I have collected this description of my musical history, not because I think I am particularly special or skilled. I sometimes describe myself as knowing how to "operate" several instruments, but there are only one or two that I feel I can really "play." No, I write this for the opposite reason: I can't think of anyone who would or should feel compelled to write my modest story. But I think there is encouragement here for people who fall into the same skill category as me: not skilled enough to make a living with music, but too much in love with it to just abandon the pursuit.
|Carl's Musical History - a timeline|
|1957||Dad and Mom|
|1963||Cousin Jimmy - Uke|
|1964||Cousin Jimmy - Guitar||MBC Youth Choir||Kay|
|1968||GT BSU||BSU Quartet||FBC Upright|
|1976||Birch St.||A Gentleman and His Banjo||SPdL Adult|
|1977||Superior Steel||Harmony||Lap Steel|
|1993||SPdL Youth Band|
|1995||At Home in the Country||SPdL Contempo||One Tree Hill|
|2004||Ryan Dean||OTH Rendezvous|
|2008||Rose and Thorns|
|2010||Bitsyland String Band|
Toe Tapping Gospel
|2015||Tim and Friends||OTH Enigma|
|2017||Oasis Class||2018||Oasis Class||2019||Exaltation Orchestra||2020||Exaltation Orchestra||Martin|
Alan Hoskins - songwriter and war protestor that I met at the Tech BSU; I played bass for Alan when he sang for first Earth Day celebration, Central City Park, Atlanta, and a handful of times after that until he got married and moved to Vermont
Ampeg - Model B15-N flip-top bass amp; I let it go too cheaply when it burned out a power transformer; I still miss it
Amps - Amplifiers I have used/owned
At Home in the Country - radio program sourced in small-town Arkansas, similar to Prairie Home Companion; me, Jimmy, Brant, Herb, and others recorded 5 two-hour programs as guest musicians one long weekend.
BSPhysGT - Bachelor of Science in Physics from Georgia Tech
BSU Quartet - me, Bobby, Nancy, and Michelle usually appeared with the New Generation Chorale; two guitars/four singers
Baby Blue - Tube bass amp, small but powerful and clean; bought from Ryan Dean; still works
Bands - Defined music groups that I have played with more than just once or twice
Banjo - a cheap 5-string that still plays better than I do; added a fifth-string capo a few years ago
Basses - basses I have played or owned
Becca - oldest daughter
BellSouth - beginning of my 30+ year career with "the phone company"; a few weeks after I started, I turned down an opportunity to go with Jimmy and Brant to meet and pick with Doc Watson at his home in North Carolina. I felt that I couldn't take the time off since it was a new job. Turns out they would have never noticed. Oh, well.
Ben - youngest son
Beth - youngest daughter
Birch St. - first house we bought in Southwest Atlanta
Bitsyland String Band - Americana/Fiddle band I helped Elizabeth Brooks start; have subbed as bass player so much recently I'm now the official bassist
Bluegrass Generals - represents the bluegrass phase of pickin' with Cousin Jimmy, Brant, Stan, Trent, Danny, etc.
Bo - oldest son
Bo's Tele - basic Telecaster on permanent loan from Bo
Carvin - 4-string electric I bought from Tripp Mullen when he needed money for a ring for Tory
ChrChCantata - small church's Christmas Cantata I played guitar, banjo, and mandolin for
Church - much of my musical practice, reading, singing, and performing was in the context of churches, generally Baptist
Cousin Jimmy - Guitar - traded his ukulele for a guitar and started the whole thing off; our family would visit theirs once a a year, and we would play for three days solid
Cousin Jimmy - Uke - Jimmy moved from clarinet, with which he accompanied his Mother's piano playing on old standards, to his first set of strings.
Dad and Mom - My Dad sang bass in the church choir in the early days, and my Mom played piano; she taught me a few mnemonics for the scale, and played for Dad to sing around the house.
Decision - I can't remember exactly when, but about this time I decided that if someone asked me to play for them, unless there was a really strong reason not to, I would do it. I think that was a good decision.
Engelhardt - Upright bass I bought from Brant; formerly the house bass at Fretted Instruments in Birmingham
Event - List of key life events, just for context
Exaltation Orchestra - First Baptist Church of Gainesville, led by Mercer Crook; challenges my double bass reading and playing skills in a good way
FBC Upright - When I was a freshman at Tech, the Baptist Student Unions at Ga Tech and the Ga Baptist School of Nursing sponsored the New Generation Chorale, a singing group that met at First Baptist Church of Atlanta. First Baptist had an old upright bass on which I started learning how to play; also met Norma MacDonald, pianist, who connected me to Second-Ponce, and a whole bunch of other opportunities.
