Music in my life started one day in May, 1958 when my mother held me in her arms and sang Broadway Musical selections to me. (Very likely why I am so drawn even now to that classic American gift to the world of music!)
After studying piano for a few years beginning in the 4th grade with the encouragement of supportive parents, I soon learned that having to rely on sheet music was not my preferred way of playing. In fact, having taught myself guitar after a common, quick run at the ukulele, I realized that a mastery of chords, progressions and theory was the way to go. And so I did. While never abandoning “reading” completely, the play-by-ear approach took hold quickly.
Songwriting began at age 12 and the quest began. Later, throughout the high school years I studied as a percussionist and it is then when a magical musical event occurred; the triangulation of piano, guitar and percussion each of which contributed to and influenced the other. Together with a growing fascination and immersion into home recording the beneficiary soon became songwriting itself and many recordings of my growing catalog of tunes emerged.
Influences were typical for the period; of course the Beatles, the singer/songwriters (Dan Fogelberg/James Taylor) and the Laurel Canyon sound (Eagles, CSN&Y) coupled with the not-so-typical genres of R&B/funk, crossover jazz (Steely Dan, Michael Franks), the acoustic instrumentals of Windham Hill . . . Bacharach, Mancini and finally The Great American Songbook/Musical Theater.
Technology was refreshingly analog. Four tracks on reel to reel, no digital workstations to create that violin section you only heard in your head, no computer assisted audio editing. Crude by today’s standards I suppose, nothing can replace the “guerilla recording techniques” those of us who ventured down this path in the 1970’s had to master and the influence it had in how we make music even today.
With a growing family and an amazingly supportive spouse, after about 10 years in the retail music business, playing in bands, writing advertising jingles, teaching guitar and keyboard lessons, teaching electronic music graduate courses at the local college . . . music settled into a strong avocation and I changed careers to become a CPA/Managment Consultant in the late 1980's. Shocking?? Many people to this day still think so! But the similarities between both careers are strangely strong. Simply put, both require a perfect blend of right AND left brain activity.
Today music is as important in my life as ever; writing and pitching music for various commercial projects, recording sessions in my modest home studio, occasional concerts, liturgical and secular accompaniment, and just good 'ole hanging and playing with friends and my kids. From that first day as an infant in 1958, in ways I really couldn’t ask for more. Thanks for visiting and taking a moment to listen! My hope is that something you hear will move you in some small way. Because when it comes right down to it, that's really what songwriters and composers are most grateful for!
Hope you enjoy . . . Ralph