"Walking on a Wire" is a title of a song by the great Richard Thompson, first appearing on his last album with his soon to be ex-wife, Linda. The album was Shoot Out the Lights, released in 1982. I was in college at the University of Kansas, playing in a short-lived Lawrence band that shall remain unnamed just in case the four or five people that remember seeing us are still alive. I had always loved a wide variety of music and could more or less pick out good from bad, but hadn't yet heard great. Lights was recorded while Richard and Linda's marriage was beginning to crater and it utterly disintegrated during the tour.
My first opportunity of many to see RT was in law school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the Ark. By then I was steeped in the entire Thompson catalog. Before the show he made an appearance at School Kid's Records on State Street. I was there an hour early, shocked to see no huge throng gather. He came in largely unnoticed and shook hands with the store manager. Unaware I had become the front of the impromptu line, I suddenly was shaking hands with him. I blathered something like "I'm looking forward to tonight's show," and he offered, I think genuinely as one can, "so am I." He signed my Daring Adventures poster and album (back when we had album covers to sign) and off I went.
Over the next twenty years I practiced law and raised a family. My first guitar, a 1975 Ovation my mother gave me after my Dad died, sat untouched for long periods. The idea of playing music or writing songs was absurd. Partly because I had no time and partly because I knew I could never write anything as beautiful as RT or almost any other artist I admired.
As with everything in life, we struggle to balance our obligations, desires and relationships. My walk along the wire was uneasy and I was always afraid to look up. I missed a lot.
A little over a year ago--and for no apparent reason--I suddenly decided I must have the black Gibson Les Paul Studio that was hanging in Bentley Guitar Studios here in Parkville. After months of me playing it frequently enough to know I'd probably stick with it this time, my wife gave me my Eastman E10D for Christmas this year. I started writing songs in earnest in May of this year.
This blog is dedicated to all those artists out there waiting to be found or to just find a voice.