My mother found me at the family piano when I was three years old, picking out melodies from the records she listened to during the day. I am one of the lucky ones: I have been a musician all my life.
I have spent time with senior masters in the Southern Appalachian Old-Time tradition and the gospel and Blues traditions of the East Coast and, to a lesser extent, the Delta. And it has made me a believer in apprenticeship. I believe that it is incumbent on us to allow a tradition we love to transform us, before we transform it. The price of learning a song by heart is becoming that song.
As these older musicians have passed, their traditions and gifts remain in our ears, hands, and hearts. My traditional pieces and my original songs are rooted in this experience and driven by this reality.