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I’m not sure how the music of the Mississippi Delta captured the heart and soul of a 14 year old boy from Massapequa, New York. But when I first heard Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt and soon others, it was all I could listen to. There was that first Hot Tuna album too, that led me to many more blues men. I guess Billy McEwan, my first guitar teacher, was also greatly influential in my path to finger picking blues and also Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. Eventually, I found Ry Cooder and in his music there was a different sound. Not just the chug, chug, chugging of the train, but something more fluid and well, tidal I’d guess. Far from the cotton fields of the Delta were two musical forms that though thousands of miles apart, seemed similar to me. The Bahamas and Hawaii are both islands, but obviously, culturally very different. Yet the music of Joseph Spence from the Bahamas, and Slack Key guitar from Hawaii both seemed to me to capture the moving and lapping of the waves, a sound this Long Island boy knew well. I’d spent summers at the beach or on a family boat clamming, crabbing and fishing. So maybe the salty sound is something that was inevitable for me. So right now I’m working on woodshedding tunes by Joseph Spence and some of my slack key favorites. I’ll record them in my studio and hope to have them out soon. I’ll let you know when they are done and ready to download.

40 comments

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