A Writer of Songs ...
Songwriter, singer, musician ... accountant. For some reason, one of these
words seems out of place.
Still, I think of myself as a poet and a writer of songs with "emotional
resonance", as a musically-talented friend once described them. Amazing as
it seems (certainly to me), I have written more than 50 songs and have
performed on the same stage where Elvis (as in Presley) played his first-ever
gig (for you trivia buffs, this would be the Overton Park Shell in Memphis,
Which came first, the musician or the accountant (alternatively, the
accountant or the musician)?
Well, I learned how to play drums while very young and even took drum lessons
while I was six years old. Later, I managed to nab a drumming spot in my
school's fifth and sixth grade band (seems like about half of the kids who
came to the first meeting in fifth grade wanted to be drummers).
I (we) moved to California from Mt. Angel, Oregon, at the end of my sixth
grade year. This effectively ended my drumming career, and participation in
music ended for a while. It really wasn't until college that I played an
instrument again, the first of those being harmonica. For a poor college
student harmonicas were cheap.
At some point during college I borrowed an acoustic guitar, but couldn't get
my fingers to fret chords cleanly, so I gave up. Plus those steel strings
Thankfully that is not the end of the story. After graduating from college I
purchased a classical guitar from one of my supervisors. I didn't really begin
to learn how to play it, however, until starting graduate school at Indiana
University in pursuit of a Ph.D. in accounting. Music was a great study
break. I mostly taught myself using books and tablature from the internet,
though I did sneak in one semester of guitar classes at the world famous
Indiana University School of Music (I took a semester of voice-singing classes,
After a while I purchased a steel-string acoustic guitar, and traded that one
in on another. I played and played and about midway through my graduate
program I wrote my first song. I cannot even remember exactly why, or
what I wrote. But after about a year I wrote a song that I considered to
be pretty decent, and then worked harder at learning how to write songs
better. Again, I taught myself by reading a couple of books.
After graduate school in Bloomington, Indiana, I moved to a suburb of
Memphis, Tennessee and joined the faculty of the University of Memphis. I
was unhappy there, which proved a boon for my musical interests. I wrote
songs steadily, purchased more instruments, and even learned how to play bass
guitar. Surprisingly, learning how to play bass helped me improve my
guitar-playing skills, particular my ability to play lead guitar (which still
remains rather minimal).
Then I moved to Abilene, Texas. During summer 2003 I recorded the songs
for this CD (being a university professor has a few fringe benefits). I
started my own record company, St. NickelStew Entertainment, and now have
a CD available for sale.
I moved to Warrensburg, Missouri, on August 1, 2005, to accept a faculty
position at Central Missouri State University. With Kansas City but an hour's
drive down the road, who knows what the future might hold.
Sometimes I wonder what it is I think I am doing (I mean, I am an
accountant), but usually success is only possible if one first dares a little....
There is a little more information about me on the
january Leftovers page.