Oh, the pleasures of growing up in the country…thanks to my mom and dad. I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am turning 27 years old this week; but being born in 1983, I was sure raised differently than most people my age living in this era. We played mountain music or country music in our house as far back as I can remember, and that was our main form of entertainment when I was a child. My dad took me hunting and fishing a lot, and my mom got me into playing baseball, but I was an adolescent before I ever saw a video game. That’s really crazy to think about considering the times!
I received an email this week from a dear friend of mine at a local newspaper. She’d found a video and news clipping of one my first public performances – a talent show at Camp Lab Elementary school where I attended in Cullowhee, NC. As a kindergartener, I sang Rabbit in a Log. My dad and uncle accompanied me on fiddle, and guitar, and I had a plastic guitar and played along as well. Other kids were performing New Kids on the Block and MC Hammer songs, and me ….well it was Bill Monroe. My first grade year, there I was singing Old Rattler by Grandpa Jones. It really shows my WNC heritage.
Sounds of mountain music and the Grand Ole Opry were prevalent every night in our household, whether listening or playing ourselves. We watched very little television. My parents never pushed this on me. I just loved it and wanted to play and learn; and I’m glad for it. I had a hobby that turned into a profession, and music is a huge part of my life today.
I wish more youth today were into something like that instead always relying on technology for mental nourishment or entertainment. They spend so much time on Guitar Hero, they could actually learn to play a real instrument in the same amount of time. A lot of our old songs and culture are quickly fading and I pride myself as one of the only younger folks I know so interested in this music. It wouldn’t trade my time or have spent it any other way. I guess I am a true mountain boy and that’s OK. Thanks Mom and Dad.