I was born and raised in West Virginia, where I heard a lot of country music. I used to play the electric guitar in rock and country bands, and recorded songs for the radio. But in the last ten years I've settled on acoustic blues and country, mostly from the 1920s and 1930s.
I play guitar, Dobro, harmonica and foot percussion, and I sing. I play old music
from before electricity: Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Skip James, Booker White, Son House, Fred McDowell, Blind Blake, Blind Boy Fuller, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, The Carter Family, Sam McGee, Riley Puckett. Also, some 'newer' music, mostly descended from the above (Elvis, Hank Williams, Nirvana (
), Johnny Cash, John Fahey, etc.)
My favorite living performer is Wayne Hancock.
Although I live in Baltimore, I travel a lot. I regularly visit the Mississippi and Arkansas delta: it's where the blues was born. I play in bars, and I enjoy performing live on the radio (I wish there were more of that). You can hear recordings of some of these shows
I pick left-handed, with the strings reversed. I perform solo mostly, except on Dobro.
I usually play with one thumbpick and two metal fingerpicks. For the Carter scratch, I just use one fingerpick. For some accompaniments, I use a thumbpick and bare fingers - it competes less with the voice. I also play with a flatpick on some songs (I also flatpick -- I started out fingerpicking with a flatpick and my middle and ring fingers, because they didn't make left-handed thumbpicks when I started). I use Kyser fingerpicks, and Fred Kelly thumbpicks, because they have a good variety of materials and structures, and they offer all of them left-handed. When I play bottleneck slide,
I prefer glass slides (my favorites are from Diamond Bottlenecks in the UK), but I sometimes stick with metal because they don't break. My favorite metal slide is a brass Acoustaglide. For Dobro, I use either a Scheerhorn stainless steel bar, or a custom steel-hardwood bar made by Snake Harris of southern Virginia.
Currently, I play most Fridays at the
in Glen Burnie, MD, where I do a music revue with singer-songwriter Robin Chadderton.