Fairchilds Trio - a gospel group of girls (twins and their older sister) who split time between Nashville and Atlanta; I played electric bass with a really good gospel pianist and a string of drummers. They mostly played corporate dinners, and had a nice entertaining program. That gig lasted for several years, five or six times a year.
Family - Much of my musical experience came from my family, and especially my Cousin Jimmy
GK - Gallien-Kreuger amp with a 4x10 cabinet; my main bass amp for years; still works, I think.
GT BSU - Georgia Tech Baptist Student Union; played guitar, learned to shoot pool, made some good friends
Gainesville - We moved to our house on the Lake, which turns out to be a long way from gigs, but I still make the trip; the house is really good for hosting pickin's, though
Gibson - Alan's model FJN, with the pick guard peeled off which I acquired when he moved to Vermont; its wide neck sort of spoiled me; great sound, but it got a little out of tune past the 5th fret.
Guitars - guitars I have owned
Harmony - A very basic 4-string semi-hollow-body electric bass; I think I still have it
Jayne - the lady I married
Kasino - Huge bass amp made by Kustom, but without the sparkly rolled-and-pleated skin. I needed my pick-up truck to move it around; give it to Rich Morris who was playing organ with Noot'd'Noot
Kay - my first six-string acoustic; high action meant that if I could play it, I could play anything. stripped and refinished it on my own; it looks like you would expect.
Lap Steel - an electric lap steel Jayne bought for me in Jackson Hole, as part of a deal that involved her getting a silver bracelet
Lilburn - we moved from Southwest Atlanta to the 'burbs, and raised our children there
Martin - purchased by Jayne on Bo's recommendation, another instrument that plays better than I do
MBC Youth Choir - whe I was a kid my family attended Morningside Baptist Church, which was two blocks from home; I sang in the youth choir, which performed some pretty hip musicals (for the time); we did small "tours" throughout the state, and almost didn't get to play at one church because we had drums!!
MPFBC - Mountain Park First Baptist Church - I was a frequent substitute player on bass, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar, plus I played in the orchestra (upright bass and electric guitar) for several Christmas programs; challenged and improved my limited sight-reading skills
MSC SunAM - Methodist Student Center at Ga Tech; an outlet for my playing after the First Baptist Atlanta split;; I was second guitar for the Sunday morning worship service
MSICSGT - Master of Science in Information and Computer Science from Georgia Tech
Mrs. Hunter - My fifth grade teacher during the year we lived in Florida; she encouraged me in many ways, but especially encouraged my singing
Oasis Class - Started playing for this Sunday School class at First Baptist Gainesville whenever Jayne taught; got me on the choir director's radar, and I ended up playing Silent Night for the Christmas Eve service
OTH ColorRed - rockish album by Patrick Lloyd; I played electric bass on some of the tunes
OTH Enigma - final One Tree Hill album; me, Brian, and Patrick laid down most of the basic tracks together with no click; probably my favorite OTH album
OTH OTH - self titled album with Patrick, Jennifer (now a world-class viola player) and Kelly (now a world-class mother and wife); my second favorite
OTH Rendezvous - album describing the story of Patrick's life, the wreck that put him in his wheelchair, and his rehabilitation
OTH Trilemma - album with songs of spiritual quandaries and truths; a "trilemma" is a three-way dilemma
One Tree Hill - my most active music gig; we played venues ranging from small drug rehab centers, to coffee houses, to churches, to larger venues, opening for Amy Grant once; one year we played 75 gigs. In addition to playing, I also schlepped and set up most of our rather large sound system. The opportunity to play with musicians like Patrick and Brian was irreplaceable.
Other - obvious, I hope
Pod Pedalboard - I bought this one year when I needed to step up my electric gig at MPFBC; serves as a combination tuner, direct box, equalizer and volume pedal, in addition to providing cool effects. Once when the bass player was unexpectedly out, I used the octave doubler and played bass using my Taylor.
Resonator - an inexpensive, six-string, slide acoustic, a version of a Dobro (which is technically a trademark) given to me by Bo and Marilyn one year; fun to play, but still lots to learn.
Revelation - an auditioned high school and college singing group of a dozen kids from the Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist youth choir; recorded several albums, performed around the state, taught me a bunch about bass-playing, and was where I met Jayne.
