By: Ken Boone
In many of my earlier blog posts, I referenced my time in musical purgatory. That was the period between 1987 and 2010. Neither I nor my music was welcome in the places that I used to call home. I couldn’t get near a stage to perform any of my stuff. In other words, I was toxic!
As lonely and isolated as I felt during those 20+ years, I came out of it realizing that I was living a lie. It dawned on me that I was really an introvert whose external gregarious behavior was part of an act. I’m not a shy person, but more often than not, I prefer to keep my own counsel.
My son was born in 1990, changing the trajectory of my life. I’d always been considered a fantastic uncle, but now the complete task of rearing a child fell on my shoulders. So I taught him everything I knew. There were things I didn’t know that should be passed down, so I had to learn that stuff. By the time the bulk of the training was done, it seemed like the only things I taught him how to do was tie his shoes, eat with a fork, and play baseball. I felt like a complete failure.
Sure, I exposed my son to music along the way. I bought him a couple of guitars that are still playable today. I even arranged for him to get a couple of private lessons from my brother. However, the music fundamentals he was taught didn’t appear to stick. Why couldn’t I teach him anything? It made me feel that I wasn’t even a good musician.
Using hindsight to assess the extended period I was away from music, I realized I was using the time to enter a monk-like, deep study period of musical immersion. It was like my initial studies, only much more intense.
Although my musical journey started when I was seven years old, I was 15 when music played in an endless loop in my brain. That was when my friend and earliest partner in crime, Fred Odom let me hear the “Andrae’ Crouch and the Disciples Live at Carnegie Hall” album. It literally changed my life! I, like thousands of wannabes said… “hey, I can do that!”
What attracted me to his style of gospel music was the fact that he didn’t shove the elements of that genre down your throat. The music I attempted to do prior to Andrae’s was pure, unadulterated gospel. I prefer my musical seasonings to be more subtle. If Fred hadn’t played that Crouch album for me when he did, I might have lasted maybe five more years, and I never would have played keyboards at all. So, thanks Fred, for extending this thing another 45+ years!
Although I didn’t play any music during that 1987 – 2010 period, I sure as hell listened to a lot of it. And more than you would expect from someone who hails from East Harlem, NY, if you get my drift. I also took a couple of music electives when I finally decided to complete my college studies.
I emerged from that perceived period of darkness knowing two facts:
1. I am and always was a musician
2. If I can’t pick up a subtle taste of gospel in the music I hear, I’ll keep moving on.
My son no longer plays baseball, but music is now an integral part of his life. His interests fall more on the production side of things. He can engineer and mix tracks. He creates beats, and knows enough theory to be dangerous. And if you ask him nicely, he can DJ your next event. I couldn’t be prouder of him. He doesn’t do gospel, but he can pick out the elements with great ease. He’s a really good father and is raising my granddaughter by himself. His daughter has a passion for ballet, so it looks like we are adding another ingredient to the gumbo!
But wait... there's more!
About the Author
As owner of the Descant Music & Media Group, Ken is a creator and producer of several podcast shows. He is also a music producer, as well as a writer and an accountant for small businesses and nonprofits.