What are your Musical Roots ?

May 4, 2011

Music City Roots – The Civil Wars & more

Loveless Cafe, West Nashville, TN

My musical roots were planted by my parents. Great music was always playing  in our house while we cleaned or worked on projects.  The Carpenters, John Denver, Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, The Doobie Brothers,Fleetwood Mac and Simon and Garfunkel.  These were my early music mentors and it is still a wonderful feeling to hear these songs today, even through my iPod.  Back then, it was all vinyl through a great sound system and finally through a set of heavy Zenith Allegro speakers.

As I grew older, my older brother took drum lessons and I was introduced to early Chicago, Kiss, Led Zepplin, Rush, REO Speedwagon, and Cheap Trick.  When it came time for me to pick an instrument, I felt I was born to play the drums.  At the time, my father felt that having two drum sets in the house was a bit much, so I chose the guitar. After about 6 months of lessons, I begged my father to let me get a drum kit.  He gave in and I’ve been playing every since.

Late in High School, I was introduced to the world of Jazz and musicals.  I was fortunate enough to be a part of a full big band called Suburban Swing.  These were some of the best times of my life musically.  I learned so much about playing with a group and how to control my playing so the lead parts could be heard.  We played all the Jazz standards as well as played many musicals together. I still keep in touch with that band director today and we are hoping to have a musical reunion of sorts in the next year or so.

Since I’m now located in Nashville, I get to attend certain shows were the song is sung by the original writer and it helps to paint an even better picture of the song, because you can hear what he or she originally intended.  Every once in a while, I hear about a new group “in the wind.”   A couple of weeks ago, I got to see The Civil Wars in Chicago.   They brought me back to my musical roots, back at my house, listening to Simon & Garfunkel and the magic that a duo can have.

So tonight, I went out to West Nashville to the Loveless Barn because when it’s good, you just can’t seem to get enough of it (and I’m not just talking about The Loveless Cafe’s world famous biscuits).  I can relate to this group because they renew in me the passion for executed music and well blended harmonies.  John Paul and Joy both brought along their KSM9‘s and the KSM313 for guitar amp and, like the last time, the place was packed. This evening was also very special as long time Bluegrass favorites Cherryholmes would play their last Nashville show as a family. I have also watched this group grow up and become big news in the Bluegrass world.  They were sporting 2 KSM44 condensers for the lead vocal spots.

So let’s talk about YOUR roots.

What is it about certain bands that takes you back to where you grew up or what you grew up listening to?  Is it by accident, on purpose, or something else?  We would love to hear about your musical roots.

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Regional Manager of Artist Relations at the Shure office in Nashville, TN. He started at Shure in 1993 in Customer Service and joined the AR team in 1996. Ryan has over 30 years of performance experience playing drums and percussion in various groups and genres. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, watching movies, videography, and camping with his family. His Twitter handle is @ryan_smith1969.

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