Music enchants me. Some people are into cars, sports, hunting, video games or a million other things. For me, it was always music. My first memories of music begin at home. We had one record of every type. My favorite was our Flatt & Scruggs record! I started playing saxophone in junior high to feed my music fix and stayed with that through my junior year at Auburn University.
I listened to more radio than anyone I knew, but I didn’t go on air until my junior year at Auburn. I hosted “Positive Vibrations,” a reggae music show, on our 250-watt campus station, WEGL-FM. Hardly the big time. After Auburn I became a listener again but my uncle gave me his mandolin.
I finished my doctorate in 1995, and I took a few mando lessons to learn some Irish fiddle tunes. Those fiddle tunes led to an infatuation with bluegrass. By the time I arrived to teach at UA, I was getting better on the mando and broadening my repertoire to incorporate more bluegrass standards.
Some of my UA colleagues knew about my mando interests and past radio experience. At the time I was still a bluegrass neophyte. I sure didn’t consider myself an expert. A colleague involved with APR told me “Bama Bluegrass” needed a new host since the current host was stepping down. After two weeks of training, including the October 1999 fund drive, I went solo with the show.
I now consider each fall’s fund drive to be my anniversary... and I’ve loved every minute! I’m proud to be associated with APR and “Bama Bluegrass.” The show is nearly 30 years old, and I think of myself as just the most recent caretaker.