A WRITER OF SONGS ... Songwriter, singer, musician ... accountant -- one of these words seems out of place. Still, I think of myself as a poet and a writer of songs with 'emotional resonance' (coined by a friend with college degrees in music). Individuals who have heard songs on JANUARY have made comparisons to Frank Sinatra and Phil Collins, and someone who in his lifetime has been a band manager compared my live sound to that of Ritchie Havens. Who knows ... I think of it as 'NickMusic'; I self-produced cassettes and CDs for family and friends (as a Christmas present) for five years before figuring the music might be good enough for public consumption. To me it still seems a bit surreal, but I have written dozens of songs and have performed on the same stage where Elvis (as in Presley) played his first-ever gig (for you trivia buffs, this would be the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, Tennessee). Not too bad for an accountant who perhaps missed his calling as a musician. In the beginning: I learned how to play drums while very young and even took drum lessons while I was six years old. Later, I managed to nab a drumming spot in my school's fifth and sixth grade band (seems like about half of the kids who came to the first meeting in fifth grade wanted to be drummers). I (we) moved to California from Mt. Angel, Oregon, at the end of my sixth grade year. This effectively ended my drumming career, and participation in music ended for a while. It really wasn't until college that I played an instrument again, the first of those being harmonica. For a poor college student harmonicas were cheap. At some point during college I borrowed an acoustic guitar, but couldn't get my fingers to fret chords cleanly, so I gave up. Plus those steel strings hurt(!). Thankfully that is not the end of the story. After graduating from college I purchased a classical guitar from one of my supervisors at work. I didn't really begin to learn how to play it, however, until starting graduate school at Indiana University in pursuit of a Ph.D. in accounting. Music was a great study break. I mostly taught myself using books and tablature from the internet, though I did sneak in one semester of guitar classes at the world famous Indiana University School of Music (I took a semester of voice-singing classes, too). After a while I purchased a steel-string acoustic guitar, and traded that one in on another. I played and played and about midway through my graduate program I wrote my first song. I cannot even remember exactly why, or what I wrote. But after about a year I wrote a song that I considered to be pretty decent, and then worked harder at learning how to write songs better. Again, I taught myself by reading a couple of books. After graduate school in Bloomington, Indiana, I moved to a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee and joined the faculty of the University of Memphis. I was unhappy there, which proved a boon for my musical interests. I wrote songs steadily, purchased more instruments, and even learned how to play bass guitar. Surprisingly, learning how to play bass helped me improve my guitar-playing skills, particular my ability to play lead guitar (which still remains rather minimal). I now reside in Abilene, Texas. During summer 2003 I recorded the songs for this CD (being a university professor has a few fringe benefits). I wrote the songs, played the guitars (acoustic, electric and bass), programmed the drums, played harmonica and keyboard, and sang on this CD: Nick-as-a-band. About the time was recording the CD I was also learning how to dance (ballroom and country), thus, all the songs (except the accappella Sweet Dreams). Sometimes I wonder what I think I am doing (I mean, I am an accountant), but you know -- dreams can only be achieved if one first dares a little ....
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