some of the pain that the fingers would feel, and play some. I learned how to play ‘Smoke On The Water’ from Deep Purple. Alright-I learned just to play the chorus. I would go to college parties, and try to impress girls with my pathetic guitar play. It didn’t work. Apparently, you needed to learn how to play songs about love, and also be a little better looking. I didn’t possess any of those traits, so I gave up playing. However, for some reason, I would never give away the guitar. Is it the best guitar to have?! Probably not, but I wouldn’t give it up. I have had it for over 10 plus years now. It’s always been in the black, nylon travel bag that came with it. It’s always sitting next to the dresser. I don’t know why I haven’t just hang it up or do anything with it-I just never wanted to give it up. That is till now.
Starting this past year, I have been going around the Dayton area and watching some of the best music that is played anywhere in the United States. I will go to show to show, meet up with the artists and bands that would be playing, and write about them and their performances. I have been going to open mic nights as well. Being able to live in Dayton, I notice thThe passion and dedication that these people have is incredible. It’s something that I want to be part of-this special group of individuals around the world that has taken to playing music.
I decided that this year I would dust off the guitar that have had sitting around for so long, and learn how to play. I would then sign up and play a set at an open mic night around town. I want to see how it feels to be able to perfect a craft that makes people come together. I wanted to learn how to play in order to show my appreciation to the people who go out there each and every night and show their talent off. I want people to read this and see that it’s in fact not the easiest thing to do. However at the end of the day, the experience will ultimately show that if you follow a dream, it will come true. I will be doing a monthly update here. I will discuss the highest of the highs, and the lowest of the lows. I won’t be holding anything back. If you have any comments or suggestions, please share them.
Here we go…