One Friday evening in the mid 1960s, I was walking to Wallace after having failed to negotiate the use of the family car for the evening. This was the inspiration of my first song Walking, which I wrote in a friend's car later that evening. While I have always written verse for birthdays and other special occasions, this was to be my song.

I was fortunate growing up in northern Nova Scotia to have been taught classical music through piano lessons from my Mom. This involved much, much practice (scales!), as well as an annual appearance in the music festival in Tatamagouche. The training provided me with a basic understanding of the theory of music. At the same time, I was exposed to country music through various musicians in the community who taught me to play guitar.

My first musical job was to play lead guitar for fiddler Lloyd Tattrie at dances in Malagash in the Colchester County of Nova Scotia. Lloyd told me recently (August 2007) that at 95 years old he is still playing fiddle in the area, as well as writing fiddle tunes. Music keeps him young, I hope it will do the same for me!

Throughout the years, playing guitar in various country bands honed my musical skills. In the mid 1970s, I had the opportunity to play lead guitar in a country rock band with Gerald MacLeod based in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. MacLeod, who was a great singer, was of the opinion (rightly so) that there was no tune that he could not sing. So to him it followed that there was no tune I could not play. After advice and a considerable degree of patience on his part, as well as much practice on my part, I was able to make my way through such tunes such as Moody Blue. This experience did much to expand and stretch my musical abilities and confidence.

My next musical influence was bluegrass music where a couple of years playing mandolin with a bluegrass band prompted an appreciation for acoustic instrumentation, arrangements and harmony vocals. The appreciation of acoustic music was further instilled in me through various other bluegrass and celtic bands - my musical influences are varied.

Throughout the years I continued to write songs but did not perform them. Finally, I came to the realization that the only way they would be heard was if I performed them. This was a difficult decision for me - while I had played dances and concerts all my life, singing was new to me. There were always others who fulfilled this function very well, so other then some harmony work, I did little singing. There was also the dual apprehension that the songs I wrote were not good enough.

Interestingly enough, for most of my business career (yes I had a day job to support my musical habit!) I advised my clients on how to establish their own business and encouraged them to follow their dream. So the true test of my counsel was whether I could accept my own advice and follow the lead I would have provided my clients. I think the phrase the shoe is on the other foot now seems somewhat appropriate.

This led to completion of my first CD the way i feel it in 2006 which included 17 mandolin instrumentals, 2 guitar instrumentals and 8 songs, all of which I had written. The recording process was achieved using my computer at home, which provided me the opportunity to arrange the material and play the various instruments (guitar and mandolin). Feedback from this venture was positive which encouraged me to proceed with my second CD of original material, reflections which I am in the process of recording and which will be completed later this year (2007).

My musical creations, the term folk music comes to mind, are stories set to music - stories that are based on my experience, or interesting stories I have read or heard about, which impart a message that I feel needs to be stated. I appreciate the ability of writers, including Stompin' Tom Connors, Tom T Hall, or John Prine, who have fine tuned this process of telling a musical story.

Thanks for visiting my website! The sound clips and words provided to my songs will provide you the opportunity to savor the flavor of my musical endeavors. Enjoy! I appreciate hearing your opinion (critical or acclaim) of my music in addition to an interesting story that I may use as a foundation for a future song.

My musical journey continues....

In the spring (2007) I was fortunate to be invited to appear on Fred Isenor's Bluegrass and Country Jamboree tv show on Rush Communications. Fred allowed me about 20 minutes to perform live material from my “the way i feel it” CD. Fred, who is one of the best bass players in Eastern Canada backed me on his non-electric bass. Well known country musician Carl Dalyrumple added his guitar and dobro to the overall sound.

It was nice to work with Fred again. In the 1980s, we co-hosted “The Kelderman Concrete Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Hour” on CKEC Radio, New Glasgow, NS for about 6 years. This weekly show generated much interest among the listeners. CBC Television reporter Glennie Langille taped about 4 hours of material which resulted in a 10 minute documentary aired on the 6:00PM news in Nova Scotia! was complementary evaluation! I also spent a number of years co-hosting the “Bluegrass Jamboree and Country Echoes” with Fred, a weekly one hour show on CKCL Radio, Truro, NS. This of course was back in the days when the radio stations had call letters, not animal names.

My “reflections” CD was completed on October 15, 2007 and includes 15 songs and 5 instrumentals of my own material. Although I had sufficient material for the CD when I commenced recording in the spring, the process spurred me to write a number of songs and instrumentals. Some of these are included on this CD and I believe this has enhanced the final product.

When developing this CD, I kept in mind a 3-m sound - mood, message and music. These three factors need to mesh to form the overall sound. The mood of the song needs to reflect the topic and approach to the topic. The message is an underlying theme on all my material, or I should say, most of my material. Then the instrumentals and vocals must complement, not compete with each other. Hopefully some of my tunes will “stick to you”.

During the process, I became much more familiar with creating music using my computer. I also needed to become familiar with a new sound card as my existing sound card died early in the process. Both of these challenges were frustrating at times ... it is amazing what non-music related skills are reqired to create a CD.

Part way through the recording process, I decided that some of my songs would sound better with finger picking. I spent about 4 months of intensive practice to develop the sound that I wanted. After playing with a flat-pick for 45 years, it was a slow process to convince the fingers on my right hand to operate independently - these fingers seem to work all right on the piano! (It was an even different story indeed when I first attempted to fingerpick on stage. I became so enthralled with the sound of the guitar I forgot the words! I am reminded of the saying “Courage does not roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says I will try again tomorrow”. It has been a very interesting and rewarding process.)

My song “end of the line” included on the “reflections” CD, muses on the demise of the Dominion Atlantic Railway which operated for a number of decades in Nova Scotia. I am gratified that Tim Rogers will list my song in “Songs of the Iron Trail”. James Hay will also list the song in “Canadian Railway Songs”

The finger picking that I referred to previously became a full time obsession as I decided, through trial and error, that I needed to expand to a five finger style to gain the sound that I wanted. Unable to locate a pre-existing style, I developed a sound that would complement my music. Some basic picking indeed, but it works, and sets the framework for instrumental breaks for some of my songs. Which means arranging (sometimes re arranging) my songs; a daunting task. It has taken longer than I first anticipated, yet it is coming together nicely.

I am in the process of putting my music on Youtube (link in music section) and will have many of my songs uploaded this year. Then it will be back to my “sands of time” CD which will be recorded with the new arrangements.

Just finished taping Fred Isenor's Bluegrass and Country Show (Eastlink TV); actually made it through 15 minutes of music without the necessity of referring to written works. So that is progress :) It is always good to work with Fred again; we co-hosted a Bluegrass and Country Music Radio show for a number of years in the 1980s. Fred is the ultimate historian on old country music !!

It has been an interesting, yet humbling learning experience. I am also rewriting some of my songs: as someone once said ”it is important to know what to leave out”. No major change to the message but an occasional deleting of verse, and a lot of deletions of individual words such as “that” and “just” of which I had become overly fond. My musical journey continues......

Thanks for visiting my website – enjoy my music!!