February 16, 1916 – July 15, 2010
A great husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. Married to the love of his life Frances for 67 years. A leader of the Greatest generation of men. He flew Navy bomber planes in WW2 in the skies over Japan. He was an American hero. He was my hero. There will Never be another one like him. I'm glad my parents named me after him.
I guess it started the same way it did for a lot of people my age. With John Denver. Trying to sing along with "Calypso" was something I did every day when I was about 6 years old. I couldn't get enough of that Outlaws record as well. The Willie and Waylon Outlaws. Then, my mom bought me my first very cassette tape. Billy Joel's The Stranger. We lived on Long Island at the time and Billy Joel was the new superstar. "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" was the new masterpiece. And just about every song on there. From there I saw Grease ten times in the theater and could still probably sing you all the lyrics to "Greased Lightning," while doing killer dance moves on my dresser. By age ten I was the international air guitar champion – in my mind. In 6th grade, my friends and I did an 'air band' version of Styx's "Come Sail Away" at our elementary school talent show. I wore a massive gold medallion and shades, inside our school music room. Oh...I was a rock star. I then discovered Led Zeppelin which then led me to my long love affair with the Grateful Dead. By age 15, I was obsessed with the music of the 60's. A 15 year old cranking Creedence, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Beatles and The Stones through his little Kenwood stereo system. It was that music that led me to my connection with Americana. The music that helped shape our nation in the 60's has a lot of similarities with Americana music today. The songwriting. The individual expression. The friendship a lot of those bands seemed to have. AND, the passion without fear of commercial consequences. I have always been attracted to music that had purpose, and to me, no other format carries that songwriting purpose better than Americana. These artist's today in Texas travel around in cars, vans, and tour busses 200 nights a year. Not easy, but, to quote my friend Ray Wylie, "Music isn't what we do it's what we are. We have no choice." I agree.
The vision for KNBT has been the same now for almost 15 years. To give these artists a massive loud speaker to the world. To give great music a home on the radio at a time when finding a home on radio is incredibly difficult. But we are a business as well. To make it work you have to have enough listeners to support your advertisers. That's the basic and simple formula. To give the businesses who support us a good return on their advertising investment. That's how we keep our lights on and keep the music flowing from our tower. It's no more complicated than that. Easy, right? Well, all you have to do is go see Robert Earl or Ragweed and it becomes a very easy decision. Hell yeah people want this music. Can KNBT play every artist who makes a good record? The answer is no. Give us 12 more hours in the day and we could. We try to be the best representation of what's happening out there in the Americana music world. Will we play something you don't like? Sure we will. But remember, if we don't take chances, how would you have ever found out about Darrell Scott or Jim Lauderdale or Alison Krauss. Remember, she wasn't yet a star 14 years ago. Or Jack, or Walt, or The Band of Heathens. Or Stoney LaRue or Jason Boland. Or Kelly Willis, the Robison brothers, or Shelley King or Kevin Welch. I could go on.
KNBT has always been about community. Americana is about lifestyle and outlook as much as it is about the music. It's about helping others when they are down. It's about sharing stories and pain and joy. It's about staying true to who you are, without fear. I don't know if I'll ever truly know if we've totally accomplished that, but it's something we strive for every day. We look at ourselves as a conduit between the artist and the fan. Nothing more, nothing less. If you do hear a tune you're not crazy about, give it about 3 1/2 minutes and I bet you'll like the next one. Our committment to you is every song you hear on KNBT will contain all the qualities we care about in music. Intergrity, honesty and heart. I told Wade Bowen once that no one loves this station and this music more than I do. That's not an argument. Just a simple fact. If you love this music too and listen to KNBT regularly, we are humbled. If you are new to this world of music, WELCOME ABOARD! Now, let's go grab our air guitars, shades, gold medallions and rock n' roll boots and go hear some kick ass tunes!
Ok. Just for fun. If I didn't do music and could fulfill a different dream, I would have put 2 in the back of the net to beat Brazil to win the Confederations Cup in soccer.