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I stopped listening to that stuff when I discov- ered KISS and ZZ Top. Cash and those guys were my parents music. I liked whatever was on rock or pop radio and whatever was being played at the school dances and the skating rink. I got turned onto a lot of music at Barneys Roller Rink. Barney’s wife was the DJ and she'd spin 45’s while everybody skated in a big circle. They played some country if it was current but they mostly played pop records. Everything from The Sweet and Nazareth to the Platters. Even now I still like a lot of pop music. I didn't really start thinking about artists as influences until I started writing. The same way I never noticed guitar players before I became one. That was the best - get- ting to hear all that stuff I'd known for years but never really heard from the point of view of someone trying to write songs like those. A lot of the things that I really cred- it as influences I didn't find until I moved to Austin. Of course I heard all the cosmic cowboy stuff, but country rock to me was the Eagles. Then some hipper friends turned me onto the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Townes (Van Zandt) and guys like that. I've been influ- enced by everything I've ever heard. I still am. It's different almost every time which is probably why it takes me so long to write an album’s worth of material - I'm not speedy.


You know, one of the drawbacks to doing this for a living is that you'll sometimes be so busy analyzing or critiquing that you forget to just lis- ten and enjoy it. I have a friend that plays the banjo and once a week we get together and have a couple of beers and play music. The stuff we play isn't genre specific it's just whatever we can think of at the moment.


My son Dylan has cerebral palsy and has an aide that comes in the evenings to help him. The aide brought her 10-year-old daughter on one of the nights we were having the banjo/guitar jam. She sat wide eyed and watched us. I was thinking


How can she like this? Doesn't she hear how sloppy it is” She didn't hear that at all. She just heard music.


What was the worst gig you can remember playing?


Ah, how to narrow this down to just one. (Laughs) Some gigs are bad because the band sucks, sometimes the venue is a bad fit some-


times the crowd is a mismatch for the music and sometimes it's all three at once. If I were having to Gold Medal a bad gig though, I'd have to say it was a little no-name honky tonk in central Ohio back in the 80’s. I was playing with some guys I had just met and everybody was pursuing their own musical style in the loudest, sloppiest possi- ble way. We had Reggae, Jazz, and Fusion/Art Rock and of course I brought a Country rock ele- ment, usually all in the same song. We landed in this little honkytonk by way of a local agency that had heard one of my demos. The gig was a fiasco. Mostly they wanted us to play Randy Travis songs. The gig sucked the band sucked, the audi- ence was baffled and the clubs manager was out and out hostile. There have been other gigs just that bad but that one jumps out at me.


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