Gulf Coast Steel Guitar

About Me

 

 

Welcome to my Web Page I am retired from the Social Security Administration. My job within SSA, for 22 years, was the Midwest Regional LAN/WAN Network Gateway and Hardware Help Desk Manager in Kansas City, Mo.  Or, as the official SSA designation, I was the Kansas City "ROCC" Manager.  Before moving to the SSA job, I worked on this SSA computer on line project ("SSADARS") for the project contractor, GTE Information Systems.  Prior to that, I worked for Bendix Field Engineering at both the Ascension Island Apollo Tracking station and at Goddard Space Flight Center. I also worked for RCA Service Company on the Air Force Eastern Test Range missile tracking site on Ascension Island and with Philco-Ford on the overseas military Autodin communications station on Guam.

I spent 8 years in the Air Force, 1955 to 1963.  My basic training was at Sampson AFB, Geneva NY.  After basic training, I was assigned to the Ground Radio Operator (morse code) school at Keesler AFB, Biloxi Ms and then was assigned to the 2nd AACS Mobile Squadron at Hahn AB Germany (1956 to 59). I was a Tech School Instructor in the Ground Radio Operator school at Keesler in 1959/60 and then retrained into "Technical Controller" (a forerunner to what is now called "Help Desk") and was sent to Taipei, Taiwan for a 15 month assignment.  While in Taipei, I was in a country music band and we were privileged to have been the first Americans to appear live on Taiwanese Television in early 1962. I then returned to Keesler AFB as a Tech School Instructor in the Technical Controller school in 62/63. 

I currently reside in Inverness, Florida, but I am originally from Mechanicsburg, Pa.  Besides picking steel and trying to pick lead guitar, my other hobbies are saltwater fishing and a beach bum and beach "observation".  I have organized the Florida Steel Guitar Club and am actively involved with it's operation and the monthly club meeting/jam. Click the button on the left to access the Florida Steel Guitar Club web pages.

I am an ex Amateur Radio Operator, my first call sign in 1961 was W5DVO.  I have also had K3FFZ and ZD8JES (Ascension Island).  While in the Air Force in Taipei Taiwan, I was the base MARS radio station manager (call sign AI8AIR) and operated on the 20 meter amateur band with call sign BV1USG.  

My wife, Trudy, is also a musician and plays Bass, Guitar. sings and is currently learning Pedal Steel Guitar with a GFI S-10 Expo Model.

My original inspiration to take up steel was "Little" Roy Wiggins (Eddy Arnold's Steel Player) back in my early teens with an Oahu double neck 6 string steel. In 1959 while stationed at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Ms, I got into my first band - not as a Steeler but as a rhythm guitar player. I went on to play bass (in a Dixieland band) and lead guitar for the next 10 years and finally gave in after trying to play pedal steel licks on the guitar and bought my first Pedal Steel Guitar - a Fender 2000 (which was the Fender show model at the 1969 DJ Convention in Nashville). The heavy Fender didn't last long and in 1971 I bought a new (black mica) Emmons D-10 that was custom ordered. I played the Emmons until December of 1981 when I got a new custom built Franklin D-10 Guitar. The Franklin guitar is still my only pedal steel guitar, 30 years later.

Pedal Steel Guitar heroes that have influenced me include Buddy Emmons, Buddy Charleton, Lloyd Green, Hal Rugg and Weldon Myrick. Of the current studio session Steelers Paul Franklin and Bruce Bouton rate at the top, and I "steel" their licks all the time. I also have to recognize the late Jeff Newman for his many years of dedication teaching the "gospel of Jeff" steel guitar instruction, Neil Flanz for his Sho-Bud instruction album of licks (my Bible when I first started on pedal steel) and to the late George Lewis ("George L's') for showing me how to palm block (when George worked for Sho-Bud).  There are many other great Steelers around, both in Nashville and other locations, and it's hard to name a "select few" without forgetting someone and it's not meant to be a slight on anyone, but the ones mentioned have been my major influences.

It's not often that you get to work for the person that inspired you to take up an instrument, but in 1971/72 I had the good fortune to worked for Little Roy Wiggins at his music store, across the street from Tootsie's and Sho-Bud, on lower Broadway in Nashville. Bob Browning, familiar to many Steelers for his work with Jeff Newman, also worked at the store at the same time. I was the store's amp and guitar repair tech. Little Roy would also put on shows in the store on Friday and Saturday for the Grand Ole Opry visitors. I would play rhythm and back Roy on the shows. On Saturday afternoons he would have one of his many Opry star friends do short shows at the music store. My biggest moment there was playing rhythm guitar for the great Bill Monroe. I worked the Emmons Guitar Company's booth at the first Fan Fair (1972) in Nashville, which was held at the downtown Municipal Auditorium.

When I returned to the NASA space industry, Roy, who was also the President of The Grammer Guitar Co, gave me a Grammer guitar. Although now a "collector's item" the Guitar still gets used and plays well today, 40 years later!  The guitar has been used on several recent recording sessions.  The Grammer I have is a Blonde RG&G model (made before the Ampeg Co or later the Ralph Fielding ownership of the company).

Since moving to Florida I've had the privilege and good fortune to work with (back) several Nashville singers, including Jack Greene, Bobby Bare, Roni Stoneman, David Frizzell, Alan Frizzell, Ray Pillow, and Nashville drummer/songwriter/Record Producer Jimmy Peppers.  I've also produced and played on several CD projects for Jimmy in my SONAR Computer based recording studio. I worked with Tommy Cash on his "Florida Tour" in 2003, 2004 and 2006; and George Hamilton IV's 2005 Florida Tour.  I also had the honor to perform on a Steel Guitar Hall of Fame fundraising show in February 2004.  In January 2008 I toured with George Hamilton IV and in February 2008 I toured with Tommy Cash in Florida.  Our band worked some shows in February 2009 with Tommy Cash.

In April 2008 I became a member of "ROPE" (Reunion of Professional Entertainers) based in Nashville.  Tommy Cash, who is also a member, was my sponsor for my membership.  ROPE is a fraternal organization and has members from all areas of the entertainment industry.

 

 

 

 

 

Updated 07/03/2011