Getting Back to the Music
By Mark Easley
Back in the late Ď60s and Ď70s I taught myself to play the guitar and sing along with my favorites including The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, James Taylor, Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, and others. It was an enjoyable activity that I spent many years perfecting, and along the way have had some great times sharing the music. But in the mid Ď80s I got busy with making a living, working up the corporate ladder, being a husband and father, and well, the usual stuff, and my guitar and music collected dust in the corner for almost 15 years.
Still, there were lots of great songs I remembered from those days, and I wanted to get back to playing and singing them.
Starting Up Again
In 2000 I made a decision to start playing again, and I found out some wonderful things had been happening while I was away. First of all, my old songs had become "classics" and now were only heard on the oldies stations. That made me a "classic" too I guess. But that summer I went to a guitar workshop in Nashville which had a large number of college age students enrolled. When I told them I started playing back in the Ď60s, I got multiple comments such as "Oh wow, were you born at the right time!" and "Dude, I always try to learn the old rock and roll stuff." And "Woh, you mean you saw the Beatles on TV?" Yep, I watched them on Ed Sullivan just like every other American kid of the day.
And lastly, I found out that there have been tremendous advances made in using computers to record your own music, and using the Internet to distribute it. The little home studio anyone can set up now on a computer has far more capabilities than what the Beatles had to use at Abbey Road Studios. (But I still havenít found the talent software yet.) So with some software, some practice, and lots of studio time I have been able to create the songs you can hear and see via the web right now.
In the Beginning
One day in 1966 my older sister brought home an album that was different from all the Beatles records she constantly played. It was made by a popular duo of the day called Simon and Garfunkel, and she put it on the old Magnavox record changer stereo my dad had out in the living room. Something about that music caught my ear, so I went and sat down in front of the stereo to listen. Yes, there were lots of instruments and beautiful voices coming out of that piece of vinyl, but the things that caught my ear were the acoustic guitar notes that Paul Simon was playing. That sound seemed to stand out in front of all the other music, and it was a sound from heaven to my ears. Although I didnít know it at the time, I believe that is the day I became a guitar player. You can hear me playing one of those songs on the video.
I learned to play the guitar by sitting in front of the stereo for hours at a time listening to Paul Simon and others and trying to play what they were playing. It was a long road which I am still traveling. Steel string acoustic guitar with good singing is still my favorite, and I never get tired of listening to these great songs, and teaching them to others, along with learning and writing new ones.
"Have fun with that one!"