A bit about me.
I’ve been writing songs for about the past 25 years and am currently one of three co-coordinators of the Chicago Chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Some of my tunes are love songs, while others are about “life” as seen and experienced from my perspective. Some of my songs have been featured on two CDs by my friend Dan Zahn, and in 2008 I, along with cowriter Melanie Johnson, won the County/Cowboy Category for our song, Courage to Let Go at the Art in Your Ear Songwriting Contest in Batavia, Illinois.
I first became aware of music at a very young age and enjoyed singing songs I heard in cartoons and various TV theme songs. (“A horse is a horse of course, of course and no one can talk to a horse of course . . .”) I picked up the trumpet when I was nine and played in school bands throughout elementary, junior high and high school. As much as I tried to emulate the chops of Herb Alpert, Al Hirt and Louie Armstrong, I remained just a fair-to-middling trumpeter.
In high school I started listening to folk and country music and was intrigued by the interplay of voices and acoustic instruments. I started fooling around with an old guitar that my mother’s uncle had given her. It was black with steel strings, had no name on the headstock or label inside the box and almost made my fingers bleed. (It evidently didn’t have a truss rod either, as the neck broke when I tried to put new strings on it.) My parents bought me an inexpensive guitar for my birthday that year.
I managed to master the rudiments of folk guitar and got into some jazz and dabbled in bluegrass. I still have an old Kay banjo with a crooked neck. Sad to say but my banjo playing was no better than my trumpet playing. I continue to learn guitar, and am an occasional mandolin player. For the last several years, I’ve been playing acoustic blues with harmonica player Bill Lyday and fellow guitarist Dan O’Rourke.
In my non-musical life, I live in Wheaton, Illinois with my lovely wife, Liz. Together we’ve managed to raise a son, Joe (aka Yossi), and a daughter, Elaine, both of whom are grown and can fend for themselves. We also have a granddaughter, Ella, who lives with Yossi and his wife, Jillian, in Israel. Until recently, I earned a living as a communications professional at a nuclear power plant. I’ve also been known to cast an occasional fly into lakes and trout streams and am learning to build cigar box guitars.