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Playing Since: 1976
Experience Level: Purty Good
Occupation: High School English Teacher
Deering Maple Blossom Tenor Banjo, Gibson Super 400 C Guitar, Gibson ETG 150 Tenor Guitar, JR Burns 8-String Lap Steel.
Cindy Cashdollar, Cynthia Sayer, Claire Lynch, Earl Scruggs, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat Cole, the Replacements, the Ramones, Bill Evans, Rebirth Brass Band, Lennie Tristano, Eddy Davis, Don Vappie, Gerald French, Kermit Ruffins, and Buddy Holly
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Last Visit 10/22/2021
I'm a high school English teacher, and I play gigs on the weekends. I play tenor banjo as well as guitar (1977 Gibson Super 400), tenor guitar (1950s Gibson ETG 150), and 8-string lap steel. (custom Jason Burns S-8 in A6 tuning) I love New Orleans jazz, swing, ballads, bossa nova, Bluegrass, western swing, and Hawaiian music. I play most of these styles on my gigs. I heard someone once describe the music that I play as "Country Club Jazz." I don't know exactly what that term means, but every time I tell someone about the term, that person says, "That's the perfect description of what and how you play." The way that I play, think about, approach, and listen to music is a direct result of my 32+ year relationship with my friend/mentor/father figure, Irvin Payne. I started taking lessons from Irvin on 5-string in 1975. I didn't get very good, and consequently I put that instrument aside by 1980 when I switched to guitar. My relationship with Irvin got even stronger after I made the switch. We talked everyday. He taught me about jazz harmony and equipment and the art of learning tunes and everything else that he decided that I needed to know. He introduced me to artists who would become important influences on me. He introduced me to the local pro players with whom I would eventually do countless gigs. He got me to learn 8-string lap steel and tenor banjo. He said that learning those instruments would be crucial in my musical development. (Of course, he was right.) Most importantly, he introduced me to the tunes. Greshwin, Kern, Cole Porter--I learned the standards, and I fell in love with them. I truly believe that those songs hold us together as a culture. They are the soundtrack to the twentieth century. Irvin died on November 16th 2007. It's all on me now. I no longer have my mentor to lean on. I hope that I never let him down.
'Temperance Hall' 29 min