Rose and Thorns - represents Jimmy's transition from primarily bluegrass to standards and gypsy music, springing from time spent with Boudeleau and Trent; often cousin Malinda would sing torch songs with us; usually 2 or 3 gigs a year down in South Georgia
Ruel Jazz - Fender Jazz bass that Ruel loaned me to play with Revelation (and maybe a little with the Fairchilds?)
Ryan Dean - Bass player for Uncle Jed's Oil, a creative, short-lived project with Bo, Jonathan, Jay, and Mike. Ryan went on to lead worship in a small church in Lilburn, where I played bass for several years. I also helped Ryan put his original music on the internet.
SPdL Adult - Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church Adult choir, ably led by John Condra, where I learned how to sight-read choir music, to sing bass, and learned to perform and appreciate a bunch of high-class classical pieces. We also did a Chirstmas show for about a dozen years which included 5 performances on a complex stage set-up.
SPdL Contempo - When contemporary worship became a thing, Second-Ponce started a service in the gym of the Family Life Center. For several years I set up the sound system every Sunday morning (eventually documenting the process so others could take over), and I played bass with the band, led by the creative keyboardist Tim Johnson. Toward the end, I actually took the role of worship leader, which is when people noticed that my Gibson didn't play in tune, and conspired to get me a Taylor.
SPdL Handbells - A fun diversion that significantly sharpened my music reading skills, especially timing. I usually played the 6 lowest and largest bells, from G2 up to C3, I think.
SPdL Youth - I played bass and guitar for the youth choir, and accompanied them on tours.
SPdL Youth Band - On occasion I would sit in with the youth band, which was hipper and edgier than the youth choir, and was connected to the youth ministry. One notable performance was the lyrics to Amazing Grace/Jesus Loves Me sung to the tune of the Nirvana song, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." It is also where I met Patrick Lloyd, starting my long membership in One Tree Hill.
SPdL split - After attending Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist for nearly 30 years, our family left as part of a large group of members who no longer felt at home there. The effect on my music was to remove a ready and constant place to play; it also had a significant impact on One Tree Hill, which had been based out of the church, and supported by members who would see us every week. It took me a year or two to find any comparable music outlets. Fortunately, my Family and Band musical activities kept me active while I was looking for other church opportunities.
Superior Steel - After graduating from Tech, I worked in the Computer Science department for a few years. A tenor in the Second-Ponce choir offered me a job at Superior Steel, his small engineering and fabrication company, which I gladly took. It was fun work, and, as a singer himself, he was tolerant of my occasional pickin' absences.
Taylor - Model CE-310 six-string acoustic with built-in electronics. A solid guitar that immediately improved my playing, and has been a steady tool ever since.
Tim and Friends - representative of some of the opportunities that pickin' with Cousin Jimmy has afforded me; Tim is a fine fiddler from Arkansas who came down to Dublin to participate in a memorial service for a friend and fellow fiddler. He flow to Atlanta and rode to Dublin one Friday, we rehearsed Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon, then performed Saturday night. He flew back on Sunday. It was an extremely fun opportunity that felt like the culmination of many gigs that had gone before.
Tobias - five-string, fretless electric bass that Patrick thought provided a sound needed by One Tree Hill. I'm still learning to play it, but it is great func, and I particularly love having a low-C option.
Toe Tapping Gospel - a group of amateur but fun musicians from the Lilburn/Tucker/Mountain Park area who recorded an independent studio album, after which they needed a bass player, which I happily became. This is how I got hooked up with Mountain Park First Baptist Church. The Toe Tappers have been quiet lately, but I won't be surprised if I one day get a phone call from them wanting to "put the band back together."
Tulio - an inexpensive electric guitar my parent bought me after watching me struggle to try to amplify my Kay guitar with an elastic strap and a tape recorder microphone. I took heart from learning about that time that Glen Campbell's favorite studio electric was a cheap Japanese guitar.
Warlocks - Our neighborhood band when I was a teenager -- Donny, Bob, Wayne, Larry, me; Love Potion Number Nine, Rolling Stones songs, Sleepwalk, that kind of stuff. We might have made it big if I hadn't driven into a car accident heading to our first gig. (Probably not, but, hey, who knows?) Donnie later played guitar with a country singer named T. Graham Brown for a while; Wayne played drums at his church for a long time.
Yamaha - Model BB250 4-string electric bass; I needed something better than the Harmony bass when Ruel had to retrieve his Jazz bass, so I bought this off the rack at a local music store. When my Carvin suffered a broken tuner, I pulled the Yamaha out, re-strung it, and used it on a One Tree Hill song. Passive pickups still sound pretty good.
Year - So it would fit on one sheet, I skipped some years in which nothing particular happened.