Congratulations to winner of Songwriters Stage, Gregg Stone!
I grew up in an entertainment-filled, central Pennsylvania home, an only child who spent most of my early years going to carnivals, county fairs and auditorium shows. Mom was a country music singer and radio DJ for 50 years.
After two or three unsuccessful attempts to teach me to play the guitar, I finally surrendered at about the age of 12. I was taught the most basic major chords on Mom’s 1953 D-28 Martin and took it from there (although not nearly as far as I could have). I began writing songs right away, which lasted throughout my first years of college, where I performed for coffee houses, small gatherings of friends and my future wife. I was heavily influenced by songwriters who told vivid stories in their songs: Guy Clark, (solo) Ian Hunter, Mark Knopfler, others.
Then I just kind of walked away from it. At the age of 55, I suddenly decided to start playing and writing again. I can’t even remember what triggered it. Perhaps it was new storytellers like Chris Whitley, Ani DiFranco and Beck who became further influences. Their songs were more interesting to me at this point in my life, and writing became a welcomed refuge from the challenges of my job and personal issues I seemed to deal with.
I’ve been writing and performing since, struck by the difference in my style between those teenage years and as an older adult. And my most prized possession is that guitar of Mom’s on which I learned basic chords and still play. My training is not at all formal, but I love what writing has done for me as a person, and I am thankful for this opportunity to share my stories.